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One of the biggest reasons people stay in debt is because they don’t want to sacrifice in the short term. People don’t want to give up a lifestyle they’re so used to, yet that’s the quickest way to achieve financial freedom.
It’s so much easier to reduce your spending than it is to earn more money. In order to earn more money, you have to work overtime at work (which a lot of the time is not an option), get a second job, or find ways to make money on the side (childcare, cleaning services, etc.)
Reducing your spending, however, is something you have much more control over. You get to set your grocery, gas, and entertainment budget every single month. You have total control over how much or how little you want to spend on each category.
For example, could you go this entire week without eating out? Of course you could, you just have to have a strong meal plan in place. Could you just as easily go apply for and find a good part time job? Not necessarily.
The thought of giving up simple pleasures in your life can be overwhelming. Trying to imagine a life without TV, eating out multiple times a day, and going on a lavish vacation every year can seem miserable. Giving up your beloved new car and shopping addiction can be even worse. But these are the things that can have a huge impact on your ability to pay off debt and achieve all your financial goals!
You might be thinking, “Hold up a minute. I already drive a ten year old car and only eat out once on the weekends. There’s nothing more I can sacrifice!”
First off, kudos to you! Most people do not live like this.
Next, I want you to take a few minutes and really brainstorm some ways you could cut some spending in the temporary that you may not even be thinking about. I’ll give a few examples to get you started:
- How much are you paying each month for your cell phone? Could you switch plans to lower your data, or switch to a cheaper pre-paid plan such as Straight Talk?
- If you still have cable TV, you could save some serious cash here. Sign up for Netflix and Hulu (or just one of these) and buy an antenna for $15 to get a few basic channels. We bought an antenna and are able to pick up 14 channels for free!
The examples I listed above are easy to do and don’t really hurt all that bad.
When you really want to be debt free, you may have to make some more challenging sacrifices. You may have to commit to not eating out at all, to going on a “no-spend month”, or give up going out with friends on the weekends.
But please don’t worry: this is only temporary. Once your debt is paid off, you can go back to indulging in those little pleasures, except you won’t feel guilty about it. You can have a “spa day” budget line, get your premium cable package again (you might not even care about this after going without it though), and stop in at Starbucks for your favorite latte again.
For me and my husband, we’ve calculated we should be able to pay off all our debt within six months, if we can stick to it and be real aggressive. That means six months of a lot of daily sacrifices, telling ourselves no, and living like “weirdos.” But the payoff?
We’ll finally be debt free and will be able to stop sending over $750 a month to our creditors. We’ll be able to do what we want with our money on our terms. We’ll stop feeling the pressure of making sure all our debts are paid on time, and we can start making some choices about having a little more freedom in our lives.
Are you stuck in a job you hate because you need it to pay the bills? Are most of those bills car notes, credit card payments, and student loans? Imagine the life you could live if you paid all that off.
You could leave the job you hate and find one that maybe doesn’t pay as well, but you actually enjoy what you do.
You could take the time to pursue your passion and finally open that business you’ve been dreaming of.
You could choose to work part time and enjoy a bit more freedom in your days.
And you could definitely choose to book that two week long vacation to Hawaii you’ve been dreaming of for years!
So tell me, what are you willing to sacrifice? What are you willing to give up now, to get you where you want to be in the near future? Let me know in the comments below!