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7 Incredible Ways to Stay on Track after Paying off Your Debt ...

By Valencia

You might leap for joy after finally paying off your debt. But now comes a new challenge – staying out of debt. Ask anyone with a mountain of debt and they'll say it's easy to get into debt, but not so easy to get out. You'll have to sacrifice and come up with an effective plan. It can take several months or years to pay off balances, depending on what you owe. Therefore, if you're fortunate enough to pay off debt, you don't want to go backwards. Here are seven incredible ways to stay on track after paying off your debt.

1 Get Rid of Credit Cards

To stay on track after paying off your debt, consider getting rid of credit cards. You might keep one or two for an emergency. But if you have several, cut or shred them to remove any temptation. Also, don't apply for new accounts. Decline credit card offers at checkout and shred pre-approval offers that arrive in the mail.

2 Build a Savings Account

Now that you've paid off your debt, focus on building your savings account. This is beneficial for multiple reasons. A savings account provides a financial cushion during an emergency. This way, you can use money in your bank account, and not your credit card.

3 Only Bring Cash when Shopping

Realistically speaking, you can't avoid retail stores altogether. You'll eventually need to purchase something. But to avoid overspending with a credit card, make sure you only bring cash while shopping. But don't bring a lot of cash, only what you can afford to spend. This keeps your budget on track and you avoid spending money you don't have.

4 Choose Your Friends Wisely

If you have a shopaholic friend or friends who spend big, that's okay. But these friends shouldn't accompany you on shopping trips. Remember, the goal is staying out of debt. If you're surrounded by shopaholics who whip out their credit cards to buy any and everything, their habits might rub off on you. And before you know it, you're shopping frivolously and re-accumulating debt.

5 Pay off Bills in Full

You might continue to use a credit card occasionally to keep your accounts active. This is fine, just make sure you pay off any new charges by the end of the month. Credit cards are the devil. But problems can develop when you allow balances to grow or accumulate from month-to-month. So, only charge what you can afford.

6 Save up and Pay Cash

Whether it's a vacation, a designer pair of shoes or electronics, don't use a credit card and don't apply for in-store financing. Both moves send you back into debt. A better approach: be patient and slowly save up for these purchases. Yes, it'll take longer to make a purchase. But once you finally have cash, you'll own the item free and clear.

7 Don't Cosign

Once you've paid off debt, your credit score might improve. Therefore, a relative or friend might ask you to cosign a loan for them. As much as you may like to help, don't do it. Cosigning is extremely dangerous. It might seem harmless, but you're basically taking on new debt. This debt is just as much yours as it is the other person's. And if she doesn't pay up, lenders will come after you.

Paying off debt is a milestone, but to avoid future problems, you need to make smarter choices. What are other ways to stay on track after paying off debt?

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