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How do YOU reduce debt and still enjoy a nice lifestyle?

Just wanted some ideas on how to begin moving in a better direction financially and still be able to maintain a nice lifestyle (shop occassionally, put my 2 year old through ballet, travel a little)

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MrsJStearns

Asked by MrsJStearns at 1:35 PM on Jan. 13, 2011 in Money & Work

Level 16 (2,706 Credits)
Answers (7)
  • Set a budget.....thats what me and DH had to do. We finaly made it so all of our bills get paid and we are well on our way out of debt. Also use your tax return to help pay some of the debt. Only spend what is in the budget on "extra" stuff such as ballet and vacations. If you dont have the money then then do get it. Its hard to know that you have a little money still on a card and to not spend it but dont. Get a lock box so you only use it in an emergency (car problems, ill family etc.) Me and DH were able to make it so that we have 100 "play money" for each of us and 100 to savings. This way everything gets paid and we still get to go out and have fun every now and then. Good luck I know its tough.
    Shelii

    Answer by Shelii at 1:39 PM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • I must say when DH and I got out of debt we didn't do a lot for the first year or so. We still let the kids do their sports and we would buy new clothes every once in a while. as for vacations we just went away somewhere close that wasn't to expensive or we would take day trips.

    The key for us was consolidating everything into one payment so even though that payment was a lot we weren't paying a lot of different places. Once you start getting it under control we stopped using credit cards, now we pay cash for everything.

    Good Luck!
    cornflakegirl3

    Answer by cornflakegirl3 at 1:40 PM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • IMO, having a nice lifestyle means having a lifestyle you can afford. Aside from cutting corners and clipping coupons, there is no magical prescription for this and there is no secret way to live a lifestyle you can't afford without going into debt. It is what it is and you simply have to live within your means. Right now my son is 3, so I forwent signing him up for classes and such. I'm putting every little extra I have into paying off bills because i know when he gets older he is really going to want to do those extra curricular activities. I can pay off my debts now so that later when it's his choice to participate I will be financially able to accomodate that.
    marshsmom

    Answer by marshsmom at 1:42 PM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • How you make it that happen (pay off debts still have "fun money"..) really depends on what your debt/income ratio is.. If that ratio is way off, meaning you have a whole lot of debt, not so large income, the likely hood of paying off debts and still having fun money becomes smaller.

    You can always begin by:
    1) Pay yourself first. A percentage of monthly income (or a set amount) goes into savings.
    2) Pay of highest interest debts first. Make larger monthly payments on highest interest debts, minimum (to slightly above) payments on the rest.
    3) As one debt gets paid off. Take the amount you were paying per month on that debt, and add that to the payments you are making on the next highest debt.. Occe it's paid off, add that payment to the next one until it's paid off.. And so on.
    4) Due your absolute best not to create any more debt.

    Good luck.. We have not had any debt in close to 15 years.. Being debt free is awesome!!!!
    pixie_trix

    Answer by pixie_trix at 1:43 PM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • BUDGETING!

    We are considered low income anyway, but we've always budgeted our money. We buy generic/store brand items as much as possible, use coupons when shopping, turn of electricity that's not in use (make sure to unplug them), Limit water use, reuse as much stuff as we can, to further lower costs of having to buy stuff like storage containers, etc. We shop at thrift stores for most things (except underwear, bras, etc.) I also take old clothes and create new ones with a sewing machine. People can't even tell, and are often asking where we got such great things from. We don't eat out much, and we use PPV cable when we want to watch a new release. There are many things you can do.
    NightPhoenix

    Answer by NightPhoenix at 1:48 PM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • Some of the most memorable times in my life didn't cost a thing. You just have to look at life in a non-materialistic way that doesn't cost money.


     

    musicmom08

    Answer by musicmom08 at 2:15 PM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • I agree budget.

    If you want to do fun things, you just need to put those in the budget.

    We're about six weeks away from being completely debt free. We did that buy cutting down lifestyle. For us that was worth it =) But we still did fun things. They just had to be in the budget first.
    Erica_Smerica

    Answer by Erica_Smerica at 7:12 PM on Jan. 13, 2011

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