The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

So you want to dig yourself out of debt – good for you! Here are a few things to keep in mind while doing so. While some may seem like no-brainers, sometimes the simplest things are the easiest ones to forget.

Be Realistic When Repaying

While it’s crucial to pay more than just the minimum monthly payment as outlined by your credit card company when trying to pay off outstanding balances, it’s equally important to not get too carried away when writing that check to your creditors. If your repayment plan is more aggressive than your budget can realistically handle, you run the risk of digging yourself even deeper into debt and having to bail yourself out by using your credit cards should you run out of money by the end of the month. Be sure when you calculate what you plan how much to put towards your credit card bill each month that you leave enough left over for your day-to-day expenses such as groceries, gas, etc, to avoid getting stuck in a cycle of accumulating new debt just as fast as you are eliminating old debt.  If you have the money, don’t delay pay that balance off in full, Procrastination is the biggest cause of abundant debt and unwanted financial burdens.

Set Money Aside For Savings

Even though the interest accruing on your outstanding credit card balances is much greater than anything you can earn on any type of savings account, don’t abandon saving altogether in favor of getting debt-free faster. Establishing an emergency fund is imperative to securing a debt-free future. Your emergency fund is there for you to rely upon lest you fall upon difficult financial times, and having one will lessen any reliance you may feel for your credit cards should you find yourself in personal economic peril. Ideally, the monies in your emergency fund will alleviate the financial stress until you get back on track financially and prevent you from making things worse by increasing your credit card debt while you are down and out.

Develop Good Habits and Break the Bad

If you are able to train yourself to pay your bills on time, congratulations! But even if you pull yourself out of debt that way, unless you address the poor money management skills that got your into debt in the first place, you haven’t really made any lasting headway. Keep an eye on your credit score. Draw up a budget. Live well within your means. Stifle that urge to splurge and chronically overspend. All those things and more will contribute to you being a financially responsible individual in the future. Be extremely cautious and control your urge to spend your money on designer brand clothing.

These are three key components to getting – and staying – out of debt. Maintaining a debt-free existence is well worth the trouble. Besides, once you’ve done all the hard work of eliminating your outstanding balances, you won’t want to do it again!