It’s true: you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect change. This is particularly true when it comes to paying back debt.
It’s been about one year since we started our debt-free journey – and let me tell you: it’s been a ride.
We’ve made a lot of progress. After starting with two credit cards, a car loan, a credit line and a student loan, we’re down to one outstanding debt.
Sure, that debt happens to be $47.5K of student loans that will take at least a few years to pay off but still. Our finances look very different today than they did this same time last year.
How did we get here? The short answer is by working hard and making sacrifices. That’s the thing about paying off debt: it does not happen by accident – and it cannot happen if you’re unwilling to make changes.
I wrote last month about the things I am not willing to give up on the debt free journey. Today, I’m sharing with you seven things I have given up to help us pay off our debt faster.
Things I’ve given up for the debt-free journey
This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some of the things I have given up to pay back our debt faster.
- Salon services every eight weeks
This was a big one for me. I have super curly hair that I spend a silly amount of money on. I used to go to the salon every eight weeks – and at about $140-$160 an appointment, that’s just not sustainable.
Unwilling to completely give this up, I compromised and now go about every 12-13 weeks instead. I also swapped my bright colours for a darker look, closer to my natural hair colour, which requires a lot less maintenance and keeps appointments closer to $140 (after tip).
I went through a phase where I loved having my nails done. Now, if I want to have painted nails, I do it myself at home. It doesn’t ever look as good (or last as long), but it’s significantly less expensive (and in most cases, free)!
- Buying books
There are some exceptions to this, of course, but I rarely buy books anymore. Instead, I do most of my reading through our local library via Overdrive! The best thing about Overdrive? It’s free – all you need is a library card. I also buy the occasional $0.99 eBook, but those are rare. Added bonus to doing most of my reading on a device: less clutter. And it means my bookshelf only contains books I absolutely love.
- Designer OTC meds
Private label varieties of ibuprofen and aspirin work just as well as brand products. Exception here is if the brand name is on cheaper than the private label option (a rarity).
- Accessories I won’t use
This includes purses, hair accessories and jewelry. Honestly, I have been using the same purse for about four years, I wear the same combination of jewelry every day, and my hair is either down or tied back with the one scrunchie I use. Buying more just creates clutter.
- Clothing I don’t love
It sucks looking at a closet full of clothes that don’t make you feel great. Today, I only buy clothes that fit and flatter. I don’t shop as much as I used to, but when I do, I look for items that work with my existing wardrobe. The more multi-functional an item is, the better!
- Excess items
This includes things like soaps, notebooks, candles…anything that we have plenty of already. The exception here is when there is a good sale on a discontinued item I love (that’s how we ended up with three extra sweet tobacco candles from Bath and Body Works).
Is it difficult to make lifestyle changes for the sake of paying off debt? Sometimes. But if I’m being honest, I haven’t really missed most of these things. Does that mean I’ll never spend money to have my nails done again? Not necessarily. For now, though, I’m committed to living like no one else today, so we can live like no one else later.
What items have you given up on the debt-free journey?