Welcome to Day 1 of the Money Management course!
Today is packed with tons of goodies.
Give yourself time to read each email in this course from top to bottom. It might not all be news to you but without a doubt you’ll have some new information to take home!
Our focus today is getting you to conquer that mountain of debt without living like a hermit.
You’ve probably read a number of articles advocating a life of restraint until your debt is paid off. Personally, I don’t think this method is viable or realistic.
You might be able to swing it for a short amount of time but depending on how much you owe, it could take months or even years to pay down.
YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO WAIT TO BE HAPPY (PUN INTENDED).
I’m not advocating throwing all reason or restraint out the window. Sometimes you just have to live a little. Never indulging is an extreme just like over indulging.
Most people can’t pay off their debt because they try to bite off more than they can chew. Compromising on your life to pay off debt is not viable.
Long story short, don’t live on rice and beans!
It’s fine to splurge once in a while if splurging means living. Do what makes you happy.
If you keep stopping yourself because of debt, you’re going to break. When that happens, you’ll likely binge and end up spending far more than you would have had you occasionally splurged.
Here are a few tips to help you get on track without sacrificing on life.
Personally, I love eating out. Maybe I’m just a terrible chef but there’s something about eating at my favourite restaurants. I just love going out to dinner with friends and catching up over delicious food.
Needless to say, dinning out can be taxing on the wallet.
FEAR NOT! YOU MAY NOT HAVE TO GIVE IT UP, IT CAN BE DONE FOR LESS.
Groupon is a great way to get a solid discount. A surprising amount of restaurants promote their business through Groupon. You won’t just find the new joints trying to make a new name for themselves. Plenty of popular spots come up as well. Get to searching for your next affordable dinner destination on Groupon!
If you’ve meeting friends for drinks, try to work the schedule around happy hour times or on the days you know certain restaurants have specials.
Hosting dinners, parties or other get togethers
It’s possible eating out isn’t high on the list for you.
Maybe you much prefer having friends over. The best way to do this (as far as the wallet goes) is to have everyone chip in. This doesn’t mean charging an entrance fee (all though I guess you could). Simply ask friends to bring a little something with them like a snack, a bottle of wine, a salad, a side or what ever the occasion might call for.
Putlock type events are also awesome for trying new things. You never know what your friends might bring. You might just fall in love with a new appetizer, side or wine you’ve never had before.
Vacations & getaways
Picking a destination
Not all vacations are created equal. It’s no secret that going to Europe or doing a safari in Africa will cost an arm and a leg. On the flip side, there are places in the world which are known for their level of affordability.
If you don’t already have a destination in mind, you can significantly reduce the costs of your next holidays by picking the right destination. Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico and Cancun are all good examples of inexpensive destinations. If none of those appeal to you, then get on Google and type in “cheapest vacation destinations” or something along those lines.
If you’re looking to get away, it’s almost always cheaper to get yourself an Airbnb instead of a hotel room.
I’ve saved so much on my travel through Airbnb.
Sometimes I entertain the thought of a hotel but end up right back on Airbnb when I compare the prices with those of hotels.
Fly for status & savings
It seems crazy to me that everyone doesn’t take advantage of airline reward programs. These literally don’t cost you a cent but you accumulate perks just for being a member. I can’t express enough how much I have saved on airfare through my airline loyalty rewards program.
Why on earth would you not take 2 minutes to sign up for free and start collecting?
Personally, in the past 3 years, I’ve left the country 24 times bouncing back and forth between Europe, Africa and Asia. Not all of it has been free but about 70% of my airfare has been covered through the miles I racked up. Those are MAJOR savings if you consider how far I’m travelling (Africa isn’t exactly next door to North America, that kind of distance gets expensive).
The benefits of being loyal to one group of airlines (I mostly fly with Air Canada a member of Star Alliance) far outweighs the extra $100 it will cost instead of going for the cheapest ticket possible.
To give you an idea of some of the perks I get:
- Free access to all Star Alliance lounges. If you haven’t gone to a lounge before, let me tell you, its pretty great! Free food and drinks not to mention being able to shower on a layover for those long hauls is a game changer.
- Free business class upgraded probably about 1 out of 5 times. Those 9+ hour flights in business class (for free!) make the traveling so much easier. Most of the time when I’m on such a long haul, it’s an overnight flight and being able to fully recline into a bed is a game changer as far as travelling comfortably goes.
All that free stuff
If you feel like you still don’t have enough money for any of the above indulgences, don’t worry! There are countless ways to enjoy life without spending a cent.
- Go for a walk!
- If you’re close to the mountains, hike in the wood.
- If you’re close to the ocean, go to the beach.
- Check your local community for free events, concerts, parades, etc.
- Join a Meetup group that interests you. Most of the events these groups organize are free and are a great opportunity to mingle with like-minded people!
Where there’s a will there’s a way
I know it’s a little cheesy but I truly believe that if you set your mind to it, you can get it. Be determined, you can pay off you debt without sacrificing on life.
It’s easy to get discouraged and honestly life’s a bitch sometimes but no matter how shitty your current situation might feel, there’s always an upside and a way out. You just have to force yourself to see it.
Here are some other great resources to get you motivated to take control of your debt and live a life you love:
- 4 tips if you’re behind on bills
- 5 reasons you’re broke and can’t get out of debt
- 3 tips for finding financial freedom and happiness