I’m sure you know of someone who seems to have been able to tons of debt, their student loans, reduced monthly payments, credit cards debt and so much more.
If you don’t know anyone who has done that, I’m sure you’ve seen all over the internet about how “so and so saved thousands by doing this one thing” or “this person paid off six digits worth of debt this way”, sound familiar?
I’m by no means a finance guru, but I think a lot of the time we live, included myself, well beyond our means and this “trap” I call it of financial stress can eventually lead to freedom by changing some lifestyle habits.
I don’t love the idea of New Year’s resolutions, but I do think after the busy holidays that it’s good to set some goals for the upcoming new year.
There are some bloggers that have financial backgrounds and I’ve gathered some habits that they talk about which really stood out to me.
The purpose of this post is to give your hope and inspiration to help you move towards a more financially stress free future.
These tips aren’t hard, you don’t have to have double income or even make a ton, they are key points that everybody can do to save a ton and pay off debt.
1. Reduce unneeded payments
This will sound so obvious, but are there any payments you may not want to but could reduce?
An example is going from 2 car payments down to one. That will literally allow you to save a few hundred dollars a month!
If it means sharing 1 car for the family, not having Netflix for a while or any other payment you really can live without, then it’s worth it to give up some comforts to have that extra money isn’t it?
2. Communication & Responsibility
There’s no other perfect way to get in over your head in debt when everyone in the family, even if it’s a family of two, ends up making their own decisions without communicating to one another.
When everyone has no idea when bills are coming out, who spent what on which item then it’s super easy to not know where all the money is going and makes it very hard to find a way to get out of it.
Being responsible by being on the same page with everyone is such a simple solution that gets over looked.
So make sure you have your priorities in a row and that everyone knows the budget. You will be on your way to financial freedom before you know it!
3. Live less then what you make
People that live less then their means don’t have debt, it’s as simple as that. If your satisfied with what you have, your not constantly buying the latest gadget or living a flashy life, then you’ll notice your savings increase by a ton.
As your savings grow, you will be able to afford that new TV or upgrade your wardrobe, but don’t try and do it when you barely can pay your bills.
Living less then your means doesn’t mean you can never purchase nice things, it’s a change in habit in order to allow you to increase your savings and reduce debt.
4. Nip the cards
This tip many of you will not like, I admit I don’t even like the sound of it, but it really works.
Think about how easy it is to “tap” your card or how easy it is to swipe your credit card?
People that live debt free don’t have cards believe it or not. They may have a credit card only used to build credit which is fine, but that goes hand in hand with one of my last points about being responsible. So having someone that is holding each other accountable to make sure the credit card doesn’t get over used.
You will notice such a huge difference if you get rid of your cards because it’s all those little purchases through the drive thru, the coffee, the snacks and so much more that add up. How do you pay for things you may ask, this leads me to my next point.
5. Use cash only
So instead of using all your cards, take out cash for each week and place them in envelopes. I talk about the envelope system here.
If you just have that cash you took out and no cards, you won’t be able to spend anything more then what your supposed to.
It’s hard at first, but it seriously makes such a huge difference and you won’t want to go back to how you were living before
Another tip that seems obvious, but seriously think about it this way, if you take a percentage of your income and put that into savings instead of spending it, you’ll save a ton over time. Another saving tip a lot of debt free people do, is find other ways to save like using coupons, cutting out unnecessary expenses like I talked about in my first tip. They look for ways to have fun for less and are constantly looking for ways to save.
7. Make long-term goals
Another tip from debt free people is to make long-term goals. I don’t mean unattainable ridiculous goals, no. I am talking about realistic goals that anyone can achieve.
The decisions you make today will effect your future so try and live today for the sake of your future plans.
Get a white board or write somewhere a list of goals. Start with a 1 year goal plan, then 3, 5 then 10. It’s however you want to do it but make a list of things you want to achieve within that time frame.
An example of this is:
1. Only use one car – sell vehicle
2. Pay off credit cards, then cut them up – use Christmas bonus or income tax cheque
3. Go on a vacation – set aside 20$ a week
Take some time and write out a list of goals like this and how you are going to make these goals come to life in the new year!
Make a vision board with pictures of places you want to see, how much you want to see in your bank, what you want your life to appear like.
You can learn how to make a vision board here
8. Hang around like-minded people
Now I’m not saying ditch those friends who live paycheck to paycheck, spend a lot of their money on things they don’t need and the list could go on.
I am saying however, to be cautious about how people like that are influencing you. If you need to take a break from friends like that for a while in order to get train yourself how to save money, then do so.
Friends will be understanding, or should be if they are true friends.
We pick up traits from our friendships, we get comfortable with a certain lifestyle like that of our friends and the truth is everyone’s situation is different from their monthly income to their debts.
So on that same note, you may need to distance yourself from your friends that make way more then you and can live an extravagant lifestyle. If you don’t make the same you can’t pressure yourself to try and keep up with their lifestyle.
We all have to go at our own pace, so if it means altering how often you spend time with certain people, then that is a sacrifice you will have to make but every person debt free says it’s a great decision, one you won’t regret.
9. You don’t always have to say “yes”
This tip branches off from the last one I shared. You don’t always have to say “yes” when your friends ask you to go for drinks Thursday night, or when they ask you to go out for diner Friday night, the movies Saturday and brunch on Sunday. No!
As tempting as it is, this is another trap that allows us to spend well over what we can.
I struggled with this one and made it a goal for myself to not go out as much with friends.
Instead, have tea at a friends for free, watch a movie, play a board game, play a video game or chat. Find alternative activities to do and again, if they are friends, they will definitely understand you.
This doesn’t mean you can’t ever do fun things with friends, but until such time your debts are paid off and your savings have increased then your going to have to make some sacrifices.
10. Patience is key
We live in a society that expects instant gratification am I right?
Think about it, we never have to wait on anything, even ordering online we don’t have to wait long at all anymore.
We can order coffee right from our phones, we can order food instantly to our homes, we can even order groceries now.
All debt-free people have patience and they learn self-control.
For example, if they want a better TV like a smart TV, instead of using a credit card to get it instantly, or taking out a small loan they save for it.
It sounds boring and such a lengthy process, but it’s how people save money. It’s easy to train your mind to not be an impulse buyer by simply not buying something if you don’t have the money.
So ask yourself next time, without a loan or credit cards, can I actually afford to buy this item?
If the answer is no, then don’t get it.
Set aside a certain amount of money each month until you can get it.
It honestly feels so much more satisfying when you know how hard it was to save and now you can finally get that item you’ve been waiting for.
I hope some of these tips inspired you and allowed you to see how easy it is for you to save money this year.
The fact that there are so many success stories of people that saved a ton of money is proof that these tips really do work.
With a few lifestyle changes you can be on your way to financial freedom in no time at all.
Get really serious about saving money by creating a budget binder!
I vaguely talk about my budget binder that I created here.
It’s a wonderful way to organize your finances monthly.
You can organize your budget envelopes, your finances, what is spent, what needs to be spent, you can create a savings goal and more.
You can find awesome printouts like this for free or for a very small fee here.
Pin it for later!
What kind of tips can you implement right now?
What will be your 1 year goal from now?