Debt-free living is a common goal, but it's difficult if you live paycheck to paycheck. In trying to avoid debt, you may make mistakes that hinder your progress.

Skimping on Saving Paying off debt instead of saving or investing isn't a good long-term strategy, says John Bergquist of Common Sense Financial in South Jordan, Utah.

Giving Up on Investing Debt may prevent you from investing. Ashburn says too many people focus on avoiding debt and neglect building wealth.

Ditching Credit Cards Paying with plastic can boost your credit score. High credit scores are best for low-interest mortgage and auto loans.

Neglecting Insurance Insurance prevents you from going into debt by paying exorbitant costs to fix a problem.

Overspending Slickdeals, a coupon and deals website, surveyed respondents last year about unplanned spending. $5,400 annually.

Forgetting to Create and Stick to a Budget Bergquist says people who put all their money into debt and don't budget "inevitably have a hiccup in their debt repayment plans and incur unexpected expenses."

If you want to be debt-free, do it moderately and incrementally, making small but significant steps toward long-term goals.