How to be debt free forever

Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s recent book, Debt-Free Forever (published by Collins) reminds us that there are more steps we could be taking to reduce our debt or live debt-free.  We’ll be sampling chapters and profiling all seven of her steps to introduce you to her theory and possibly kick off your own debt-free program. Vaz-Oxlade suggests that whether we’re aiming at a debt-free life, to build an emerg fund account or to make a commitment to a budget we need to be ready to take these steps from here book, each of which we’ll describe in future columns:

Step 1: Analyze your weaknesses

If you’re a book freak like me, it’s practical that you shouldn’t browse online or stop by any bookstores to stick with your No Shop plan.  Recognize the underlying pleasure you derive from your weakness and then alter your habits so you aren’t tempted.

Step 2: Do one thing at a time

Pick something you want to do differently today and once that new pattern is established, pick the next change you’ll make.

Step 3: Take small steps

Establishing a No Shop day is one way to start slowly.  No Shop Saturday can grow into No Shop Friday and Saturday.  Small steps get you where you’re going without the risk of sliding back.

Step 4: Demonstrate stick-to-it-ness

The great thing about achieving this goal is that your own persistence will be the key to your own success.

Step 5: Set milestones

Create a map of where you’re headed with realistic milestones, to maintain your momentum and give yourself a reward for reaching interim goals.

Step 6: Accept your mistakes

Don’t let an excuse of wanting to do something perfectly stop you from beginning or trying again.  Mistakes are a part of learning—learn and move forward confidently.

Step 7: Do your best

People who excel at change promise to do their best and accept that sometimes they’ll miss.  Do whatever you can to make change a new part of your life and accept that you’re doing your best every day.

Especially as single women, we have less financial back up, so it’s important to remember to be intent but gentle--doing our best and moving on.  Look for the in-depth descriptions of each Step to make your own healthy transition to living debt-free.