Reversing out of the debt-mud is seldom easy – it’s hard to get traction. Yet, ignoring it, downplaying it or simply praying it away is not the answer. This is a co-labour moment, faith working in harmony with works (James 2:14), and watching God bless your good work will both encourage you and strengthen you… and get you out of debt.
So what is debt? My favourite definition is ‘Spending today with tomorrow’s money, while still paying for yesterday’. Yes, there are examples of acceptable debt, but I suspect we will know the difference between the smart-gearing-decisions we made, against the ‘yes’ spending decisions which should have been ‘no’ decisions, or ‘not yet’ decisions.
Time to claim your income back! It will take some time, but that’s OK – it will be worth it.
Let’s assume your debt looks like this:
… after doing an exercise of reviewing your budget, perhaps you managed to find some quick wins! Let us assume you have managed to reduce your expenses by R500pm.
Step 1: Order your debt items like the example above, where the smallest Total Amount Owing is on top; and the biggest at the bottom.
Step 2: Take the R500pm you now have by reducing your expenses, and pay all of it towards the first item on your list. So using my example, you will now be paying R900+R500 = R1,400 per month to the retail store account.
This means the store account will be paid off in only 4 months, as opposed to 6 months!
Step 3: Once the store account is paid off, take the full R1,400 per month you were paying to your store account, and add that to your next item on the list, e.g. the credit card. So you will now be paying R3,300 + R1,400 = R4,700 per month to your credit card.
This means the credit card will be paid off in 5 months from today, as opposed to 7 months from today.
Step 4: Once the credit card is paid off, now take the full R4,700 per month you were paying to your credit card, and add that to your next item on the list, e.g. the car.
So you will now be paying R2,500 + R4,700 = R7,200 per month to your car.
This means the car will be paid off in less than 2 years from today; as opposed to 4 years it would have taken!
… and so you continue!
The other approach is to try to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first. Although this may be mathematically better, I find the smallest debt first approach works better for family budgets and motivates us to get rid of debt items quickly.
If you need help with the above, please feel free to contact CityHill Church on firstname.lastname@example.org