How to Live Debt-Free?

In order to live debt-free, you would need to have a positive cash flow. The concept is very simple…

Live Below Your Means

Live Within Your Means. This is a no brainer. If you spend everything you earn at the end of each month, you’ll have nothing left to invest.

Remember, wealth is how much you accumulate in asset, not the doodads you accumulate.

Related article: Cash and Debt Management

Create a budget and stick to it. A budget helps you compare your monthly income and expenses, and determining needs versus wants. Be frugal. Buy only what you can afford and need. Don’t dress to impress your enemies.

You don’t need to wear expensive clothes or drive a Mercedes Benz to impress. You should impress others with who you are and your personality.

First and foremost, cut your expenses.

Here are a few ideas on managing your expenses to help you achieve your financial goals:

Take a look at your budget’s top 10 or so monthly expenses, there are almost always at least one or two items that you could do without, that you’ll end up with more cash at the end of each month.

I have a friend who moved her whole family back to her husband’s family for 6 months, saving the rent for their down payment for a bigger house. Go from two cars to one car to get rid of one car payment, or down size to a smaller car. Cancel cable services, or switching to a cheaper phone service providers. By the end of the year, you’ll be at least several thousand dollar richer.

Now is the time to ditch those bad habits of yours.

If you smoke, that will be the number one habit to kick. First- and second-hand smoking cause harm to both the one who smokes, and the people around him/her. Not to mention to raising tax on smoking habits.

Instead of eating out at restaurants with friends, invite your friends over for dinner or potluck.

Stop drinking and buying soda or any sugary beverages and alcohol beverages. These only add to your medical bills in the future. Water is your best friend.

Stop spending money on bottled water either. The plastic bottle contributes to pollution, and erosion of your wallet. Install faucet mount water filter system or use your water filter in your refrigerator and refill your own bottle.

Increase deductibles on your auto, homeowners and other insurance policies, which can help lower premiums

Pay off your mortgage as fast as you can, especially if you’re paying private mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance protects the mortgage lender, not you or your family.

As soon as you get your mortgage loan down to 80% of your home value, call your mortgage lender and have them remove the mortgage insurance.

Related: Pay Off Your Mortgage in 7 Years

Pay off your bad debts.

 

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Employ these strategies to increase your income.

Sell extra stuff you have sitting around in your house. Things that you have no use of anymore. Sell them on Craigslist or have a garage sale.

Rent out your spare room. Millions of home owners worldwide are now renting out rooms or floors of their current homes for short periods of time on sites like airbnb.com and VRBO.

Rent out your car. Sites like uber and turo allow you to rent out the extra seats in your car – or the whole vehicle, if you’re not too faint of heart!

Learn more at How to Make Money with Your (Dream) Car.

Use your skills and time. Got extra time still after selling your stuff? Leverage your earning power during your off-time, evenings and weekends with your professional skills or personal hobbies to bring in some extra cash. If you love doing crafts, you can sell creative items on Etsy.

You can sell fruits from your tree at local farmer’s market. In Hawaii, many houses have fruits trees in the yards. Do you have a special recipe that everyone enjoys? Sell that at local farmer’s markets.

You can also earn extra money with cooking, house cleaning, babysitting or dog walking. The opportunity is limitless. You can list your services on sites like TaskRabbit or Fiverr You can also sign up for Mechanical Turks at Amazon, where you can complete tiny miscellaneous task for a fee.

Starting a second career or a part-time opportunity to earn additional income.

Adjusting your W-2 allowances if you are expecting a tax refund, but consult with your tax advisor before making this change.

Cashflow & Debt Management

What is cashflow and why it is important?

Cash flow is the difference between your income and expenses.

When your income is greater than your expenses, you have a positive cash flow. If your expenses is greater than your income, you have a negative cash flow.

Knowing where your money is coming from is an important part of any financial strategy.

Cashflow and debt management is the fundamentals of money management and wealth building. Without money or positive cashflow, there is nothing you can do to create more money.

Cashflow & Debt Management

Do you know where is your money coming from and where it is going?

Income can come from employment (earned income), investment (portfolio income) or from business or rental properties (passive income).

Expenses are any money you spend. There are living expenses, such as rent, mortgage payment, grocery, car payment, gas for your car, childcare, health insurance, life insurance, etc.

Poor people buy stuff.

Middle class people buy liabilities that they think are assets.

Wealthy people buy assets.

Which one are you?

Related article: How to Live Debt-free

ASSETS vs LIABILITIES

Assets are anything that generates "income" and increase your monthly cash-flow. Examples are businesses, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, cash value life insurance, real estate investments, rental properties, etc.

* Notice that savings and checking accounts are not listed, because they don’t generate income. Believe me…earning 0.01% on your $1 million sitting in your savings is not earning. Inflation averages 3% each year. Your $1 million is disappearing in front of your eyes if you let it sit in your bank account.

Liabilities are anything that generates "expenses" or creates “debt” and reduces your monthly cash flow. Examples are your primary residence, car, expensive watch collection, boat, yacht, country club membership, etc.

Sorry, your brand-new Mercedes Benz is not an asset even if it's worth $90,000. It is accruing expenses every month - auto insurance, gasoline, car wash, maintenance, etc.

Unless you use your car to generate income, such as driving for Uber or loaning it out on Turo.

If you become an Uber driver, and use your Mercedez Benz to take riders and generate an income, now your car is an asset.

The same is true for renting your car out via Turo.

In these cases, you can claim your car for business and deduct business expenses on your income tax.

Learn more at Turn Your Car into a Money-Making Asset with Uber

Same for your primary residence. It is a liability. You have monthly living and maintenance expenses - mortgage payment, water, sewer, electricity, yard, etc.

You can turn your home into an asset too with house-hacking on airbnb.com with you extra room, or extra unit.