Nothing is worse than being stuck living with a strict budget. You try your best to make ends meet and, in the end, feel depressed because you aren’t able to do anything for enjoyment. Paying off debt can put a strain on your finances. It can also put a strain on your happiness. When the stress of paying off debt is getting you down, you can find ways to still enjoy life. Here are some tips to help you pay off your debt, so you don’t feel so deprived.
Declutter to Sell Stuff
It’s not just hoarders who tend to live with more stuff then they need. Your garage, basement, attic, spare bedrooms and closets can prove to be a goldmine of wealth just waiting to be found. Go through your entire home inside and out, upstairs and downstairs, to look for things you no longer need.
Look for anything from kids’ toys to exercise equipment and kitchen appliances to furniture you are bound to find plenty to sell. You can then hold a garage sale or for stuff in really good condition consider selling it on eBay or Kijiji. And don’t forget your clothes. Vintage is in and if you lost or gained weight you may have a pile of clothes in your wardrobe someone out there might love.
Don’t Buy Stuff You Don’t Need
Before you buy anything make sure you need it. The first step is to stop looking for sales or Groupon offers. It can be tempting to buy something just because it’s such a great deal, however, this is how you probably got into debt in the first place. Stick to this strict rule and suddenly you’ll discover you have money to spend on something more worthwhile. Even if it’s just a nice dinner out.
Tackle That Grocery List
Groceries are ridiculously expensive today. First, create a weekly menu so you only buy what you need. Second, look at your local flyers and see what’s on sale. You can also base your menu on the foods that are the cheapest. Either way, your goal should be to reduce that grocery bill.
A very good tip that most people don’t realize is to avoid buying anything in bulk just because it’s on sale. Even if you think you’ll use it, massive piles of chicken in your freezer often goes unused due to freezer burn. Also, consider eating less meat. There are tons of equally delicious vegetarian options out there. Do this a few times a week and watch just how much you save.
What can you give up?
Although we are looking for ways to avoid feeling deprived, we often deprive ourselves of stuff that is important to us while still indulging in stuff we really could live without. It could be the car, the super cable package, your cell phone, or too much meat in your groceries. Exploring your options might help you find a lot more cash than you might expect.
Enjoy Small Luxuries
This is another moment for self-discovery. What are the small things that will make you happy? Is it that fancy coffee you would love to indulge in once a week? Maybe it’s a really nice dinner out once a month? It could be getting your hair done at your favourite salon. Only you know what little things will bring a little enjoyment into your life. Decide what that is and give yourself a treat now and then but make sure you have accounted for this in the budget.
Set Some Goals
Nothing is more satisfying than crossing something off a list. If you decide to set some financial goals, you are also taking control of a situation that is empowering. Start a checklist of how you want to pay off your debt. There are two ways to do this to make it easier:
- The snowball method
Start with your lowest balances and pay them off one by one. The money you would have paid towards your now paid off balance then goes towards paying off your next balance and so on. This method also gives you a psychological boost as you pay off each debt. However, sometimes this can backfire if you have other cards with high-interest rates because the accumulating interest may be higher than the amounts you are giving to the smaller creditors.
- Starting big
Start with the highest balance / highest interest rate (e.g. a Payday loan) and apply the same rules as option one.
This will keep you focused on your goals so instead of feeling deprived you feel the joy of achievement.
Reassess and Regroup
One thing that might be hard to believe is that once you start giving things up, you realize you never needed them at all. This means there are probably more things you can consider to help you save, depending on how much you owe.
Major debt calls for major decisions. You may realize you could be saving tons of money by selling the house and renting for a year so you can get your finances in order. This works especially if you have a lot of equity built up in your home. Can you downsize your home? Do you need all those rooms, that big backyard? Does everyone in the family need a cell phone? Keep chopping where you can and watch your money grow.
Social media makes it nearly impossible not to feel envious of people who seem to be doing better than you. It can seem like everyone else is taking trips, eating at high-end restaurants, driving fancy cars, and living the high life. You might also have friends who want you to join them in these activities and you feel too embarrassed to say no. The truth of the matter is, you don’t have the money, so don’t let it get to you. True friends will understand.
In fact, confiding in someone about your debt could go a long way in helping you feel less trapped. You can also try to ignore social media, FOMO doesn’t have you reaching for the credit cards. Living a balanced life should be your goal with visions of better things in the future.
Paying off debt should be something that reduces stress, not causes it. These tips will help you still enjoy some treats now and then while chipping away at your debt.
For more information about living life while paying off your debt, call Kevin Thatcher at 1-866-719-8547 or contact us here.