Although, I am in no way a pro, I have learn’t a few things about money throughout this process of paying off my debt. I realize, that compared to some I was not in a ton of debt, but I still did it. I wanted to share how I did it. I have learnt a lot of about money management and how important it really is. I have also learnt how much I love money management – it can be quite invigorating. I have for you today FIVE useful tips on becoming DEBT FREE. Two very exciting words if you ask me! There is one thing that I have learned .. it is this!
It is not about how much money you make, it is about what you do with the money that you do make.
1. Have a cushion
• As a rule, I learned that having a cushion in your bank account is always wise. I did not do this at first, and I should have. I lived paycheck to paycheck and had to use my visa on multiple occasions. Depending on the life you live will depend on the amount. The rule of thumb, or so I have heard, is to have enough in your account to keep you afloat for three months if you happen to lose your job. That way when unexpected situations come up (ie; job loss, or transmission dies) you have some money aside already to take care of it. Be sure to top it up if you have used money out of it. You may have to readjust your budget for a month or so, but that is okay. It is better to be prepared for these events in advance, than to have to go into debt because of them!
• This is so important and so crucial to paying off any debt or saving wisely. You need to have a budget. I learn this daily, and also make mistakes regularly. Living life on a tight budget is so hard but is also so worth it. There are so many apps out there to help with this, and make it that much simpler. If you have a spouse, or someone you share money with, you can even link them to the account and both make changes from your phones. Great way to stay on the same page. A couple that I have used are Goodbudget and Mint. You can use them on a computer OR your phone, and it will all sync. Personally, I preferred Goodbudget. I found it easier and more user friendly.
3. Live Simply
• I am not the type of person to spend a lot of money on clothes, accessories, trips etc. Thank God for this because this process would have been a lot harder if I was. When you grocery shop, buy on-sale as much as possible. I realize this is not always possible and I do not all the time, but I try. Do not spend a lot of clothes, it is not necessary. Shop on the sales rack – trust me I have some really cute items and they only cost me $10 or less! Just. Live. Simply. You can live a great life without spending a ton of money – trust me! Instead of going out for a drink, or coffee all the time, have friends to your place, or go for a walk. Much cheaper, and just as social.
4. Treat yourself
• Do not be scared to spend a little money sometimes. If you have been diligent and working hard to be wise, then splurge and buy that cute top you have been eyeing. And do it guilt-free. They say when you are eating really healthy and trying to be intentional to have a “cheat day.” Well, the same applies to this. If you are so driven, and never splurge a little, the process will feel much longer, and you may even become frustrated. Just do something for you every once in a while to remind yourself that you are working towards your goal, but still need to live on the edge once and a while too.
5. Remember it’s only temporary
• This is what gets me through everything. A workout. Paying Debt. A really stressful event at work. IT IS ONLY TEMPORARY is what I keep telling myself. Living a simple life is something I want to implement the rest of my life, but living in extreme” let’s get out of debt” mode is only temporary. Once you are done, you are done. Then you will have more freedom and a little more to spend. And trust me – the feeling of being done is like nothing I have ever felt.
I really hope that these five useful tips to becoming debt free helped you. Remember, I am not a professional. I am just someone who worked really hard to pay off ALL of my student debt in just over a year making next to nothing! This definitely was not easy, but I am so grateful I did. It has given me much more freedom to do things like travel, and have adventures!
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