The journey to debt freedom can be difficult sometimes, and far too often, people forget to have fun along the way. A common question that we get is, “While getting out of debt, how do you still have fun and enjoy life?
For most people out there, it’s a bit of a challenge to maintain the balance in paying off their debt while still wanting to enjoy the finer things in life like eating out, shopping, or going on a vacation. We ourselves are often asked, “You guys are really smart with your money; Do you still get to enjoy life and have fun?” The answer is, yes we do! We don’t feel like we’re compromising in this area whatsoever.
Here we are going to talk about three easy ways on how to have fun while you’re getting out of debt.
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Focus on Your Progress
First of all, for everyone following Dave Ramsey’s Plan and are on baby step number two, congratulations! In Dave’s Plan, he always says that baby step one is the easiest step and is the hardest step because you’re putting away $1000 but you’re also making a commitment to yourself that you’re going to put away $1000. For you all to accomplish that step and then move on to baby step two means that you are serious and that you really want to change your financial situation.
We want to applaud you for making those efforts and making that progress. That’s going to be a key thing for you to remember. Look at the progress you’ve made. Don’t focus on what is still ahead. Look back and reflect on the work and the efforts that you have put in thus far. That’s the first thing that we want you to never lose sight of. Focus on the progress more than you focus on the process.
Maybe you won’t go on a single cruise every single year by your getting out of debt. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun in other ways. Think about other types of activities that you can do that are low cost or no cost at all. You have your local library, your local park district, your cities have festivals and things of that nature – all that are no cost and low cost. There are plenty of ways to have fun and on your journey to financial freedom, it’s going to force you to be creative.
Start to be creative and work at this together. What can you do more creatively that is at a low cost but still allows you to have fun? For example, here in our area there’s a certain day of the week that movie theater tickets are only $5. Instead of going Friday night and paying full price, we can go on this special day and get a special rate and still see a great movie, still have a good time and still enjoy life. And don’t forget, we also get free popcorn, all for $5. It’s a fun date night and we’re able to see new releases and all the shows that everybody else can see. We just don’t pay full price for it. Another way that we like to have fun is by searching in Groupon for deals.
A word of caution though is that not all deals are great deals. Maybe because of the popularity, a lot of people feel like if they buy something on Groupon that means that they have saved. Not necessarily. You want to make sure that you do your research and before you purchase anything, check other sites and other coupon codes just to make sure that you’re getting the best deals for your bucks.
We enjoy taking vacations, it’s just that we pay cash for it. We do charge it, but we pay it off in full. We don’t carry any balances or debt whatsoever. As a matter of fact, one of our accounts is set up for vacations. If we know that we are going out of state or going on a cruise, or anything like that, we set money aside and put it into this special account for when the time is near, we have enough money to pay for our air fare, our hotel stays, pay for our cruise or the resort, dinners, entertainment and so forth.
For example, we had this vacation where we went on a cruise to Bahamas and it was just $199 per person. That was a steal because we like to look at the entire package. Majority of the time, food is going to be a huge cost as well as the hotel accommodation. So we like to go on cruises because cruises are pretty much all-inclusive where you get the room, you get the food like you can eat till your stomach is about to burst and you get to have free entertainment, go to different places and have sight-seeing, but most importantly we get to enjoy each other’s company. We laugh, we dream, we plan for our future and we do it on a budget.
Like we said, do your research and shop around, but the biggest point we want to say is don’t go into debt just trying to have fun. Many people charge their credit cards and spend money they don’t have and when their vacation is over, they’re stressed out about how they’re going to pay the bills. That’s no way to enjoy your vacation. You want to make sure that you plan ahead and you’re smart about it and budget. You can still have fun but you’re going to have to be proactive in your planning.