Not everyone is racking up debt these days, some people are taking the opposite approach by embracing extreme saving. Many people are opening their eyes to the relationship between their stress levels and their debt and are choosing to lower their stress by reducing or even eliminating their debt. Many of these now “super savers” were recently super spenders, until they hit rock bottom and realized that they needed to stop over spending and start saving the way their parents and grandparents did. When you wake up one morning and find you are $25,000 in debt from loans, all your credit cards are maxed out, you have less than $100 in your bank account and just tried to borrow money from a friend (again), something has to change.
Most people can eliminate their debt in 2 years by creating a realistic budget and sticking with it. Becoming a Super Saver goes beyond paying off your debt, it becomes a new lifestyle. A great starting point is de-cluttering our lives. Have you ever rummaged through a drawer to find something you haven’t seen or used in years? How about your closet? The basic rule is if you haven’t worn it in 2 years it’s time to give it away. You should go through your closets seasonally and get rid of anything you really don’t wear. Grab a box and start loading it with little things around your home that are of no use to you anymore (if they ever were) and enjoy the empowerment that comes with de-cluttering, the feeling that you can live with less and be happier for it.
You could consider a 1 year shopping ban where you buy only the necessities. Make a list of banned purchases such as: books, shoes, coffee on the go, electronics, furniture and even plastic wrap. Make your coffee at home and take it with you, get your books from the library and use Tupperware. Stick to free form socializing, avoid restaurants and try out some free activities like hiking and beach combing. Living with less could easily add up to saving 30% of your income. It’s really about lifestyle and not thinking you need to spend money and buy stuff to make you happy when really, less clutter and more money in your bank will always be more satisfying than carrying un-necessary debt.
Value your Spending
Get excited about paying down/off your debt. Even young families can pay off the mortgage and still save for a rainy day by living frugally. Stretch those dollars by delaying gratification. Make any purchase over $30 go through a 1- week waiting period and then decide if you really still need it. Make a weekly date night for a dinner out, something easy and in-expensive to get a break from cooking. Self-serve restaurants are a great way to save money and still get a night off for under $10 each person.
Monitor your grocery bill and use coupons. Use a list, don’t over buy; use what is already in your cupboards and add only what you need when you hit the grocery store. Leave the kids at home if possible. Keep your receipts for houseware purchases. Most retailers like Canadian Tire, have a policy that will honor any discount if you buy first and then your item goes on sale later.
Rainy days will come; Be prepared. De-clutter your home and your life and become a Super Saver and you will always be prepared for rainy days. You can decide now that you are in Control of your finances, not the other way around. Make a few small changes and relish in your results!
“The Greatest Wealth is to Learn to live with Little” Plato