10 Rules To Staying Debt Free Forever

Recently I’ve been reviewing my current debt plan and have noticed that I’ve needed to enforce a few rules.  Not because of any one person but more for myself.  With rules in place as guidelines to keep me on the right path, achieving my goals will have better odds of success.

Here are the rules I’ve set for myself.  Yours may be different but after reading this post let me know what you would add or take away and leave a comment below.

10 Rules To Staying Debt Free

  1. Credit cards must be paid in full every month. I’ve fallen into this trap before were I say I’ll just pay it off next month and guess what it don’t happen and then another month goes by and another till finally you have so much debt on your credit cards you can’t add anymore.
  2. I must hold to a set budget every month. Budgets come in handy just letting you know where your money is going every month.  Without knowing where your money is at you can run the risk of having money begin wasted in places you don’t want. I’ve talked about this in past articles you can see here.
  3. Any purchases made outside the budget must be within are cash flow left in my budget. For example if I decide I want to buy myself a new guitar and it cost $500 then their needs to be at least $500 left in my budget.  However if there isn’t I can’t purchase the guitar.
  4. Any purchases made outside the budget must be agreed upon by both spouses. This rule is really used as a way to stop myself from making a bad mistake and getting the opinion of someone else before I buy.  If you aren’t married then make it a rule to get the opinion of a close friend or family member before you buy something out of your budget.
  5. Dining out or any other entertainment activities must be paid in cash. These types of activities have a way of stacking up on your credit card.  I’ve personally fallen into this trap of paying for meals with my credit card.  Instead use your spending cash you’ve budgeted for yourself on a weekly basis.  This will help by keeping some restraints those activities.
  6. Spending cash is set at a fixed amount and never any more. I’ve learned over time that have a fixed amount of spending cash makes you more cautious about how and where you spend your money.  If you are use to just pulling cash off your debit card or swiping your credit card this will be a habit you should break immediately.
  7. The first person I pay is myself. Getting out of debt is one thing but staying their is another.  If your not taking preventive measures to stay out of debt then their may be a good chance you will fall back into debt.  Having an emergency fund set aside were you can contribute on a regular basis will help in those times were unexpected surprises may show up.
  8. All debts and bills must be paid on time. Paying your bills on time is not only a good practice to keep up but also may have some negative results on your credit report.
  9. Once the debt plan is in place it can’t be changed. By sticking to the plan and not making changes you have a better chance to success.  I’ve also learned that by changing it whenever you want will always give you that out when you don’t want to stick to your debt plan.
  10. Always look for improvement. When your trying to get out of debt you have to look for all the breaks you can get and save money were you can.  Look over your credit card statements and other bills such as your cell phone and look for ways you can cut cost.  Staying up to date on the best ways to save is always a good habit to have.

What Are Your Rules

So now with that said, do you follow the rules or don’t you?  Feel free to share how you handle your debt situations and what rules you use to get debt free.  Also if you know of any rule that should be added feel free to leave a comment below.


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  1. Leave enough room in the budget for some ‘wants’ – not ALL the wants, and maybe not the most expensive ones. But being too strict just means you’ll have less of a chance of actually following the budget.

    Know what’s a “want” and have a “crisis” plan as to what could be cut immediately. Don’t lock into too many long term committments or contracts for ‘wants’. You need the flexibility to cancel recurring expenses in case of a layoff, etc.

  2. Great point Threadbndr. You don’t want to be so tight on your budget that you won’t be able to take advantage of any opportunities that may come your way.

    I also have to agree that being to tight on your budget may also have a negative effect and may cause someone to stop budgeting all together. That so called breathing room needs to be their.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Personally I think #2 and #3 are at odds with each other. If you are sticking to your budget (#2) then you would never spend $500 that you don’t have (#3). The exception would be is if you have been saving for the guitar, then it isn’t necessarily in the budget, but it is in the bank.

    For us the budget is the key. When we are spending less than we make, we are able to save for planned purchases and unexpected emergencies.

  4. I also think you need to have some small victories along your way. That really helped me out. Also I think when people pay off their credit cards they should cut them and build an emergency fund. Great insight on debt and how to manage and reduce debt.

  5. DFH,
    I agree that cutting up your credit cards after you get out of debt but you also need to close them very carefully otherwise you could face some serious penalties on your credit report. i recommend taking your newest credit card and closing that account first. This card will have the shortest credit history and therfore give less of a penalty. Then wait about 3 to 6 months to cancel your next newest card and so on. I hope this helps.

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  9. Thanks Christopher,
    but i have to add one more rule :
    – Even if your are in debt & want some help (don’t apply for any “get out of debt” scheme) because it wont pay your debts instead of you 🙂 – you will end up paying your debts + thier fees = more moeny spent !


  10. I agree Tom to much money wasted chasing get out of debt programs when you could have done it all yourself. The fee’s some of these companies charge are can be be quiet a bit. A company I worked with in financial services charged a 15% fee of the entire amount of debt owed. That’s a lot. My advice read my blog or the countless hundreds of financial blogs out their giving free advice. Thanks for the comment.

  11. Did all this. Saved what we could with seven kids — some mistakes, not bad ones. Face future with good solid emergency fund. Then my husband invested in a Ponzi scheme. I thought he’d placed only a third of our money in arbitrage: It was all of it. So … do people ever recover from things like this? His point is that we should sell everything (even the house we live in that he built, at a third of its value) rather than his getting a job and trying to fight back, pay off the house and re-create an emergency fund. I don’t know a way out.

  12. Jacquelyn, it sounds like you are going through some tough times. I don’t know what kind of Ponzi scam your husband was involved in but it’s never to late to start over. Put a plan together, get a job or a second if you have to.
    It’s tough to deal all the things life throws at you and then add a scam in the middle of all that. If putting a debt plan together doesn’t work you may have to consult debt negotiation, or a debt counseler.
    Finally, what kind of scam were you involved in? I would be happy to do a little research on it and see what I can do to help.

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