Celebrate bigger salary, but stay focused
I just accepted a new job that will pay me $30,000 a year more than my old position. I’ve got about $55,000 in debt I’ve been working hard to pay off, and I know now I need to adjust my budget. Do you have any advice?
The first thing I’d say is don’t go crazy on any big-ticket items while you’re paying off debt. Keep it simple, and go out to celebrate with a nice dinner after you get your first paycheque. Remember, the more you put towards debt, the faster it goes away.
For the time being, I want you to remain passionate about getting out of debt. Your thought process needs to be, “Wow, I got a new job making more money. I can get out of debt even quicker!”
Again, I’m okay with you adjusting a bit that first month and having a little fun to celebrate your good fortune. But after that, I want you to turn around and attack that debt with even more intensity than before. Then, once you’re out of debt, you can celebrate that with something a lot nicer.
You say to never give collectors access to your chequing account. Does that include debit cards, too?
Yes, it does. Collectors are looking to get as much as they can on a bad, late debt. I’ve seen numerous situations where collectors have taken more than the agreed-upon amount from someone’s account once they gained access. To be fair, the collection business does have a few good people in it. But it also has those who will lie and make threats.
If you’re doing something like scheduling utility payments to come through your debit card or out of your personal chequing account, that’s perfectly fine. But there are much safer ways to handle situations with debt collectors. You can send a money order overnight, or wire the cash to them. You can also send a cashier’s cheque. Some folks have even used prepaid debit cards that aren’t attached to any of their accounts.
The prepaid debit card isn’t my favourite way to handle these things, but it’s a lot better than giving a dishonest collector the opportunity to really mess you up!
Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven bestselling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 13 million listeners each week on 585 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey
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