Most common folks out there think they’ll never live the kind of life they desire without being strapped to debts. I must say it’s really difficult to fit in vacations, movie tickets, fancy dinners and new pairs of shoes to the budget of an average earner. Financial experts say it’s difficult but not impossible. What’s only required of us is self-discipline.
Know Your Liabilities
Credit counselors say that knowing what you owe is the hardest part of getting out of debt. I think it’s because people are resistant to unveil their dilemma; they’re simply terrified of how indebted they are. But once you get a clearer view of your spending behavior, you might be forced to change.
Start by tallying up all your debts and making a cash-flow calendar. Write down how much you’re earning per month and where does every cent go.
Curb Don’t Cut Right Away
Most people who try to lose weight fail to do so because they alter their lifestyle too abruptly. A sudden change in your normal activities can stir up frustration and only cause you to go on a binge. It’s the same with trying to cut your expenses; you have to go a little slow until the routine is completely changed.
Go for Cash
Studies reveal that shopping with gift certificates and credit cards increases one’s tendency to become impulsive. This is because the GC and the plastic are not perceived to be valuable by their subconscious mind. It’s like they’re just using “play money”, so they also shop like it’s just a game. Use real cash instead to become more contemplative. You’ll feel the sting of trading hard-earned cash for something that you don’t really need and you’ll change your mind.
Get Rid of What You Don’t Need
It’s time to let go of old habits and aspirations that once appealed to you. If you frequent the web I don’t think there’s a need to subscribe to various magazines anymore. If you barely have time to sit on the couch I don’t think you need dozens of cable channels. If you travel often I don’t think you should continue your gym membership. Go back to your cash-flow calendar and reflect on everything that drains your income.
Cook Your Meals More Often
Dining in your favorite restaurant becomes more special if it’s not often. That favorite dish of yours will taste just like your daily morning pancakes if you’re going to have it every other night. When you cook meals at home, you are not only cutting expenses but also ensuring that the food is prepared correctly. Set a schedule when you can splurge on a fancy dinner, a frappe or a movie. This way you’ll also have something to look forward to each week.
Buy Experience Instead
Studies on behavioral economics divulge that the elation we feel when we have a new toy or gadget is very fleeting. Soon, we will start comparing what we have with others and then we will lose interest in them and decide to buy new ones. Material things also create stress because they take up space. And if they’re valuable, we are constantly worried that they’ll get broken or stolen. It’s better to save for an experience because the memory stays within us.