Let’s just face the facts. We live in an instant gratification society. Further, people judge one another based upon the car they drive, the neighborhood in which they live, and the schools they attended. All of these things necessitate spending money — and a lot of people willingly go into debt to acquire them.
However, when those obligations start to threaten your financial solvency, it’s a good idea to consider some lifestyle changes you can make to pay off debts.
Take a Roommate
Two can live far more cheaply than one, especially in an era in which minimum wage won’t get you an apartment anywhere in the country. Housing costs are one of the biggest expenses you’ll face. You can cut that cost in half with a roommate and put the balance toward the eradication of your debt. To ensure it will work, carefully consider all of the background information of the applicants to find someone with whom your values are compatible.
Get a Smaller Home
Downsizing can keep you in the same neighborhood for less money. Yes, your friends will notice the difference in your accommodations. They’ll notice the change in your demeanor when you’re freed of money worries too. Getting a smaller home will also give you a reason to sell things off, which will put even more cash at your disposal.
Get a More Affordable Ride
Cars are an area in which you can economize without cramping your style. If you’re currently driving a new BMW Z4 and it’s costing too much, trade it for an older Mercedes SL or another timelessly classic model you can get into for less money. Just be careful to ensure it’s in tiptop condition, otherwise, that trade could cost you more in maintenance expenses.
Credit Counseling and Debt Settlement
Credit counseling at a nonprofit agency is a good start to help you take stock of your financial situation. It may not be enough on its own if you’re facing serious debt.
If you’re at the point at which you’re missing payments and/or can’t afford to make minimum payments on your debts, consulting a debt settlement specialist like Freedom Debt Relief can help you find a path toward paying off your debt with dignity. In a lot of cases, they can negotiate with creditors on your behalf to get favorable settlements, which makes satisfying your obligations less painful.
Refocus Your Social Activities
If your socializing is currently focused around restaurants and bars, invite friends over for meals and drinks at home. Even if you make the meal yourself, you can spend far less than you would in a cool restaurant — for your meal alone.
Go to the movies on Tuesday, when tickets are discounted. Search sites like Goldstar and Groupon to find deals on recreational pursuits. Look for romantic ways to spend time with your significant other that don’t involve spending money at all. Go for walks in a forest or a park. Look for free concerts. Visit museums on their free nights.
Shop Consignment Stores
When you need something to wear for a dressy occasion, look into designer-oriented consignment shops rather than going straight to a retailer. You’ll come away with a higher quality garment for less money than you’d pay for something mediocre at a department store.
The same is true for home furnishings.
Along those same lines, if you have a closet full of clothing you no longer wear — or furniture you can live without — sell those pieces at a consignment store. If they’re rejected, donate them to the Salvation Army, or some other thrift that genuinely supports the needy. You can then write the value of those items off as charitable tax deduction.
While that approach won’t put cash immediately, in your pocket, it will reduce your tax liability, giving you more cash to put toward your debt down the road. Further, you can claim a higher value than you’d get selling on consignment.
Though it was somehow left off of the list of the seven dirty words you can’t say on television, “sacrifice” has about the same impact on your gut when you’re hit with the need to embrace it. Fortunately, though, these lifestyle changes you can make to pay off debt won’t knock you down for the count.