Current Events/Get Out of Debt/Have a Plan

The economy isn’t growing as fast as economists first thought.  At least that’s what MSNBC ran in their business section on April 17, 2011.  The storysays that the predicted growth of the economy has been downgraded from 3.3 percent to 2.8 percent for this year because of a weak housing market, expensive oil, and the rising price of groceries.

Ya think?

Most of the stories I read these days, even in the mainstream media, are pointing to a bearish economy.  But come on, it really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the economy is in trouble does it?  Somewhere, somehow, all the wild spending is going to catch up with us and when it does I have a feeling it’s going to be nasty.  Will it happen around the end of QEII or will they come up with a way to kick the can down the road a little more?  Stay tuned…

What Can I Do to Protect Myself?

There is lots of advice out there about how to protect yourself and your investments from another market crash or an economic collapse.  Not being an investment banker or financial advisor I won’t bother to offer advice on investing; however, I will go so far as to say that if you’re in debt right now it’s time to get out.  Easy to say, much harder to do.  More about this in a minute.

First things first though – it’s better to have food and other supplies laid in than to have a pocketful of gold and silver.  Why?  Because if things get bad, such as hyperinflation for example, it’s better to have food and other supplies in place because that’s something you can immediately use.  After the initial crash – if there is one – most people are going to be more worried about getting something to eat than they are adding to the piggy bank.

If you have all your preps in place and want to put some gold or silver aside go for it, but if you don’t have either yet and you’re wondering what to buy with your extra cash I’d go for food and other supplies.

There are other disasters out there too that are much more likely to affect you.  Check out this post by Joe over at PreppingToSurvive.  He makes an excellent point about being ready for a job loss.

Get Out of Debt

Now, back to debt.  If you’re like most Americans today you have a house payment, a vehicle payment, credit card debt, phone and cell phone bills, cable, groceries, gas, insurance, eating out, and whatever else you might spend your money on.  Is it really possible to get out of debt once you’re in that deep?

In a word:  yes.

However, getting out of debt is like going on a diet.  It’s hard work, it involves sacrifice, and you have to keep at it for a long time in order to see it pay off.

Dave Ramsey has a program that’s well worth looking into if you’re serious about getting out of debt.  I used his program to do it and no, I’m not getting paid to endorse his product.  I did his program exactly as described and it worked for me.  Honestly, I don’t agree with a lot of the stuff that he says, but his get out of debt program works and I don’t have to be in love with the guy in order to follow his method.

Six years ago I had about 35k in credit card bills, which I’d brought on myself from stupidity.  To make a long story short it took me about five years to get all the bills paid off.  Here’s what I gave up:  cable, going out to eat, and spending money on anything that wasn’t necessary for survival.  I shopped at Goodwill, I bought an old pickup truck that I drove the entire time, I quit drinking, I had a side business in addition to working 40 hours a week, and I didn’t take any trips.  Entertainment was a free hike in the mountains right where I lived.  I sold a bunch of stuff and every extra penny went straight to debt.

I ain’t gonna lie to you.  It’s hard work and it requires a lot of sacrifice, but once you’re there… wow!  Being debt free is an awesome feeling and when you reach that point it’s worth all the hard work you put into it.

Here’s a hint:  if you don’t have a budget get started.  Don’t wait until next week.  Sit down right now and get started.  If you don’t have any idea of how to do it I’ll be happy to share the spreadsheet I used to budget and pay everything off.

Have a Plan

Plan to get out of debt.  Plan to have your preps in place.  Plan for when TSHTF.  If you have some idea of how you’re going to react when things go south you’ll avoid that big demon called Panic.  When people are crowding the grocery stores looking for food you’ll be home going over your preps and your plan, secure that at least in the short term you’re going to be ok.  Instead of reacting to a situation you’ll be one step ahead of the mob.

Set Goals

Don’t say, “Well, I’m guess I’m going to get out of debt now.”  Instead say, “I owe twenty-four thousand dollars.  I am going to pay this off by December 2013.”  Be specific in your goals and that will help your planning.

-Jarhead Survivor

BTW:

Do you have goals?  A plan?

Here’s my goal:  Mrs. Jarhead and I are expecting a new recruit in August.  My goal is have the hospital bill paid off before the end of the year.  How am I going to do it?  We’re already saving money for the bills and will put money down on it all at once and then pay as much as we can afford monthly until it’s paid off.