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Motivation for living cheap to get out of debt

I’ve talked to a number of people since I first posted my take on one of the many schemes to eliminate debt in a relatively short time frame. Some are doing it, while others, for whatever reason, haven’t been able to motivate themselves to do it just yet.

I have an unorthodox suggestion: Buy something.

I know the experts will jump all over me on this one–the best way to save money, after all, is to buy less. But I think some disciplined buying can help in the long run to make you save money.

Five years ago, on a typical day I spent $7 on lunch. I was also spending about $1 on breakfast. At least I wasn’t overpaying for coffee; coffee was free at the office. Still, I was spending $8 a day on eating out, and at the end of the week, I didn’t have a lot to show for it. To my credit, at least I was eating healthy–I could have been spending the money on Big Macs and have higher cholesterol to show for it, I guess.

I justified it to myself by reminding myself how much time I was saving.

When I found myself drawn into an expensive hobby and I started wondering how to pay for it when I was already trying to pay for a car and a house, I realized what I was spending on breakfast and lunch. By taking those meals to work instead of paying lots of other people to make them for me, I figured I’d save somewhere between $25 and $35 a week. Compared to what some people spend on this hobby, that’s nothing, but I was pretty happy with what I could buy for that kind of money.

But something funny happened along the way. As I get closer and closer to paying my car off three years early, I find myself wanting to dump extra money into my car payment. I guess realizing my $10,000 balance was costing me about $1.75 a day in interest woke me up. Sure, I’m happy enough on a budget of $30 a week, but what could I do if I had $42.25 a week to work with? The sooner I cut my average back, and the more I cut that average back, the sooner I’ll have that $42.25 a week to work with…

Having that tangible reminder of something I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t saving is a motivator that works for me.

What it is and what it costs probably doesn’t matter all that much, as long as it’s something you’ll see and use on a fairly regular basis.

Just save the money first. That way, you don’t buy it, then find yourself making excuses for how you pay for it.

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3 thoughts on “Motivation for living cheap to get out of debt”

  1. You state:Thanks to self employment, the government is likely to take half of your earnings,
    That precludes the capitalist dream.
    Then, you state:The trick is to dump as much money as possible into debt retirement.
    And now:Buy something.
    Have you returned to the capitalist dream? Spend against the future and if you die you come out ahead.
    Where is Jacques Pierre Cousteau Vermouth Bouillabaisse le Raunche de la Stenche when he is needed? I would bet he has thoughts to guide the working class.

  2. When searching for the phrase "o’reilly" using your search box at the top of every page, I get a good list of results. Unfortunately, clicking on the June 2004 entry yields this result:

    Parse error: parse error in /var/www/article.php(133) : regexp code on line 1

    Fatal error: Failed evaluating code: preg_replace(‘/(?>o\\’reilly+)/i’,’o\\’reilly’,’>Here\’s an interesting dilemma: How do you avoid becoming the primary technical support contact for all of your friends and family?<‘) in /var/www/article.php on line 133

    I could not find a way to contact you since your old address stopped working, so I thought I’d post it here.

    Dustin D. Cook, A+

  3. Looks like a quoting issue. Dave’s a few revs back from the latest GeekLog release, so it may have even been fixed in the interim.

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