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Family #1 manages to pay off $40,000 in debt in two years on a $35,000 annual income. Family #2 makes $100,000 a year but can’t seem to make the slightest dent in the same amount of debt.
Why is that?
While many factors could be in play here, one of the most likely reasons is the second family has a spending problem. They earn a great income, but they probably overspend, which leaves them with less money and causes a lot of tension around the house. That’s a difficult and stressful way to live.
The people who overcome that stress realize they have to handle money differently and make some lifestyle changes. As they make those adjustments, they begin to show certain characteristics that are super important when it comes to getting out of debt and staying that way.
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So what are some of these traits of people who get debt-free?
1. They Are Wise
Wise people realize that debt isn’t a tool. Credit cards aren’t necessary for their everyday lives. Car payments take a chunk of money from their budgets. They treat debt like leftovers they find at the back of their fridge. Whether it’s debt or week-old meat loaf, they get rid of it!
2. They Are Patient
Someone who really wants out of debt can walk right past the shoe section or the flat-screen TV aisle without stopping and staring. Why? Because they know not to buy those things unless they can pay cash. They are willing to wait, work and save.
3. They Are Confident
A person who believes in their money plan doesn’t care what others think of them. They’re fine with driving an older car that doesn’t have a payment. It frees up more money to attack their debts. With each debt they pay off, their confidence grows by leaps and bounds.
4. They Are Goal-Driven
No-brainer, right? Getting out of debt is a goal, so people who want to accomplish it keep that objective in front of them. They determine what they want to do and map out their strategy to make it happen.
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5. They Are Responsible
When someone is responsible, they put household needs first. Living on a budget and getting out of debt become more important than going on vacation. A responsible person knows the beach isn’t going anywhere—as soon as they pay everything off, they can book a sunny getaway to celebrate.
6. They Are Not Materialistic
A materialistic person places too much emphasis on "stuff." They borrow up to their eyeballs to pay for their vacation, car, and oversized house. The person who is determined to get out of debt knows that money doesn’t buy happiness, so they don’t fall into the trap of wanting as much stuff as they can get.
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7. They Are Willing to Make Sacrifices
Eating out. Going to movies every week. Getting the premium cable package. These are the types of things that a person might have to avoid while getting out of debt. But keep in mind: Budget cuts are just temporary. Once the debt is gone, there is more room in the budget for those dinner-and-a-movie dates.
When you take a closer look at debt, you start to see it for what it is—something that holds you back. Once you see that, it’s easier to be patient, make sacrifices, and feel confident in your ability to pay it off. Before you know it, you’ll be debt-free—and that’s a great way to live!
Want to become one of these debt-free folks? Learn how to get out of debt and make a plan for your money by signing up for Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU). FPU is a nine-week class designed to walk you through money basics. Plus, your membership comes with 16 weeks of online access that allows you to view each lesson anytime, anywhere! Learn more here.