No matter how hard you are trying to divide your income, expenses, and retirement, if you have an outstanding level of debt, then it becomes almost impossible to set aside as much money as you want to your retirement account. That’s just the way it works.
The secret to debt management is spending less per month then you make. Since I solved that problem so quickly, let me also tell you that the secret to weight loss is to use more calories per day then you consume. Having freely distributed these nuggets of wisdom, I expect everyone reading this to be well on their way to financial freedom and excellent health within a few weeks.
Ok, all kidding aside, at its most basic level, successful debt management really is just about spending less then you earn. Virtually every financial planner or debt management program will tell you that the first step to overcoming debt is to create a budget. Unfortunately, for most people, the problem is not a matter of understanding what they need to do, but of understanding how to do it.
At the end of the day, budgeting is hard, time consuming, and honestly, not a lot of fun. This is why so many people start each month telling themselves that this is going to be the month that they cut back on spending and start paying off debt, only to constantly end every month flat broke and frustrated.
If you really want any particular debt management plan to work, you are going to have to make a dedicated effort to not only create a realistic budget, but to stick to it. This means constantly keeping track of every dollar that you spend during every day of the month. It also means not spending money outside of your budget, even if it would make life a lot easier to just eat out every day of the week.