When it comes to saving time and money, everyone has their own little rituals and tricks that work for them. Whether you clip coupons to save money or pre-pack your gym bag and keep it by the door to save time, you’ve surely got a couple of these rituals yourself. Surely everyone shares some of these habits – they’re pretty commonplace.
What about the more fringe time or money savers, though? I’m not talking about re-using paper towels or renting your dog out as a clown (talk about frugal horror stories!), but what about never buying kids’ clothing from department stores? Ever considered raising worms to recycle your produce and make some top-quality fertilizer? Does it get weirder? Read on to find out some of our best-kept secrets for saving time and money and please note that the links below may be affiliate links, which means I could earn commission should you click through to make a purchase.
Unique and Interesting Ways to Save Your Family Money
Create an easy meal plan
Creating a meal plan is of course one the best ways to save time and money, but you can take it one step further by stacking the meals together so that one rolls into another. Monday evening roast a whole chicken with potatoes and onions, maybe some carrots and then use the leftovers. How, you might ask? Simple! Prep the leftover meat for enchiladas or fajitas the next day, and then take the leftovers and make bone broth. With a little pasta and some veggies, that’s 3 meals from one chicken.
Meal plan stacking is taking one great meal that has leftovers and making another great meal from them. Did you have shrimp tacos for dinner Tuesday? Make gumbo on Wednesday. Big pot roast with tons of leftovers? Toss it into the crock pot with some adobe seasoning and peppers, and have carnitas the next night. It will save you money and time AND be delicious!
Vinegar has literally dozens of household uses, and at about $2/gallon, it is one of the best investments you can keep under your sink.
Of course you can use vinegar in cooking but if you take an empty spray bottle and fill it with 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water and add some citrus peel or tea tree oil, you’ll have a cheap, incredibly effective cleaner and disinfectant. Most of what you’d buy in the store is about 5% acetic acid (white vinegar), which will kill most germs, but if you really want to be sure, you can look for something a bit more powerful. Health food and green living stores will often sell stronger vinegar.
Cleaning fruit with vinegar is also a great way to remove the waxy grossness from apples and a lot of the pesticide residue from both apples and strawberries. Considering both the aforementioned fruits routinely make it on the dirty dozen list for most contaminated foods, giving them a quick wash in a 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar solution can really decrease the pesticides your family ingests. Vinegar will also help your strawberries stay fresh longer!
Invest in a Water Cooler
We bought a water cooler when we had our son because we wanted an easy source of distilled water. Flash forward four years and we’re still using it daily.
We did the math and the water cooler was cheaper over the expected two years of needing bottles than filters for a faucet-mounted system. The trick is after using the jugs (we bought them at Lowes), instead of swapping them out for new filled ones ( at $6.99/apiece!) we disinfect them with vinegar and refill them at about .25c/gallon at a local grocery store.
The cooler we bought also has a tap for hot water, which makes it great when I’m in need of my daily matcha tea fix or just a nice cup of chamomile before bed!
Make Notes on Your Food
This one sounds ridiculous, but consider the number of times you look at something in the fridge and simply can’t remember when you cooked/opened/bought it. We realized we were throwing out stuff that might still be good, so we bought a Sharpie specifically for the kitchen. We glued a magnet to it so it sticks to the fridge and whenever we have leftovers or open a container, we date it. This makes sure we know when things are still good and when we should actually toss them.
Because my husband follows a keto diet, we also tend to have at least three containers of heavy cream in our fridge at any given time. It can be incredibly frustrating to have to open two containers only to realize its the third one that’s already open. It’s a simple thing, but marking the cap with an “O” really helps save time each and every day!
Vermiculture – Yes, We’re Talking Worm Farming!
If you’re unfamiliar with vermiculture, you’re likely not alone. It’s a fancy word for “worm farming” and it’s a really interesting way to reduce your food waste. It’s surprisingly simple to raise worms, and though they’re not cute and cuddly, they DO provide some fantastic benefits for growing your own garden.
Essentially the worms break down organic waste like apple cores, vegetable scraps, etc. into nutrient-rich castings which you can use as a fertilizer. They also produce a sort of waste fluid called “worm tea” that is a wonderful addition to plants, making them healthier and more vibrant.
We set up our worm farm using a couple totes, but you can also buy relatively inexpensive ones online if you don’t have the desire to DIY.
Vermiculture is great because it helps you reduce your food waste while also making your garden significantly healthier, and if you don’t already garden, it’s a nice extra bit of encouragement.
Toilet Paper Tube Projects
Got some kids stuck in the house all day with nothing to do? Toss some art supplies at them and give them toilet paper tubes!
Ok, maybe that alone won’t help, but toilet paper tubes are very versatile pieces of cardboard. Some ideas include:
Poke two holes in the top (opposite each other) and run a string or piece of yarn through them. Smear peanut butter around the outside of the tube and then roll them in birdseed, and voila! You have a quick, simple bird feeder that will absolutely attract some feathered friends to your yard.
Decorate the outside of one by gluing on a strip of leftover fabric and use it to hold your excess extension cords, or when you store them!
Fold the undersides in at one end and fill them with soil, and use them as seed starters in the late winter to get a jump start on that garden!
Stuff them with dryer lint to use as campfire starters!
Use your imagination for a variety of artistic endeavors – their shape lends itself well to making candle holders, for instance. With some interesting decorations you can have a spooky candle holder for Halloween, a cheery one for Christmas, or a turkey for Thanksgiving. Of course use battery operated candles!
Encourage your children to use their imaginations and you’ll be surprised at what they’ll come up with. My kids love to create monsters with lots of googly eyes, of course!
As long as we’ve had kids, we have been very intentional about buying presents and clothing ahead of time. Every time we’re at a garage sale, if we see something that will fit them, we typically pick it up if the price is right. I’m honestly not sure if our kids have ever had brand-new shoes, and that’s 100% fine with us.
If you have kids, trust me – you will WANT to sell all the clothes you get, and you’ll feel WAY less bad about selling them for .50c apiece if you bought them for .50c apiece.
The “Present Tote”
Another way we make use of garage sales though is by taking a look at what toys and games our kids might eventually like. When they’re really little this is especially easy, but basically just buy up any cool toys or games you see that are super cheap, and store them in a “future presents tote“. For instance, we found about $50 of Play-doh toys and accessories for $5 a garage sale, and it happens that our kids love the stuff. Boom, big Christmas gift, bought and paid-for.
While you shouldn’t just buy anything all the time “because it’s on sale”, if you get a really good bargain on something you know your children will love, it will save you money in the long run.
The single biggest time saver (and mind saver) you can invest your energy in is to avoid multitasking. Multitasking simply doesn’t work! There may be a few exceptions to the rule, but we’re essentially single-core processing units; undivided attention to a single task proves much better results than trying to do multiple things at once. Not only will you have better results, you’ll also get it done faster and more accurately, and then you can move onto the next task with undivided attention!
Make Use of In-Store Pick-Up
This one is two-fold — first of all, using in-store pick-up will help you avoid impulse purchases while also better ensuring you don’t forget something on your list because you’re too busy minding the kids to remember you need dish soap. It’s also a huge time saver, but did you know it can also save you money? Whenever you do in-store pick-up, check with Ebates first and you may very well earn a percentage back on your purchases (meaning FREE money!!)
Using Gift Cards through Ebates
Speaking of Ebates, this is a great way to stack up your savings.
If you know ahead of time that you’ll be shopping at a certain retailer, be on the lookout for discounted gift cards through sites like Raise.com. Even if you don’t do a lot of online shopping, be sure to check out Raise.com – if you know you spend money on a regular basis somewhere (like a certain gas station!), why not buy gift cards for yourself and save even more?
For example, I recently purchased a $50 Sears Gift Card for $41.90. Then I made a purchase through Ebates for $53, using mainly that gift card and earning myself a nice $4.24 back. So instead of spending the full $53, I’m actually only looking at a total deficit of $37.66 – a savings of nearly 30% and that’s just on one purchase!
Sign up via my referral link for Ebates and you’ll earn an extra $10 back on your first purchase! Worried about a catch? There is NONE! Check out my Ebates review to learn more.
Use Bubble Wrap on Windows
Seems silly, yeah? Heh or maybe you’re like me and think it just seems fun! When I first heard about this trick, I was skeptical. I’m a fan of using shrinkwrap packs to insulate my home against the winter cold, but when you have bubblewrap for free thanks to holiday packages, I figured I’d give it a shot…and it worked! Click to learn more about how to use bubblewrap on your windows as insulation.
Winterize Your Home: The Bubblewrap Method
No Inside-Out Clothing!
This one might seem a little neurotic but I consistently demand that no one throw inside out clothing into the wash. While it might only take two seconds to flip the clothing right-side out, those seconds certainly add up when you have to do it as you’re folding an entire load. Make laundry easier by asking your family to right their clothing before it goes into the wash.
Click to read more laundry hacks!
It’s not secret that we love Aldi, and one of the things we love is that they drastically mark down their meat when it’s close to the “sell-by” date. Without getting into food waste politics and such, I will say that food doesn’t magically become inedible when it’s passed it’s “sell-by” date.
When you see great prices on food at your grocer, pick it up and freeze it, or work it into your current meal plan. Obviously use common sense when it comes to food, but don’t consider food automatically spoiled just because it’s 12 hours past the sell-by date.
Invest in Amazon Prime
One of the best ways to save time and money is to shop online. I do believe in shopping local whenever possible (particularly at our Farmer’s Markets) but I’m a work-at-home mom with two very young children – I’m lucky if I remember to brush my hair every day, let alone have the stamina to leave the house. Amazon’s reach is wide, and it makes getting what we need fast and affordable. Prime does that to the next level – offering free 2-day shipping on almost anything you buy from Amazon is a huge deal. The price is $99/year if you elect to enroll annually, or $12.99/month, and while that might seem steep, it does offer a great amount of discounts, including the free 2-day shipping which will pay for itself. You can check it out for yourself with this free 30-day trial!
What are some weird ways YOU save time and/or money?
Overwhelmed by health insurance options? For Americans, few things conjure the financial dread of an unexpected hospital or doctor’s visit because let’s be real – even with insurance it can be painfully expensive.
Getting your financial life in order does not mean that you should ignore your health, something that could be far more costly in the long run. That said, with the future of healthcare and insurance so up in the air right now, the fear regarding this facet of American life has probably never been more heightened, but don’t fret!
This list, while only a mere starting point, can help you identify some of your options when it comes to healthcare and ideally keep you from over/underpaying to keep yourself (and your family) protected.
Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare – What’s the difference?
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. If you don’t earn much money, you can qualify for one or more of these programs. They’re designed to assist the most vulnerable members of our society; Medicaid and CHIP for lower income families and families with children respectively, and Medicare for seniors.
Medicaid is a state-run program and the rules that govern the program can vary a bit state-to-state. The criteria for qualification is established by your state legislature, so you can check your state government website to find out more about income criteria. For most, it’s being under ~115% of the poverty level.
Here in Illinois that’s about $1,337 a month, but the Affordable Care Act expanded those mandates – people ages 19-64 who have income less than 138% of the federal poverty level are eligible. Again, that’s about $1,350 as an individual or $1,845 as a couple.
The coverage also differs, with various co-insurances, copays, deductibles, and premiums based on your income level, but it prevents you from going bankrupt from medical expenses. Many people won’t pay much of anything, so it’s a very good option when you’re getting back on your feet, financially.
CHIP is the same as Medicaid in terms of criteria being based on income, but it expands coverage significantly for people with children (Children’s Health Insurance Program).
Medicare is a program open to Americans aged 65 years or older, people with certain disabilities under the age of 65, and everyone who has end-stage renal failure or ALS. Like Medicaid, this program covers certain things more or less, depending on the level of coverage you want. Premiums and deductibles also change.
The enrollment for all of these programs has been simplified (to an extent) with the introduction of www.healthcare.gov, following the introduction of the ACA. You can go to that site and look up your specific state, determining if you qualify for any of the above programs. They’re not completely on-par with many private insurers, but can be better in some cases, depending on your income level.
Free Clinics & Teaching Hospitals
Many cities – particularly larger ones – have teaching hospitals with free clinics. These are a great place to get checked out without spending much or any money. Most don’t even check income levels – you simply sign in and wait to be seen.
The problems that arise from these clinics is that they are often understaffed or inundated with patients. If you yourself have the patience to wait, however, you can be seen essentially for free, but you may not be seen as thoroughly as you need to be. So be mindful that a free clinic may seem great, but it’s not necessarily a great choice unless it’s the only choice.
Thought not exactly medical, some cities also have teaching clinics for dentistry, where you can get very low cost cleanings, fillings, etc done. Again, it’s a waiting game, but it may be better than paying all your savings for a cavity, or worse, not getting the care you need.
Many hospitals – particularly religiously affiliated ones – offer a program called “Charity Care” or something similar. Essentially, you need to prove financial burden or sufficiently low income, and they will pay off some or all of your bills.
Quick story here – When my husband and I first started dating (like maybe four dates in), he sent me a text at 3am saying “You probably won’t want to date me anymore…”
Yeah, anyone else thinking he cheated? Because I did. And I lost it. Like what the hey, we JUST started dating and you’re already cheating??!
Oh. But no…
He had a blood pressure issue and passed out at a friend’s house, concussing himself on the way down. Unfortunately, his insurance had lapsed, because he’d just graduated college two days prior. The ER bill total was around $3,500 – a bill that was pretty insurmountable for a guy working at a sandwich shop with no insurance. He spoke to the financial services department and got the bill reduced substantially, and fortunately was able to pay the rest of it off with no problems.
Along the lines of #3, many hospitals are very willing to work with you on your bills, provided you contact them as soon as possible after the services. Solutions include bill reduction, payment plans (some will take anything over $10/month, no matter the size of the bill), or temporary forbearance of the bill for a period of time. Failing everything else, this is almost always going to work in some way to alleviate the burden of a huge bill all at once, so don’t hesitate out of fear. The longer you put off talking to them, the harder it’ll be to reach a deal that benefits you both.
This goes back to #1, because the same website – www.healthcare.gov – that you use to qualify for Medicaid will also bring you to the exchanges if you make over the Medicaid limit. The exchanges are set up to offer a premium discount on the insurance you end up buying.
The amount is, once again, dependent on your income. The issue here, however, is the exchanges appear to have a rather sizeable blind spot; for a single person without children, income amounts between around $18,000/year and $29,000 a year don’t get any assistance. Under that amount, and you probably qualify for Medicaid. Over it, you get the premium assistance. It’s frustrating at times, but it’s another tool to ensure that you’re insured, and the premium assistance is actually pretty significant – typically at least half.
Because of the ACA, most colleges – particularly state colleges – have started mandating that their students are covered by some level of insurance. Because of this, those same colleges usually offer student insurance at a significantly reduced rate.
For instance, a local University’s plan looks like this:
Blue Cross Blue Shield
~ $110/month premium
They pay 80% after your deductible is met and they only require copay on prescriptions
This is incredible coverage, even if the price were doubled. The only caveat is you need to be taking at least 1 credit hour of on-campus classes, but one credit + the cost of insurance would still only be about $210/month.
Enrollment is automatic, and even with class fees and tuition, you’re still possibly looking at less total cost than healthcare on the exchanges, depending on your situation. In addition, if you’re already going to college, it’s totally worth it in most cases to be enrolled in the student insurance (unless you’re still under your parent’s plan).
Along the lines of charity cares specific to a hospital, local charities often help pay difficult medical bills for families in need. Check with local churches, and often food banks or crisis/domestic violence care centers will have contact information. Again, this is more of an “emergency” sort of situation, but it’s worth asking if you need the help.
Health shares are newer programs that are typically structured around faith communities. In it, people share the cost of medical procedures across a very large group. This creates a scenario where someone will be covered for anything because everyone pays into the pool, and everyone benefits. These are typically tied to Christian communities, but if you’ve got the option, they may be great for you.
Living frugal means living healthy!
Medicine is about helping people, not bankrupting them. Without going into a broader, more convoluted conversation, let me just say that health insurance shouldn’t be as intimidating as it is. We all deserve the opportunity to make healthy choices and see a doctor when needed. And as I said, I know this list is just a small dip into the world of health insurance, but hopefully it’ll help you get started on making better choices today.
Do you find making health insurance choices overwhelming?
Sound off in the comments below and let me know what you think!
Every day more and more people begin the adventure that is working from home. While I’d never say it’s “easy money” getting started doesn’t have to be a huge investment (of time or money!) When I first got started as a blogger, I found all sorts of different ways to make money online so that I could eventually invest in the tools needed tolaunch an e-course and today we’ve got Alexe Chasanov to share with us a few of her favorite ways to work online and make extra income from home.
Affiliate marketing is an easy job and a source of easy money. It said to be the art of promoting or advertising a companies’ product with the main goal of having a percent share in every product sold.
It is a stress-free job that you can look for online. Amazon is a site where you can find a job as an affiliate marketer. There are some guides on the internet how to sell products on Amazon. In selling a product on a network, remember that you have to be sure and settled about your choice of brand and after that join the affiliate network in order for you to sell more. Promote your ID and stay online, the affiliate gives you a link alongside your ID once you join the network. When they are checking through your link, then click and buy the product, and that’s it, you will automatically get a commission and earn.
One of the coolest ways to earn money online is by starting a blog. Be sure to keep on updating your blog site with interesting topics and latest happenings. If you are able to do it right, your blog will surely generate hundreds of viewers, and that will be the time you’ll start earning money out of it. If you are able to generate enough number of people, you can also incorporate affiliate marketing by using your own website instead of using Amazon or any other related sites.
In doing this, you will earn money easily plus you do not have to work under pressure with someone who bosses you around. But remember, it is not that easy as it sounds as problems may arise due to competitors and the customer’s method of payment. And there are so many things you have to learn if you just started as a blogger, you have to familiarize yourself with the systems and the things you can and you can’t. Blogging is indeed a cool way of making money online while being comfortable in your home.
Work From Home Ideas You Can Start Today
Content writing can be an easy task if you do it with passion and if it is a product of your pure fancy. You can write an article related to any topic as long as you clearly know how to present ideas and efficiently use your experiences in writing as a freelancer. This job is highly in demand especially for businesses around the web, and you are lucky because there are a lot of different clients who need your service for their business and brands.
Writing articles related to random topics can help you in making money online. Here, you will be paid based on the number of words you used or based on the level of your writing skills. Content writing only needs your focused attention, a good reading habit, and hard work. But another challenging part of this kind job is balancing your time, trying to ignore distractions, and meeting the deadlines. If you have a strong passion for writing and you are simply good at expressing ideas, content writing is the best cool way for you to make money online from the comfort of your home.
A virtual assistant must be good in managing time, making a schedule, preparing online meetings, and planning. One must have strong communication skills that can be used in customer service duties, answering calls, and responding to emails. A virtual assistant should help the business owner since he or she has many tasks to do and must be responsible for keeping the owner on track and updated of what is happening in the business. So as a virtual assistant, prepare yourself on doing calendar management, telephone inquiries, booking of appointments or tickets, client follow up, emails of your boss and clients, and lastly is the database and file management.
A virtual assistant earns an average of $10 up to $30 on an hourly basis but this may vary depending on your expert level. And if you are looking for a job as a secretary while enjoying your home, the virtual assistant job will be the coolest way for you to earn money online.
Freelance jobs are the best job for people who wish to enjoy home while earning money. Due to advancement and high technology, it is not possible to have an online job offered by the virtual world. Freelance jobs involve providing a different kind of services asked by random people online. This kind of jobs let you work either full time or part time and it depends on your decision.
Another privileged of being a freelancer is that you will be the one to set the terms of your work and you have the freedom to arrange it in a way that it can let you work on different projects at a time. There are so many services offered by freelancers and it includes web developer, web designer, search engine optimization, article writer, and social media marketing.
Making money while home-based cannot be easier than this that is why you need to get started as a freelancer immediately. And in choosing what service to offer, think of any skills you have that may fit the jobs mentioned above, you can also try looking on the freelance marketplace and apply there or jobs. Remember that in looking for the best freelance job, align it to your passion and interests so that you don’t have to worry procrastinating in finishing your project and meet the deadlines.
Alexe Chasanov is an e-commerce community manager in California. She also works as a consultant for a start-up company to help them in their marketing and growth hacking efforts. She loves writing about fashion trends here and there, and on her free time, she loves outdoor sports and martial arts.
Stuff steals your joy and suffocates your life. Do you believe this? I do. I’m on a mission to become weird.
Dave Ramsey says, “Don’t be broke. Be Weird”.
He suggests to look at what everyone else is doing and run the other way. The Joneses want stuff: cars, houses, furnishings, clothes, and the bills that pay for the stuff put a noose around their neck that one hiccup in life–an accident, a car repair, a broken appliance–leaves them “stuffocated”.
Nerdwallet says the average household is $135,924 in debt.
Bloomberg says $16,000 of that is credit card debt.
No. More. Stuff.
More than a year ago my family of four took a vacation and all of our needs fit into two backpacks. If we had taken more stuff we have checked bags and missed flight connections. We each had three or four sets of clothes and washed them in the sink and hung them to dry. We were minimalists and it was an experience that left us thirsting for more–I mean less–stuff.
Over the last eight weeks we have sold so much stuff. At the same time we put our house on the market to sell. Last week we closed on the sale. No one would have said our home was cluttered. Judgments say we lived simply. We didn’t pour additional concrete for the driveway or build a shop, or fill the house with furnishings. Simply to others felt “stuffocated” to us. We leased a 997 square foot 2-bedroom apartment for four people. The girls share a bedroom and we have a dog. No amount of downsizing prepared us for the transition. No matter how small our material goods are there was still too much stuff. We still have a few boxes of stuff to take to Goodwill, and we are 100% debt free. We are FREE! Here’s what we’ve learned.
Less stuff means more life.
Remember that backpacking trip? We can have great experiences like those more often. We can move quickly with less stuff, even be more spontaneous. There’s no house, yard, or anything else to maintain. We can go whenever we want, where ever we want to be. That thought alone leads to a lot less stress. Stuff doesn’t hold us back.
If your income comes from online sources the world becomes your playground. House sit for people around the world and your lodging and utilities are covered. Go have experiences stuff will never let you have.
My mom is a pack-rat. She still has my grade school worksheets. I recently convinced her to shut down a storage unit where she was storing stuff because it has cost her more than $5,000, for stuff that fit in her garage. My husband’s mom is a pack-rat. She doesn’t understand why we want less stuff when stuff can be handed down, passed around, or is generally useful. My Dad wants to know when I am coming to pick up my late Grandma’s china. It’s beautiful and I don’t have room for it. Dad chuckles when we talk about our next move. We get the, “Oh you kids…”. We’re in our 40’s, hardly kids, and this feels better all the time.
Shopping is fun, and what if having extra money leads to helping causes you care about. Start a foundation to touch people and needs with care. Do the work only you are meant to do.
I am not saying you don’t need to buy things. Plenty of people need a house. I think people need a place to live that doesn’t own them. For my family a house is a liability, not an asset. We move often. I wouldn’t call us nomads, but history says we move every 4-5 years. If that means selling a house in a downturned financial cycle then we have a lot to lose. Luckily, we sold our house while the market was high. Now we get to plan next steps. If you enjoy living in a house as part of the American Dream, that’s great. Hopefully the house fits your income. Dave Ramsey suggests no more than 40% of your income be tied to a house on a 15-year term, fixed rate mortgage.
You don’t have to furnish it with big box high priced things. Shop second hand if possible. You don’t have to furnish it with big box high priced things. Shop second hand if possible. Find Furniture sales in your area. Visit a garage sale. A little elbow grease and paint can make furniture or decor something you love with a great story. Tell your story.
Open your mind and be free
On Dave Ramsey’s program he allows people a debt free celebratory scream. “FREEDOM”! It’s based on William Wallace from the movie Braveheart:
Don’t you want freedom from stuff, debt, and clutter?
Tell us how you plan to become free in the comments.
Nicole, owner of WeTalkHealthy, lives a healthy decluttered lifestyle. Her main focus is as a health advocate and mom of 2 who studies food, and general wellness. It’s her mission to help you live a healthier life by learning about the dangers in the food you feed your family. Whether it’s meal prep or creative exercise without setting foot in the gym, you don’t want to miss her tips. Connect on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or the Facebook group. Save
Financial freedom sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? The thought of never again having to set up autopayments or worry about what bill is due when…Ahhh-mazing.
That said, have you ever thought about the benefits of financial freedom BEYOND just freedom with your finances?
Well today we’ve got Jacob from Dollar Diligence to introduce us to the non-financial benefits of financial freedom —
Being $25,000 in student debt, I knew I was feeling the strain and the anxiety. I hadn’t experienced a good night’s sleep in months and felt drained of energy on most days. I wasn’t completely hopeless, but I felt constrained by the enormity of the problem.
The damage my debt was doing to my finances and credit was clear, because I monitored it almost daily. But, what wasn’t so clear was the damage it was doing to me and those around me. The stress, coupled with my inability to concentrate on much of anything else, led to a deterioration of my health, my relationships and my career.
Getting free of debt not only gave me my financial freedom, it saved my career, and it probably saved my life.
Financially I’m not yet where I want to be, but I now have a clear path to achieving my most important goals. It’s a feeling like no other. While the financial benefits of becoming debt-free are clear, less clear, but much more important, are the non-financial benefits. When you understand how debt impacts every corner of your life, it becomes your most powerful motivation to eliminate it completely.
The Physical Reality of Debt
You feel it first in your emotional makeup. It’s hard to ignore the feelings of stress, anxiety and depression, but you feel as if you can cope with it. What you don’t realize is the physical toll it takes. Studies show that stress is a leading cause of heart disease and researchers have found a positive correlation between debt-induced stress and heart attacks.
When I was at the peak of my distress, my family forced me to get a physical. I found out I was a hypertensive time bomb that needed immediate disarming. I long ignored the migraines, the weight gain and the new age lines – all stress-induced. When I got rid of my debt, I got my health back.
Debt Can Hollow Out Your Life
While your mental and physical health deteriorate under the weight of debt, everything else that is important in your life seems to fade into the background – your family, your relationships, your career and your future.
When you can’t concentrate on anything other than your finances, nothing is prioritized. It doesn’t happen deliberately; it just happens.
You grow distant from the people close to you and there is no urgency in your relationships at home or at work. Some people become resentful of others – their spouse for not understanding or being able to help, their employer for not paying enough and anyone who is enjoying a debt-free life.
Debt threatened my relationships, my career and my future. When I became debt-free, I got my life back.
Finding the True Meaning of Wealth
At the risk of drawing any comparisons between eliminating debt and surviving some real life and death situation, I did gain a similar sense of appreciation of everything around me.
There are so many moments of wealth that occur in our lives that, when we’re lost in a fog of despair, we miss entirely. Wealth is as much about accumulating these moments of love and happiness as it is accumulating vast sums of money.
It’s also about being able to choose how you want to live your life – free to pursue your passion with peace-of-mind and no encumbrances. All of that is lost when you can’t see past a stack of bills. When I became debt-free, I became a very wealthy man.
It may seem hopeless at times, but there are great rewards awaiting you for taking a stand against your debt, the least of which is your financial freedom. When you understand how much is taken from you when debt controls your life, there is no greater feeling than making that last payment.
What would you life look like if you were financially free?
Tell us in the comments below!
This post courtesy of Jacob @DollarDiligence Follow him for daily personal finance tips! Jacob is a high school math teacher who hustled his way out of student loan debt. Frugality is Jacob’s middle name (okay…maybe not…or is it…)