Those of you who are familiar with the Shopaholic book series by Sophie Kinsella need no introduction to the antics of its protagonist, Becky Bloomwood. Financial journalist by day, Bloomwood rarely takes her own advice and ends up in piles of debt more frequently than she should. Sure, she scrapes herself out of it each time (or we readers wouldnt have the happy ending were all rooting for), but the journey to that stage is often fraught with angst and stress. It may be fun reading about Bloomwoods escapades, but in reality, none of us want to emulate her financial planning model.Surajit Bose, former banker with ICICI Bank, says, The primary aim of financial discipline, at the very least, is being prudent with ones expenditure to ensure a healthy contingency fund at any stage of one's life. But for most, financial diligence is beyond creating a contingency fund; it's essentially to ensure continuous upgradation in ones quality of life. While the intent is always to self-fund expenditures, there are certain capex (capital expenditures) that require us to use debt as an instrument to bolster our financial resourcing, such as home or car loans. It is imperative to ensure that we build enough financial discipline in our life that we dont fall prey to a continuous and cyclic debt trap, and rather, have a robust, time-bound plan to repay debts.A report published by TransUnion (TU) Cibil reveals that women borrowers in India have increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 per cent over the last five years, compared to 11 per cent of male borrowers. Loan penetrations have doubled from seven per cent in 2017 to 14 per cent in 2022. While this access to credit is great for women entrepreneurs, and for those seeking to fulfil aspirations of owning a home or a car independently, it also means that they could get complacent and fall prey to the debt trap. This usually happens unknowingly due to unforeseen expenses.When I was 25, I had to undergo numerous medical procedures that were necessary at the time, says architect Sarah Jacob Shah. At that point, since I was young and earning reasonably well, I didnt think to get health insurance. Heres a sidebar get health insurance for yourself and your family health the minute you can afford it. Every other expense can be set aside; this cant.It especially hurts since a significant chuck of those medical expenses could have been fulfilled with insurance. Instead, I had to take out loans to pay off the bills. My mother has been a single parent for a long time and invested most of her savings into my education, so there was no way I could look to her for this. Sarah gradually worked off her loans by scrimping and putting some of her other financial dreams on hold but is debt-free today. Financial discipline is the key not just to getting out of debt, but also to avoiding it entirely.Surajit suggests a few easy and effective financial disciplinary methods:1. Create a contingency fund: Even before you start thinking of multiplying your wealth, start off by consistently putting a certain sum of money away for a rainy day. This should be as high as 30 per cent at the beginning of your career, tapering off to five per cent towards the end of it, when you have built a significant corpus of funds. It is also the first step towards financial independence.2. Insurance is an investment: Most of us put this as the last item on the bucket list, when it should be at the top. There is no better way to hedge risks. Always ensure to secure your assets. This also includes your health.3. Plan and review your financial goals: It is critical to list down your financial goals in a time-bound manner, based on your earnings. The financial goals must be specific and with timelines. It is advisable to break it down into short-term (two-year horizon) and long-term (five-year horizon) goals. Plan every minute of foreseeable expenditures, including holidays and weddings. Keep reviewing this every month and make changes as you deem appropriate. Every month may sound like too much, but the payoff will be worth it.4. Budget: Prepare a budget based on your financial goals. Sometimes this may require you to cut back on a certain lifestyle you can easily afford based on your current income, but that hampers your financial goals. Make the difficult decision to do so. It may also fuel additional motivation to enhance your income.5. High-yielding bank deposits: Before experimenting with other financial instruments to enhance your wealth, build a sizeable corpus through high-yielding bank deposits. Create a corpus of six to 12 months of your monthly expenditure in this before investing in other financial instruments.6. Debt Management: Sixty-seven per cent, or two out of three, Indians take a loan in their lifetime. Buying a home or a car are life milestones that everyone encounters and, in such cases, loans are justified. However, please plan a repayment schedule that is at least five years prior to your planned retirement. Avoid taking loans to meet lifestyle expenditures. Never keep debts on your credit card. If required, liquidate an asset or investment to pay off credit card debts, as it is a vicious cyclic debt trap that, more often than not, causes huge wealth erosion.7. Invest long term: The concept of investing in the market to make quick money is amateurish. If you truly want to benefit from the multiplier effect of investment, choose sound investment options and stay invested for a long period (minimum of five years). While planning your budget, ensure you allocate 25-30 per cent of your surplus amount towards long-term investments.Theres no quick fix to staying out of debt and financially sound. Like Moliere said, Debts are like children - begot with pleasure, but brought forth with pain.' But with some prudence, discipline and consistency, you can nail it.