The phrase “debt free journey” sounds like someone is romanticizing the boring task of paying off debt. But if you’ve ever spent time paying off a large debt, you know that phrase is pretty accurate.
Paying off debt is a long term commitment. You have to make the same decision day in and day out that getting out of debt is more important than the temptations that swarm you constantly.
It’s not easy.
And sometimes you’ll crawl into the comfortable box called “woe is me”. It’s not fair! Your friends and coworkers (especially baffling since you have the same salary) have endless amounts of money for taking trips, major house projects, and fancy cars.
I’ll spare you the “we never know what goes on in other homes” lecture. Because honestly, who cares? That’s not going to make you feel better about your own situation.
10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Debt Free Journey
This post has been written by Jamie Jeffers, our talented staff writer!
Our family is now in our 21st month of hardcore debt repayment, and we’ve been through all the emotions. That’s enough time to come up with some strategies to get you through the “woe is me” days.
Try one of these 10 things the next time you think you can’t spend another day being careful with your money.
Why do you avoid spending time at home? Is it boring? Or does it make you feel stressed?
Your home should be your haven. And when you’re getting out of debt, you’ll be spending more time there than ever.
Honestly, if your home frustrates you, it’s usually because you have too much stuff. Get rid of things that you never use and you’ll be amazed at how much more spacious your house feels!
Make your home a comfy, happy place that you want to be in.
2. Learn to Love The Simple
I’m not saying that everyone has to embrace the minimalism craze during their debt free journey, but there’s a reason so many people are on board. It’s one way to end the “I’ll be happy when…” thoughts that push away any chance at being happy now.
Don’t give in to the guilt that says you don’t deserve to be happy because you’re in debt.
Practice finding ways to be happy throughout your day by appreciating little things that money can’t buy. Your first cup of coffee. The sunset. An unseasonably warm (or cool) day.
Get the hang of this now and you won’t fall back into old habits of trying to buy happiness once you’re out of debt!
3. Find A Side Hustle
Side hustles are good for so many reasons.
- It’s good to have more than one source of income.
- You can try to make money doing something you enjoy better or differently from your 9-5.
- That time you used to spend shopping can be occupied making money instead!
- It’s usually more flexible. You can quit if it feels like too much.
4. Connect With Friends in New Ways
Start a book club (check books out from the library). Host a potluck dinner. Have buddies bring their own drinks and watch the game.
If your friends are good company, why should you spend money to see them? You might find out they’re relieved to save some cash, too.
And if you have to spend money on your friends, you might want to look for other people to hang out with. Just saying.
5. Money Saving Hobby
You’re not going out on the town, which gives you extra time. What should you do with it?
Before you get bored and find yourself online shopping, look for a new hobby to take up.
- Love eating at restaurants? Why not try to find the perfect copycat recipe to make at home?
- Like shopping for bags? Maybe you can learn how to sew or knit.
- Learn a new language or read some classic books. Your library probably has a lot more to offer than you think, so be sure to check them out!
Not only does it feel good, but you never know who you might meet. Not to mention the gratitude you’ll feel when you realize what a blessed life you have compared to some.
7. Learn the Art of Compromise
If you’re bringing family along on your debt free journey, find ways to keep them content. If they love movies, grab one at the Redbox or the library. Keep them going by surprising them with small treats along the way.
Paying off debt can take a long time, and most of us can’t do it alone. Find a team that will support you and pick you up on the days you don’t think you can do it any more.
9. Just Imagine!
What will life look like when you’re debt free? This shouldn’t be a list of things you wish you could buy! Begin to imagine how you can use that extra money to set yourself up for success…meaning you never have to turn to credit in an emergency again!
10. Learn Your Why
Always remember why you’re getting out of debt. Build habits that are sustainable so you can reach your goals!
These ideas will help you settle into your debt journey for the long haul.
Remember why you want to get out of debt, and always keep your eye on that prize. Just keep this list close by for the hard days.
Which strategy will you try first on your debt free journey? Which ones already work for you?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.