You Get Out of Debt The Same Way You Learned How to Walk- One Step At A Time
I am from the generation of instant results. Sometimes this can be a bad thing, but in this case, I think my generational behavior will pay off. I am working toward my next financial goal of having a zero balance on my credit card by August 1, 2014. Once I reach my goal, I plan to only use the card for things that can be paid off before the end of the billing cycle (if I must use the card at all). Last year, my balance reached over $5300.00 and my monthly bill was putting a wrench in my spending/savings plan. That was my “aha moment”. It was then that I decided to take full control over my financial situation by not only setting goals, but dates to meet the goals. Financial coach and author, Dave Ramsey, believes that you get out of debt the same way you learned to walk—one step at a time. For this idea, Ramsey created 7 Baby Steps to help people beat debt and build wealth. The first Baby Step is to start an Emergency Fund of $1000.00. Once you’ve completed Baby Step One, you then move on to Baby Step Two where you start to pay off debt using the Snowball Method. I’m at Step Two and I am trying to pay off my credit card and then move on to my student loan debts as fast as possible. This led me to a thought one day to do something extremely risky….
Playing Russian Roulette With My Finances
In my Week 14 update of my money challenge, I relieved for the first time just how I have gone from balance of $5300.00 to a $1345.00. The closer I get to the $1000.00 mark the more crazy ideas flow through my head.
For instance, I came up with the idea, a while ago, to go against Ramsey’s advice and completely deplete my emergency fund. I would do this only when I got my credit card balance under the $1000.00 mark. The Pro to that idea is that I will immediately have a ZERO balance by using the Emergency Fund to pay off the remaining balance. The CON… well we call it an “emergency” for a reason. It is a somewhat good idea if I had a crystal ball and a glimpse that there would be no financial emergencies soon. No one can foresee when you really need to tap into that fund. Plus, not having the funds at all will send you right back into debt because you will have to cover the “emergency” with credit or even worse, borrowing from someone else.
Keeping my original idea in my, I considered a tapered down version of my risky plan. Instead of depleting the Emergency Fund completely, I would take out $500.00 and apply it to my credit card balance once I got under the $1000.00 mark. Doing so will help me to reach the zero balance goal, two months ahead of time and stay on track with my financial plan. Once the credit card balance is paid in full, I would then continue my normal $300.00 per month + money from the 52 Week Money Challenge to replenish the Emergency Fund until August 1st. Because I have eliminated interest, I would actually end up with $100.00 extra going back into my Emergency Fund.
If You Were Me, What Would You Do?
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~ Update: Click here to see what Danielle decided to do ~