One of the first, and most important things, that you need to do if you are looking to get out of debt is to stop spending more. It sounds obvious, but it really is difficult to stop digging when you’re trying to get out of the debt hole. Here are a few strategies that might help you stop the spending habit and turn things around:

  • Put your credit cards away: As you might imagine, one of the most important things to do is to put the credit cards away. Even though might think that you will pay off the amount you spend — plus extra — each month as you work on debt reduction, it’s so easy to go overboard. Instead, put your credit cards where you can’t get them very easily. Leave them home when you go shopping so you won’t be tempted to just use them.
  • Take an honest look at your spending: Look through your spending, and figure out what the most important items are. Determine which items you can cut from your spending. From small and simple ways to save money, to large opportunities, look carefully at your spending and identify where you can cut back.
  • Watch out for “deals”: Even when you are trying to get out of debt, a good deal can be really tempting. However, you have to be careful. Is it really a deal? Or is it more of an excuse to spend money? Turn off your notifications from daily deal sites, and don’t clip coupons for items that you wouldn’t normally get anyway. Remember that unplanned spending on unnecessary items is still spending, and not a true “bargain.”
You really do need to stop spending as much money if you want to get out of debt. The first step is to stop adding to your debt; once you have your spending under control so that you are truly living within your means, you can then begin to take active steps to reduce the amount of debt that you have. But none of those steps will work effectively if you are still living beyond your means. Until the spending is stopped, you’ll be taking a step back for every step forward, and you’ll be trapped in a frustrating cycle.
Once you stop the extra spending, you can make a debt reduction plan to help you get rid of your obligations once and for all, including a plan that involves earning more money to help speed the process.