Hello Friends. Let’s talk Debt.
Sundays are delicious aren’t they? Thus, I decided it was long over due to share ‘what’s up’ in our sweet corner of the world.
I know how long it has been since our last update. I do have plans to upgrade our blog. But again, this blog is really a caption of our busy bohemian life with ELEVEN souls (one in the making). A part of this crazy fun and chaotic life we live includes our Debt FREE journey!
We have had some great progress this year with our debt snowball already, in spite of an unexpected job change, and events that added to the intensity of daily life.
Here are 5 Tips that helped us clear over $30,000 of debt since January of this year, 2021.
If you would like to learn more about our DEBT FREE JOURNEY click HERE.
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Tip #1. Don’t Allow Boredom to Kill Your Progress
This is probably common sense, but sometimes we don’t consciously realize how much money we spend when we allow boredom to infiltrate our day. Ah-yes. The almost mindless “Add to Cart”. And thanks to a near “Frictionless” shopping option, you can purchase in ONE CLICK.
Something that has really helped us stay focused in this season is to STAY BUSY. I have a couple little “side gigs” to keep me occupied in the pockets of the day between meals, homeschooling and Large Family Life requirements, that have also been a small financial blessing in attacking our debt!
But if you are looking for ways to stay focused during the ‘in between’ moments of the day, when we often hop on “Amazon”, or Facebook and see ADs for dreamy things we’ve been thinking of, here some alternatives that have kept me, what I like to call, “Distracted-Focused” and not ‘buying in one-click’.
Exercise for DEBT FREE FOCUS
Seriously. I’m for ALL the Healthy Habits. Especially the ones that overlap.
Did you know getting out of debt can actually make you feel liberated in other ways too? Many people who begin breaking free of those antagonizing payments, tend to lose the unhealthy weight that has been dragging them down for years. It makes sense. The more you work your ‘discipline’ muscle, the more that spills over into other areas of your life for your betterment!
And exercise is my first choice of distraction from overspending. It clears my mind, gives me a free boost of serotonin and ‘feel goods’ and re-focuses my heart on my goals.
I am also a Health Coach which helps me stay accountable to myself FIRST, so I can show up for women in my group who need my support. And in turn, I am supported by the incredible women in our private groups! I use some incredibly inexpensive tools that cost me less than $0.50 a day to have access to hundreds of powerful workouts that have absolutely been my “go-to” for focused distraction during our debt-free journey.
If you are interested in joining my team of women fighting for good health, you send me an email here, or follow me on Instagram @healthyhabitsvillage.
Exercise, and following a very strategic program to get in incredible shape is an excellent and inexpensive way to feel like you are making PROGRESS daily. Just that feeling of success alone can push you forward in your journey of becoming DEBT FREE! Believe me, it has been pushing me joyfully forward each day!
But even getting outside for some vitamin D and fresh air can be a beautiful distraction from online impulse purchases!
Eat IN instead of OUT
Now, besides the rare occasion I have been caught too long at a doctors appointment and grabbed a cheap burger, we have avoided eating out while paying off debt. Well, actually it is EXTREMELY expensive to eat out as a large family anyways, but we did occasionally budget for it before we began our Debt Snowball.
Instead, for a fraction of the cost of going OUT for food, you can usually get higher quality and better tasting food when you make it at home yourself. We will do a “treat” day once a week that usually involves an “ice cream party”, “Pizza Party” or something to that extent. We can purchase ALL the ingredients, plus extras for less than the cost of just grabbing something at a restaurant. Plus it is an excellent way to make memories as a family, having an “ice cream bar” with little goodies and chatting or playing games together.
If You Are an Avid Reader Try the Kindle APP to kick boredom and stay focused on paying down debt!
I personally prefer holding a physical book in my hands. But truth be told, you can get lots of FREE books, as well as books you have been wanting to read at a fraction the cost of a paperback on your Kindle app. I LOVE reading and it really is a wonderful past time to help encourage your mind to stay focused on your goals.
Here are some excellent Titles that are worth checking out:
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
- Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey
- Know Yourself Know Your Money by Rachel Cruze
You can also always use your local library, which is the BEST option for free books!
Tip #2 (But really the MOST Important) TALK WITH YOUR SPOUSE OFTEN About Your DEBT FREE JOURNEY
There is little success rate amongst couples wanting to pay off all their debt who do NOT work together, versus those who do.
If you do ANYTHING in your debt free journey, it is to be sure you are on the same page financially with your spouse.
Yvan and I try to meet once a week to just reflect on our months budget, and talk through if we need to make adjustments. This month our toddler broke our second son’s glasses AGAIN, for example, and we needed to rearrange some items to fit the need.
Not only does working together to pay off debt give you a sense of support and teamwork, but it brings you closer as a couple KNOWING you are fighting for a dream you both share.
Tip #3 Unsubscribe from Ads
Ok. I love a gorgeous INSTAGRAM feed as much as the next person. But reality is, when you cut your life style down to a minimum you need to protect your headspace. And having Ads parading across your screen for items that would “improve” home, family, vacation time, etc. means you are asking for ‘discontentment’.
That’s not to say you can’t dream for things down the road and ‘window shop’. But Advertisers are not stupid. They know their audience and they will bombard you with good deals and ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities. Or they may simply sow so much dissatisfaction in your current surroundings that you cave and make that unnecessary purchase.
Remember…EVERY DOLLAR you throw on debt instead of spending unnecessarily, gets you a step closer to total financial FREEDOM.
Tip #4 Stay Accountable
This can be a hard one if you do not have people in your circle who understand or support your mission. If you are NOT eating out, for example, in order to pay off debt faster, but have friends who want to eat out with you weekly, it’s going to be a challenge to stick to your goals.
Obviously, I’m not saying to give up friends. But I AM saying you need to draw a very clear line in the sand that nothing will stop your commitment to accomplishing what you set out for.
Yvan and I count ourselves rich in the friends departments. We have very conservative, environmentally conscious and frugal close friends who for the most part have paid off their homes decades early and/or live with the ‘end goal in mind’, rather than just for today. I cannot put into words how this has been a blessing to us, when we foolishly gave our life away to payments a decade ago because YOLO. They have come alongside of us with wise words and encouragement and we could not be more thankful.
But even if you do not have friends or family with that kind of wisdom, you can still check in to DEBT FREE JOURNEY communities online for support. We ALL need support if we have big mountains to conquer. Going “solo” is foolish and prideful not wise. We have to admit to needing others advice, wisdom and encouragement to keep going when we want to give up!
You can check out Dave Ramseys “Baby Steppers” FREE group on Facebook for daily support if you have any questions. It has over 158,000 members and in all stages of their financial journeys.
Tip #5 USE CASH AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE to crush DEBT
Ah, cash flow. If you want to see more cash piling up towards paying off debt, STICK TO USING ONLY CASH or MOSTLY cash.
We struggled with this, this past year. Some local stores at different points in the pandemic would not even accept our cash. So we just had to budget more carefully.
I know how silly that sounds in our “card charged” world. But the advice definitely has the “grandma” wisdom attached to it, of helping us live within our means. I appreciate that my father has been someone to use cash most of his life. The benefit shows in his responsibility towards finances and he has kept him self functioning well with such methods.
Now, while we cut up our credit cards a while ago at the beginning of our journey, we still have a DEBIT Visa which works for 99% of online purchases. We occasionally still purchase necessities online, such as homeschool materials and bulk food items, using our DEBIT Visa card. But overall we try to stick to CASH whenever possible.
You know what paying CASH will prevent you from doing? Impulse spending.
If you dedicate CASH only in an envelope for FOOD and head to the store, believe me you will avoid throwing unnecessary items in your cart to be sure you don’t end up over your limit at the cashiers. Even if you have plenty of extra money in your bank account, sticking to CASH helps you stick to your budget.