The best way to get out of debt is to get out fast. This is called being “Gazelle Intense”. The longer you take to get out of debt, the more time you have to reconsider and go back to your old financial habits.
I compare this to housework. If you clean one room and then take a break for an hour to watch TV, you might get a couple of rooms cleaned, but the house isn’t cleaned at the end of the day. However, if you take the vacuum and go from room to room and keep vacuuming, you can get the whole house vacuumed in no time at all.
Being gazelle intense means that you are running as fast as you can run away from the thing that is trying to kill you. You need to be the gazelle because your debt is the cheetah. Your debt is looking to ruin your financial future. Realize that your financial life is in danger and the only way out is to run. And run fast!
You need to start running from debt right now. It doesn’t do you any good to start tomorrow, next week, or in five years. You will have a difficult time becoming debt free if you decide some debt is ok and hold onto it for a while.
Fastest Way Out of Debt
The fastest way out of debt is to put as much money to your debt as you can. To do this, you need to be focused on it and know why you want to get out of debt.
If you put some of your money toward your debt, save some for an emergency fund, and save some in your 401k for retirement, you are not focused on paying off your debt. You are doing too many things, and that’s preventing you from being gazelle intense on your debt.
Be laser focused to get out of debt fast. After you save your $1,000 starter emergency fund, stop all saving and focus all your energy on getting out of debt. Put all your money toward it. You do this by stopping all savings—you don’t keep adding to your emergency fund, and you don’t save any money in your retirement accounts. Don’t worry about these things right now. Be focused and do one thing at a time.
In order to be able to apply as much of your income toward your debt as you can, you need to trim your budget to the bare bones. Get rid of all non-essential expenses in your budget. Be gazelle intense! Cable, subscriptions, and restaurants should all be gone. Review your insurances to make sure you have what you need and are not paying for something you don’t need. Know that spending money isn’t making you happy.
If you don’t have any additional income to apply to your debt, you need to increase your income. You might have to work 80 hours a week for a while. You won’t be working or living like this for the rest of your life. Be gazelle intense for a year or two and get out of debt fast.
Know Why You Want to Be Debt Free
In order to be gazelle intense and focused, you need to know why you are wanting to get out of debt. Know your “why”. Having personal goals, seeking self-fulfillment, and being curious can be powerful motivators. So can deadlines, rewards, and fear, but these three motivators can hamper the first three.
Wanting to be debt free is not your “why” because that’s not the end goal. Wanting to be able to retire and visit the grandkids anytime you want can be a good “why”. Being able to retire at 50 so that you can volunteer more of your time helping people can be a good why.
You need to decide if you want to be gazelle intense and focused to eliminate your debt. This is how you do it. You are going to give up some things for a year or two so that you can have an awesome 40, 60, or even 80 years of your life after this. Don’t keep living above your means and hurt your future self.