Just a few years ago I had over $20k personal debt. This was a combination of impulse credit card spending, excessive loans, and bad financial habits. I spent way more than I made, and I usually spent money before I even got paid.
When I hired a coach, we created a game to bring my awareness to what I was spending, and ultimately create a habit for aggressive saving. I’ll show you the game I used to pay that entire amount off in under 2 years in a few moments. It’s fun, liberating, and easy.
Debt is a super dark demon that will enslave you for the entirety of your life if you don’t defeat it. I watch family members, friends, and the majority of the American population get ass-pounded by interest rates, loan stacking, and the want-economy just like I did for most of my life. It’s no fun, even if you are into ass-pounding. It’s a very dark hole that stinks to be in. (Pun possibly intended)
No matter who is in the debt pit, there is only 1 way out.
You have to PULL OUT! To do this, you have to TAKE ACTION. (Pun also possibly intended)
Jokes and pokes aside, if you are reading this, chances are you have some sort of interest in paying off debt or creating savings. Both of these actions will directly result in more freedom for your lifestyle, no matter what situation you are in.
I think the biggest turn-off about financial terms like “paying off debt” and “saving money” is the idea that you can’t have fun or enjoy life anymore. People tend to picture themselves holed up in a dungeon without human contact, licking rice and beans off the floor. They favor spending because they think it’s the only thing that is exciting. It’s great to go slam some beers with friends, experience cultural foods, and rage out to some karaoke at 2am, but it’s also not the only way to have fun.
The common debt perception problem looks like this:
Destroying Debt + Saving Money < Temporary Experiences
People favor temporary experiences over their financial situation. I did it for most of my life! How about you?
It’s easy to go blow money because it feels good and the experiences are cool. But, we often forget that when we remove debt from the equation, we can afford way more experiences. We can actually turn life into one huge incredible experience- a permanent experience.
Let’s re-frame the perception:
Destroying Debt + Saving Money = Permanent Experiences + Freedom
The benefit of paying off debt and building a savings fund far outweighs the benefit of momentary indulgences and entertainments. When you bring your awareness to the ways you are spending money and strengthen your personal habits to defeat the debt gremlin army, you can then use the money to continuously invest in your freedom empire.
Once you are free from the evil debt gremlin force, you can then indulge in the experiences of your dreams, all while knowing you can afford it.
You know that feeling you get when you make the last payment on a loan, or you get a raise, or something good shifts in your favor in the world of finances? It’s a FUN feeling, and a really GOOD feeling. And, it comes not with spending, but with paying off debt.
Jacqueline and I wanted to create a FUN, easy system for setting a savings goal, tracking it, and then using that money to slaughter debt gremlins.
Using this system, I was able to save over $15k in less than a year, which eventually turned into me paying off over $20k debt in under 2 years.
Check out the video below for the exact system I used to get rid of my debt!
To be brief, all you have to do is:
- Set your savings target/goal
- Add items you have saved on to your spreadsheet
- Log the $ amount for what you saved
- Transfer the amount you saved out of your checking account to a savings, or directly use it to pay down your loans.
Once you have your goal set, you can start logging areas where you are saving money. As you start stacking a savings, you will get an insanely good feeling and your momentum will keep you rolling. You’ll start to become aware of opportunities to save and/or make money that you never would have identified before. As you get better at this, your savings will only grow.
For me, I transferred all of my savings at the end of each week from my checking account to a savings account. I also used the money to immediately pay down loans and save on interest. Eventually, all of my loans were paid off, and my spending habits were optimized. I was debt free in less than 2 years.
I’m starting a new savings campaign for the next year, so I wanted to share this with you to get some accountability partnerships rolling.
At first, it may seem a little hard to get ideas of how to save, especially if your bills are really tight with the amount of money you are bringing in. To help, I’ve put together a quick list of possible areas to save in:
Ideas for saving money and cutting costs:
- Commute, ride your bike, or walk (move the $ of gas you would have spent over to your savings)
- Pay into your loans or credit cards first (move the $ you would paid in interested over to your savings)
- Sell all items that aren’t of absolute value to you. Collecting is costing you money and freedom.
- Do a subscription Audit (move the reoccurring $ from the subscriptions you cancel to your savings each month – cable tv, netflix, magazines, etc)
- Smart grocery spending – Create a list before you go based on $ budget and stick to it (average food cost for family of 4 is $944/m) – Water, rice, beans, noodles, chicken, bananas, potatoes, apples, eggs, almonds, bananas, peanut/almond butter, squash, stir-fried veggies w/ basic amino acids, giant casseroles and food prep. Try to get bulk discount codes from manufacturers for items you consume the most. (Move the difference in spending over to your savings each month)
- Consider finding a more economical cell phone plan
- Treat boredom w/ body activities: Exercise, go to Parks, read, volunteer, get a part-time job to learn a new trade, etc. (Log the $ of what you would have spent if you were doing something else and move it to your savings)
- If you HAVE to buy something, use gift card discounts sites and cash-back rebate sites. Raise.com is a great gift card rebate site. CashbackMonitor.com is awesome for % rebates on your purchase. (Add up any savings from use and move the amount to your savings account)
- Cut club memberships that you aren’t using.
- Create a side hustle (Check out Chris Guillebeau’s Side Hustle School – SideHustleSchool.com)
- Create a garden or herb box (add what you would have spent on vegetables to your savings)
- Use public libraries to work instead of coffee shops and take your own hot tea or coffee in a canteen. (Move the $ you would have spent on tea/coffee to your savings)
- Create home remedies (like cleaning supplies with vinegar)
- Save on domains and other items by searching google or discount sites
I hope these ideas help you get started, and I’d love to hear about your progress. If you are interested in creating habits to strengthen your focus and mindset so you can manifest total freedom (not just financial), then check out the Sweet Ass Journal to Develop Your Happiness Muscle in 100 Days.
Destroying Debt + Saving Money = Permanent Experiences + Freedom