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Live Comfortably Without Debt

Debt Advice

For some people, a lifestyle can only fall at one end of two extremes. On the one end, you have the indulgent life of excess. You lease all the latest cars, buy expensive clothes with credit cards, and have a larger house than you can really afford. Of course, unless you’re obscenely wealthy, this kind of lifestyle always leads to debt. On the other end of the spectrum, you might picture the debt-free as living like church mice, walking around in tattered clothes and eating ramen noodles as a special culinary treat. Realistically, the contrast is not quite as sharp. Living a frugal life free of debt does not have to mean 24/7 deprivation and squalor. You can sustain financial freedom and enjoy life in the process; it just takes a few adjustments in your behavior and thinking.

Shift Your Values

A life free of debt and financial worry doesn’t translate into a spending moratorium. You can still spend money when you live conservatively, but you have to spend it consciously on the right purchases. Granted, you may not be able to walk around with designer shoes and the highest-tech cell phone on the market. On the other hand, a life free of worry and financial burden is its own luxury. If you reexamine your values, you probably don’t really value designer goods and flashy vehicles all that much when you compare their worth to that of long-term financial security. You’d probably much rather have your creditors off your back, some money in the bank, and the prospect of a comfortable retirement on the horizon.

Small Sacrifices, Big Rewards

Most consumers could make drastic improvements in their debt with a few small sacrifices. Frugal living is not an extreme, all-or-nothing endeavor. You can strike a compromise. For example, almost everyone who has a job indulges in a cup of coffee or gourmet latte on the way to work and goes out to lunch every weekday. Cutting out seemingly insignificant expenses like these can really help, and they don’t tremendously alter your lifestyle. You are probably more than capable of brewing your own coffee each morning, and a brown-bag lunch, even if it’s just a few days each week, would not be the end of the world. You’re still enjoying a comparable standard of living, but you could save as much as hundreds each month.

Immediate Action

Though changing your financial habits is a long-term goal, there are a few things you can begin doing immediately to alter your spending behavior. For one, you might try to stop buying junk food, such as soda, candy, chips, pre-made snacks, and anything else high in refined sugar and low in nutrition. Aside from wreaking havoc on your waistline, these indulgences are costly and unnecessary. Who knows, you might even lose some weight along the way. Secondly, don’t dismiss the power of coupons when it comes to food shopping. The cost of food is on the rise, and every little bit counts. Take twenty minutes every week to clip out the coupons for the purchases you make most frequently. It may seem like a drop in the bucket at first, but you will be surprised at the eventual savings.

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