Life doesn’t stop when you’re in debt. You can still live your dream life even though you make debt payments month after month. Below are some ideas on how to live a better life while in debt.
Let’s get real – living with debt can be a little depressing. Most of your money is going towards debt and that means there isn’t a lot of money for the fun things in life.
You want to travel. You want to socialize without worrying about the $12 drinks at the bar. You want that killer dress. So many wants. Not nearly enough money to satisfy them.
Is this how you are supposed to live when in debt? Always wanting? And what if you have tons of debt – are you supposed to live like that for years? Waiting to live the good life until you make your final debt payment?
No, life shouldn’t stop when you are in debt. Life doesn’t have to suck when living with debt.
Here is how you can still live your dream even when in debt.
1. Go on vacation
Okay, so you aren’t going to have a private hut in Bora Bora, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience new places. There are many ways that you can travel on a serious budget.
One of the cheapest vacation ideas is to go camping. Borrow camping equipment from friends (tent, sleeping bag), prepare meals ahead of time, and take off to a nearby state or national park. Hike and explore during the day. Build a campfire and make s’mores at night. For the cost of fuel to get there, you can have a fun and active vacation.
Another cheap vacation idea is to drive to a place where you have a friend or family member willing to host you. Having free lodging and the ability to make your own meals will save you a ton of money. Your friends of family will also probably be able to direct you to free fun in their hometown.
2. Go out to eat
You can still go out to eat while in debt…just not to the fancy 5-star places. Treat yourself to Chipotle or Chick-fil-a once a month. You can eat for $7/person instead of the typically $30/person.
One of my favorite way to eat cheap meals at restaurants is to go during happy hour (usually 4pm to 7pm). You’ll have to ask around or do some research on the best places, but I’ve been able to find burgers, pizza, and huge plates of nachos for only $5 with beers for a few bucks…But you do not actually have to buy alcohol at happy hour 🙂
3. Socialize like a queen bee
You can still have friends even though you’re broke. As I mentioned earlier, you can still head to the bars, just go during happy hour.
Or, the best way to rock your social life is to start hosting. Invite people to your house and plan an activity. Have game night with board games you already own (or ask a friend to bring their games). Have a dinner party and cook a cheap dish like pasta. Ask your guests to bring the sides and the alcohol (which is always the expensive part). If you do the hard part (organize/plan/host the event), your friends can put the funds towards the event (bringing food and drinks).
4. Impress with your fancy wardrobe
When in debt, you aren’t going to be able to buy everything your little heart desires. You won’t be able to walk into a clothing store and buy whatever you want. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t look good. You just have to be a little smarter with your purchases and spend a little more time looking for a good deal. Set a reasonable clothing budget and make a list of the clothing items you actually need. Try to purchase items that can be used for multiple occasions (a good pair of jeans that can be dressed up or down, a black cardigan that can be worn to work or a night out, a dress that can be worn in the summer or winter).
A small clothing budget doesn’t have to equate to ratty clothes. You just have to be a little bit more selective about the purchases you make.
If you have a fancy event to go to, see if you can borrow a dress from a friend. Check out thrift stores and ebay for great clothing deals. Clean out your closet and find the hidden gems you purchased years ago.
5. Give generously
One of the hardest parts about being in debt is feeling like you can’t be generous. You feel like you can’t afford to support yourself, so how can you possible support others. Well, there are a wealth of ways to be generous on a budget!
You can give your time. There are so many people in need that would benefit greatly for your time. Help a neighbor mow their law. Bring a meal to a sick friend. Or better yet, organize your group of friends to bring them meals for the month. Volunteer with a local organization.
You can give money. You might not be able to hand over half your paycheck, but every dollar counts. When I first started working, I owed more than twice my annual salary. But I still decided that I wanted to make giving a part of my life, no matter how small the amount. So every paycheck, I donated one dollar (the cost of a pack of gum) to an organization I wanted to support. I knew that I could part with $1; I knew that it was the bare minimum but at least it was a start. Every year since then I have donated more and more.
You can give thoughtful gifts. Handmade gifts can mean the most because they show you put time into making them. Buy gifts that are perfect for the recipient, not necessarily the most expensive or impressive gift.
The amount you give does not have to be representative of the size of your bank account.
Live your dream life even when in debt
Being in debt doesn’t mean that your life has to stop. You can still have fun. You can still live an awesome life.
Shifting to a more positive mindset can make you feel rich. Don’t dwell on what you don’t have, be thankful for what you do have. Find ways to get what you want. Get creative, be proactive, and start living your dream life NOW.