Gazelle Intensity is a term that was created by Dave Ramsay. He came up with the term to describe the speed and intensity that you should have when paying off debt.
The phrase was coined after Dave read Proverbs 6:4-6, “Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, and like a bird from the hand of the fowler. “
If you’ve gone into debt or found yourself filled to the brim with financial problems, you should aim to work as hard to get out of those problems like a gazelle that runs from a cheetah trying to hunt it down.
Selling things to make money or budgeting by paycheck can only take you so far, but having a process to pay off your debt is the most effective.
Sticking to that process every day with discipline, determination and perseverance is what will help you achieve your financial goals quicker.
Think about it this way, if you as the Gazelle doesn’t run like its life depends on it to get away from that cheetah, you’re officially the cheetah’s dinner -Jeez!
Okay, so we aren’t in an episode of the Discovery Channel, what does this animal reference have to do with your finances?
If you’re sick and tired of debt, the stress, headaches, and sleepless nights that go along with it, it’s time for you to adopt gazelle intensity.
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How Can You Adopt Gazelle Intensity?
Are you currently working your way out of debt?
Are you getting out of debt like your life depends on it? If your answer is no, ask yourself what can you do to take it more seriously?
Maybe Building A Stockpile, making cheaper meals or a no spend challenge.
Levels of gazelle intensity will be different based on your specific situation. But the more seriously you take it, the quicker you’ll be able to be free from it!
Lay it all out and figure out what portion of your hard earned wages are going to debt repayments each month, it should get you mad!
The madder you get, the more intense you should try and be to square off those debts.
When your gazelle intense, it is a change of mindset, behavior and life choices. You will learn how to be happy with what you currently have and not spend impulsively.
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Paying Off Debt With Gazelle Intensity
Dave Ramsay provided extra inputs on how you can increase your level of gazelle intensity.
Learning how to start budgeting is vital to getting out of debt.
You could use an online budget planner, an application that helps you with debt payoff or I have a Financially Fabulous Budget Planner which can help you with your journey!
Sitting down to figure out your first budget can be quite overwhelming, don’t worry.
The more practice you get budgeting every month, the more comfortable you’ll start to feel, before you know it it’ll be like second nature for you!
Managing your credit score is also important, the more you pay off your debt, you will also notice a steady rise in your credit score.
This helps in instilling confidence that you’re on the right path and that gazelle intensity is working for you!
Cut Up Those Credit Cards!
Gazelle intensity doesn’t truly go into hyper-drive until you’ve cut those pieces of plastic called credit cards.
With those cards out of sight, they are also out of mind and won’t have you reaching for them when things get tough.
It helps you get used to the process of using more cash and spending less credit, which in the long run means less debt.
It might feel emotional, it’s totally okay if you notice a few strange feelings that occur when you do decide to ditch those cards.
Once you take this step, you’ll probably be amazed at the kind of freedom you’re feeling!
Make Extra Cash
People who follow gazelle intensity do not try and hide it! They sell things to make money, do extra work from home jobs or just find ways to live on the cheap.
Basically, they break their backs to bring in as much money as they can to destroy that debt.
If you’re new to BS-2, you’re probably scurrying through your garage and looking for whatever is in sell-able condition.
Do NOT spend this money, this is money that will be tossed towards your debt so you can end your gazelle intense life!
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Close your account!
So, after being gazelle intense for so long, you finally paid off your first debt! I’m so proud of you! You should celebrate.
The best way of celebrating is to close your account.
You’ve done all the hard work, cut up your cards, earned extra money, paid off your debt.
Now it’s time to close the account, most banks and credit companies will try and pressure you to keep your account open.
Do your best (be firm if you must!) and shut down that account. Don’t forget to get it in writing just to cover all your bases and avoid any funny business!
Do NOT take on more debt!
While this may seem quite obvious, it is quite surprising how many times people pay off a credit card and then sign up for another one.
Once you’ve committed to a life of being debt free(link), try your absolute best to never go back!
Gazelle intensity means your behavior and life choices are subject to change, make it a point to never use debt when things get difficult ever again!
Find People Who Can Hold You Accountable
Dave Ramsay says that is difficult to maintain gazelle intensity without other like-minded people around you to keep you motivated and to hold you accountable.
Keep in mind, you’re ideally going to be looking for the “nice” kind of peer pressure here. Not somebody who tries to put you down or encourages you to use credit!
Facebook groups are one of the easiest ways to find like-minded people in the same boat as you.
Do a little bit of digging and there will be multiple groups with people that are on the same journey as you are.
It’s not too complicated! It’s pretty straightforward advice that will help you set the course of your financial journey for years to come.
Pay With Cash Only
Using cards and other electronic payment methods can seem so much more convenient, but it creates an abstract relationship with money, it’s hard to visualize how much you’re spending.
The cash leaving your hands and getting less back in return, is never a nice feeling.
When using a card (probably a debit card), you get that card back, so the psychological effect is not as much.
The Gazelle Intensity system advises you to use cash as much as you can. Use this to your advantage to adhere to the system.
Do Not Invest While In Debt
This is the step where you’re probably thinking “This is too extreme, right?”.
Most Finance experts go on and on about the benefits of combining savings and investing!
Is it fair that you’re being told to avoid something that could potentially make you more money? While you are only spending money to pay off debt?
Well, this change is not intended to be a permanent solution, it is only until you get that pesky debt squared off!
The main goal is to dedicate as much of your income to paying off debt as possible.
Only after getting rid of your debt, you can start focusing on investing again.
The biggest advantage of this is that you will have a healthier chunk of money to invest once your debt is cleared. All that money that got lost in debt repayments now becomes available for you to invest.
Setting up an emergency fund is a great idea before you start investing though.
That emergency fund will help you out of a rough situation when life becomes unpredictable as it so often is!
Live By The 7 Baby Steps
- Baby Step 1: Save $1,000 for your Starter Emergency fund
- Baby Step 2: Pay off All Your Debt (Except the House)
- Baby Step 3: Save 3-6 Months of Expenses in Your Emergency Fund
- Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of your Household Income in Retirement
- Baby Step 5: Save for Your Children’s College Fund
- Baby Step 6: Pay Off Your Home Early
- Baby Step 7: Build Wealth And Give
Baby Step 1: Save $1,000 for your Starter Emergency fund
The first step is pretty self explanatory, your goal should be to save $1,000 as fast as you can.
This emergency fund will help cover any unexpected expenses that pop up that you can’t plan for. There will be a few!
Check out my Conquer Your Grocery Budget Course if you need help in starting your first reducing how much you spend on groceries!
Baby Step 2: Pay off All Your Debt (Except the House)
Baby Step 2, it’s time to pay off any debt you are carrying, this could be credit card debt, auto loans or student loans.
Using the Debt Snowball method is one of the fastest ways you can get this done.
Start off by listing all your debts except your mortgage, putting them in order from smallest to largest helps.
Attack these debts with determination, once your smallest payment is gone, use that payment and put it towards the second-smallest payment, while making minimum payments on the rest.
In a nutshell, that’s what the debt snowball method is and it’s a helpful tool to get you to knock out those debts one-by-one.
Baby Step 3: Save 3-6 Months of Expenses in Your Emergency Fund
You’ve almost paid off your debt!
Try not to slow down now. Use that same money you were using as your debt payments and throw it towards your emergency fund.
This will help protect you against the bigger surprises that life might throw your way and help you stay out of debt in the process.
Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of your Household Income in Retirement
Once you’ve paid off your debt and created your emergency fund, it’s time to start looking upwards.
This is where you regularly invest 15% of your gross income so that you can retire comfortably.
I’m pretty sure most of us don’t want to be working until we’re in our 70s!
Baby Step 5: Save for Your Children’s College Fund
You’ve started saving for retirement. Next, it’s time to save for your kids college expenses.
Obviously , this step is assuming that you have children and that they want to go to college to begin with.
It might seem daunting to save for your kids college. As we know universities are notoriously expensive.
But, just take it one day at a time and you’ll be surprised with how much you can save with a little bit of resilience.
Baby Step 6: Pay Off Your Home Early
This is a pretty big step, remember that step 2 was to pay off your debts except your house.
Now, your mortgage is the only thing between you and complete debt freedom.
Any extra money you can put towards your mortgage (It could be as little as $10), could save you thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments.
Baby Step 7: Build Wealth And Give
In my opinion this sounds like the step that’s the most fun!
By now, you have no debt and you can do anything you want.
Keep trying to build your wealth and be generous and share that wealth with your loved ones.
Leave an inheritance for your kids (and their kids too), Now if that ain’t a legacy I don’t know what is!
The 7 Baby Steps are a simple step-by-step plan to get out of debt but to also achieve true financial freedom for the rest of your life.
Pros Of Gazelle Intensity
What are the good things that can came out of being gazelle intense?
- It helps remove unnecessary spending. Doing this assists you with redirecting more cash towards reducing your debt.
- It allows you to get out of your cycle of debt repayments as quickly as possible.
- This kind of behavior is likely to spill over to other aspects of your life, allowing you to be more productive.
- It takes you a step closer to financial freedom so you can do the things you want.
Cons Of Gazelle Intensity
We talked about the pros, Now what are some of the downsides to Gazelle Intensity?
- The risk of burnout is very real, especially when you factor in selling things you own and starting a side hustle.
- Living a lifestyle that lacks flexibility can sometimes make life feel less fulfilling.
- The Debt trap might go away but living a gazelle intense life for long will create feelings of being caged.
Does Everyone Agree With Gazelle Intensity?
Not everybody agrees with Gazelle Intensity.
A few people claim that it forces you to make extreme changes to your finances while obsessing over debt freedom.
It is often compared to a fad diet, where you have a higher chance of relapsing or burning out because what you’re doing is not sustainable.
On the flip side, over the short term, going all in with gazelle intensity can feel quite rewarding.
The idea is that it should not be for a long time because as time goes on the burnout and feelings of disassociation start to creep up.
If you start to feel like you are burning out, or feeling caged, try relaxing the rules slightly.
This might make your debt take a little bit longer to square off, but in my opinion your mental health is more important!
Dave Ramsay’s Gazelle Intensity can be extreme for a few people. If you follow his 7 Baby Steps, Gazelle Intensity is a big part of the first 3 steps.
Ideally, you’d want to go all in and get done paying off your debt within 2 years. Try not to go too much longer than this since burnout is a real possibility.
It’s not a sustainable way to live for most people for several years without mental exhaustion of some kind.
Trying to do so for several years will probably make you feel worse than how you felt when you started.
If you have debt that needs to be paid off right away, it can be the perfect boost in motivation that you need to get the job done.
Related Reading: The Various Types Of Money
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Last Updated on 7th September 2022 by Emma