How To Stop Accumulating Debt Once and for All

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Day 22: GOBankingRates wants to help you Live Richer. For a month, we’ll be sharing daily tips for how you can do just that, with advice on budgeting, saving, investing, making the most of your career and managing debt — plus money advice for every phase of your life. Check back each day during our 31 Days of Living Richer to learn everything you need to know to set yourself up for financial success and live the richest life possible.

When you’re in debt, it can seem impossible to get out of debt. But the first step to getting out of debt is to stop taking more on. Of course, this is easier said than done — but it’s not impossible. Here are a few tips to help you stop accumulating debt once and for all.

Read Day 21: Top 3 Expert Tips for Managing Debt
Go Back To Day 20 of Living Richer: 3 Signs You’ve Found Your Dream Job

Pay For Everything With Cash or Debit

When you make all of your purchases with cash or a debit card, you can only spend the money you actually have. If your debit card offers overdraft protection, turn this off so that you aren’t able or tempted to spend more than you have.

Make Your Money Work for You

Day 19 of Living Richer: Top 3 Expert Tips for Salary Negotiations

Put Any Plans for Major Purchases on Hold

While you’re in the process of paying off debt, delay making any major purchases.

“Prioritize what is most important today versus what would be nice to have,” said Amy Richardson, CFP at Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium. “This might mean pushing out a home purchase a couple of years or postponing a vacation. Making these hard choices today will provide peace of mind and help you achieve your financial goals for the long term.”

Once you’ve paid off debts, you can make it a priority to start saving for these purchases so you won’t have to take on new debt to make them.

And Day 18: How To Achieve Better Work-Life Balance

Avoid Temptations To Spend

Stay away from the stores and websites that tempt you to spend unnecessarily.

“If you feel tempted to impulse buy and create more debt, then it is better to avoid going near the temptation,” said Jon Bradshaw, president of Codebase. “For example, stay away from retail stores. Order your groceries so you don’t impulse buy in the store. And get some hobbies that keep you off the internet at night so you are not tempted to hit the ‘buy’ button on Amazon or other online retailers.”

Make Your Money Work for You

Day 17 of Living Richer: Top Perks To Look for When Searching for a New Job

Prepare For the Unexpected

Many people go into debt due to unplanned expenses such as a medical emergency or an unexpected home repair. Saving money in an emergency fund and purchasing the appropriate insurance policies for yourself, your family, your car and your home can help ensure that you won’t rack up debt if the unexpected happens.

Day 23: Join us tomorrow for our Living Richer series when we look at how to pay your debt off in a manageable way.

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Jaime Catmull contributed to the reporting for this article.

Last updated: July 22, 2021

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
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