How To Rid Ourselves of Debt – For Good | Darling Magazine

Debt is a hot topic of conversation these days, mostly because so many of us are in it. But there is nothing more freeing than releasing ourselves from debt, even if it means scrimping, saving, and keeping a little less money in our bank accounts than we’d like. Yet with all of the important things we have to pay for—rent/mortgage, utilities, health care—where do we make the cuts we need so we can redirect our focus to paying off our debt? Here are a few good ideas for healthy ways to make sacrifices that will help us reach our goals while also ensuring that we live comfortable lifestyles.

Change Your Living Situation
Think about ways that you can change your living situation. Post a listing for a roommate who can share rent/mortgage costs with you. If it’s not too intrusive and it wouldn’t compromise your relationship, consider asking a family member or friend if you can live with them temporarily while working to pay off your debt. If sharing space isn’t an option, think about relocating to a cheaper apartment or home. By cutting the costs you spend each month on your living situation, you can re-allocate funds and make bigger monthly payments, reducing your debt faster. Do not, however, make a change that would end up costing you more money (i.e. spending too much on moving-related costs or relocating to a city with a higher cost of living). The goal is to pare down and live on less.

Buy Groceries
Consistently eating in restaurants is one of the biggest drains on our resources. Choosing to buy groceries—and eat all that you’ve purchased!—can save tons of money, and it can even help you live a healthier lifestyle. If you lack confidence in your cooking abilities (a common reason for choosing restaurants instead of home-cooked meals), scour blogs for great, easy recipes—there’s no need to spend extra money stocking up on cookbooks when there are so many good resources on the internet.

Avoid the Target Trap
We love this guest post about a Target addiction on the blog And Then We Saved. The writer, Amy C. Ridenour, says this:

“Target is full of my wants. Of course some things are cheaper there: tampons, body lotion, face wash on sale with a coupon peeled off the front. But how much do I add on when I visit? I’m like a kid in a toy store—I want everything, I need nothing.”

Many of you understand the Target trap—you go into the store for toothpaste, toilet paper, and deodorant and come out with bottles of wine, nail polish, and greeting cards. For some of you, Target may not be your drug of choice but rather Best Buy—you go in for a phone charger and come out with video games and movies—or even Whole Foods—you go in for groceries and come out with chapstick, natural loofahs, and a pair of TOMS shoes. We are not saying anything bad about these stores; on the contrary, we are saying that there are so many great products sold in each of these places that there ends up being too much temptation. All of these good choices can cause us to stray from our original purpose for running to Target (or Best Buy, or Whole Foods) and result in the purchase of items we don’t really need.

Make Your Payments a Priority
It’s tempting to use your finances for other costs, but ensure that paying off your debt comes second only to payments you need to make to survive – living costs, health insurance, and groceries. Of course, if an emergency arises, take care of yourself, but don’t let other costs trump the priority of paying of your student loans, car payment, or credit card balance. If possible, schedule recurring payments so that your account is debited automatically each month, preferably right after you’ve received your paycheck—that way, you won’t be tempted to skip a payment, using a low number in your bank account as an excuse.

Enlist Support from People You Love
Do not be ashamed of the debt you carry. Instead, embrace the challenge of paying off your debt, and share your story with people so that they can support and encourage you throughout your journey. There is strength in numbers and power in openness and honesty. You do not have to tackle this alone. Of course, do not ask people for financial assistance—that would not be appropriate. Instead, clarify that you are sharing your story because you want them to encourage you, listen to you, and provide advice when asked.

Image via Udi’s Gluten Free Foods

1 comment

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I especially liked what you said in regards to not being ashamed of your debt. Hey, we all go through some kind of debt issues sooner or later. After a couple of job losses my husband and I had depleted most of our safety nets, and now we are starting the slow climb paying off debt we acquired during those times. We are not the only ones within our neighborhood who have faced financial issues due to job loss and bad economy, so we are able to share with each other and as you said encourage and support. There is also a psychological comfort when sharing with others in that you are not alone, where as not sharing causes an isolation and a feeling of your are the only one that is going through the fire.


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