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A Debt Free Life

So, I’m going to be an adult soon. *waits for laughter to die down* and I figured there’s some things I need to sort out. One of those things is debt.

I came across this fabulous and inspiring blog.

I remember my first credit purchase. I think I was close to 19 and my mom’s birthday was coming up. A friend and I were hanging out, window shopping and came across this cute boutique. I love bags and I found a nice Mat & Nat bag I knew my mom would like. It was $100. I’m sure I justified it by saying it was her birthday and although I probably had the money on my debit I figured I may as well use my credit card. At the time I was still living at home, working full time, and pretty much rolling in dough (compared to now, haha). So mom got her lovely bag which she really liked and hey, after 5 years, I’m happy to see it’s still in one piece and she still uses it. I count that one as more of an investment.

Now I’ve never gone too crazy with my credit but moving out on your own, balancing school and work, credit cards can become a crutch and not a very steady one. Sure there’s money readily available but a) it’s borrowed and b) it comes at a cost. Plus, if you don’t have the money at the time to pay for it, and you don’t know when you’ll have the money later to pay for it, you’re digging yourself a very unpleasant hole.

After finishing school in July I was able to work for a solid month before heading back home for the wedding. On my return I was back to working full time and I managed to pay off a credit card. I was super jazzed about that. And now I’m here to finish the deal and get out of that credit hole so that the money I make is money I keep.

I’ve actually been really conscious these past couple of years about the money that’s leaving my account. Some things I cut out were:

1) Cable – The first year and a half I lived on my own cable was included in the rent. It was great. After that though it was up to us and I wasn’t really down with that. Earlier this year we caved (we had just bought a 32″ TV with our security deposit and rent was super cheap so we figured why not). So not worth it. I found myself watching a TV show and watching the same episode later in the week because ‘there’s nothing else on’. Then we realized we were paying how much to watch the same lame crap? Plus the base cable package had a really poor selection of channels. So that was out. Plus the computer is your best friend for TV nowadays. And no commercials thanks.

2) Gym membership – I was paying $32/month for the gym, which isn’t bad really but that worked out to around $1/day and $384/year. The gym’s great but I get just as great a workout running outside or doing workout videos indoors. In my current place I have a good 12 feet between the living room and dining room that houses the yoga mat/free weights/medicine ball and exercise ball. Now if I want to go gym with my friend it’s $3 (if you go between 6:30-7:30am) and $6 otherwise. But then I’m making a conscious decision to pay to workout. Pay-as-you-go. Way better.

3) Dining out – this can mostly be contributed to no longer living downtown. When we lived downtown we had our favourite restaurants on speed-dial. We had a little collection of take-out menus and when it came time for dinner we debated between sushi, pasta or chimichangas. That added up for sure. Now, we’re in walking distance but not in the thick of it and we’re far less likely to make a trip downtown for a meal.

If you’re looking to get yourself out of debt here’s a good starting point. This girl was successful in clearing her debt by going on a ‘Spending Fast’. It’s inspiring. I want to be clear of all that debt business by my 25th birthday. I’ve got 6 months. Thankfully I don’t have too much debt. And by that I mean I’m not counting my student loans *shudder*. After clearing my credit I feel I will be better equipped/more sane to tackle my student loans.

I am aware that purchase like a car or home will be a new debt but at this point in my life, which is fairly simplified, I’m aware that I am capable of living a debt free life which will enable me to save for these future purchases and that’s a great step in the right direction.

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