If you check out people’s New Year’s resolutions, I can almost guarantee that two of them come up at the top of the list—getting out of debt and losing weight. But before you start to think I’m talking about making a different resolution this long before the New Year, I want to point out that there’s actually a lot of similarity in these two goals.
What does it take to lose weight?
Watch what you eat
Develop better habits
Hold yourself accountable
Get the support that you need
And eat less than you can burn off
What does it take to get out of debt?
Watch what you buy
Develop better spending/saving habits
Have a good support system
And spend less than you make
It’s basically the same concepts, right? Let’s look at some of the other similarities.
It’s Not Going to Happen Overnight
Anyone who thinks they’re going to lose a ton of weight or pay off all their credit cards in a short time span is being totally unrealistic. Your current financial woes were caused by years of overspending and credit card use. The same is true for your weight—it came from years of poor eating habits and a lack of exercise. So, don’t expect to fix everything all at once.
Instead, set small goals for yourself. If you need to lose twenty pounds, set a goal of 1-2 pounds per week and work towards meeting that goal. If you need to pay off $10,000 worth of credit card debt, set monthly goals for setting aside the needed amount of money to reach that goal in a reasonable time. This could take a while. Don’t rush it.
The Two Struggles Can Actually Go Hand-in-Hand
One of the biggest expenses for a lot of families is fast food and eating out at restaurants. A fast food meal for one can cost almost $10 and many sandwiches at sit-down restaurants start at the same amount. Added to the problem is the food isn’t that healthy for you.
Instead, you can save hundreds of dollars a month by not eating out and instead cooking your own meals at home. Then, you can also control the portion size and the healthiness of the food which can, in turn, help you to lose weight.
You’re Going to Have Setbacks
With paying off debt and losing weight, many people get depressed by setbacks and let themselves fall back into some of the older traps. You know how it goes, right? You don’t hit your weight goal, so you get mopey and decide “What’s the point?”.
The next thing you know, you have a carton of Ben and Jerry’s in your lap and the whole diet is out the window. The same goes for debt. You could be moving along at a good clip for a few months and then get hit with a major medical bill out of nowhere. If you look at this as a roadblock to your success, you could spiral out of control and just give up. Instead, see it as just a speedbump on the path—something that will slow you down but not stop you.
There’s No Debating the Discipline Needed to Meet Your Goals
There’s a lot of similarities when it comes to paying off your debts and losing weight. But one of the biggest is the sense of satisfaction and overall happiness you’ll have if you succeed at both. Living a healthy and debt-free lifestyle should be at the top of every family’s “To Do” list.
Help Your Kids Be Prepared for Accidents!
At the park or playing ball – your kids can be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.
One of the biggest dreams for a lot of us out there is the idea of becoming 100% debt free in life. Imagine that: no credit card bills or car payment, no worrying if you are going to make it to the next paycheck. Is such a dream even possible?
I am 100% proof that it is!
But before you start thinking that I’m going to sell you on some “get-rich-quick” scheme that is going to take care of all your money woes, let me set your mind at ease. The real question for you should be “How committed are you to getting out of debt and (most importantly) STAYING out of debt?”
Every week, it seemed like we just wanted to throw up our hands and call it quits on the plan because it was so hard to say no to things like social gatherings, vacations, eating out, and shopping sprees. But in the end, we managed to stay the course and rid ourselves of $120,000 of consumer debt.
How did we pull off this miracle paying off debt? Here’s what we did that you can do too:
1. Get clear on every cent that comes in and goes out.
That means create a detailed budget so that you know exactly how much you are spending. Don’t just check your checking account. The real culprits are how much you are racking up on credit cards for nonessential items each month.
2. Once you know just how much is coming in, you need to axe every single expenditure that is not essential.
So, what qualifies as non-essential? Cable TV, subscriptions like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and yes, even, those regular lattes at Starbucks.
3. Work extra.
This may sound painful, but you can’t just cut money going out. You are going to have to add money coming in. If you are working hourly, pick up as many extra hours as you can. If not, look for a second job or some other way to bring in secondary income. This doesn’t have to be a lifelong commitment; just until you get a handle on your finances and get yourself out of debt.
4. The two biggest areas you can cut out, for most people, is eating out and going on vacations.
Instead, eat for much less by cooking at home and then save your money with a nice staycation.
5. Essentially, every single penny that comes in goes to pay off the essential bills.
After you cover your essentials, any money that is left over goes towards paying off the debt.
There should be no exceptions to this.
The bottom line is that you have to learn to live below your means and resist the temptations that crop up all the time to buy things that you don’t absolutely need.
We did this, day-in-and-day-out, for three years. It sucked (big time)! But it has been so worth it because now we get to enjoy our hard-earned money instead of saying goodbye to it every payday and handing it over to the creditors before anything else. This is also a HUGE lesson that we are trying to impart to our children so that they can start off on the right foot with money management.
If you’re like a lot of us out there, you probably feel like your entire life is tied up inside of your purse. On some days, it may feel like you are carrying Mary Poppins carpet bag of nanny goodies, able to open up your purse and pull out a wallet, checkbook, umbrella, diapers, and wipes along with the unimaginable and unrealistic like a case of water, an emergency kit, and a the ark of the covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
But, if you’ve ever had your purse lost or stolen, then you know that it can be a nightmare of epic proportions. So, here are some of the things I am definitely not carrying in my purse anymore:
Extra credit cards
There was a time when I used to have every major department store and credit card on me at all times, just in case I needed to fly into action and do some emergency shopping at the local Macy’s. This isn’t necessary.
Instead, keep just one credit card and your debit card on hand and leave the rest at home.
Think about if you do lose multiple cards to a thief, then you have to cancel all those accounts which can be a major pain. Many people are getting the “phone wallets” that give them a cardholder on their cell phone. This can be a great idea since most of us keep our phones on us at all times and usually in our hip pockets, which make them much harder to steal than the average purse snatching.
This absolutely has to stay at home from now on. If you think about it, most of us only use checks now when we are mailing in bills. (And some of us not even then.) Everywhere you go now takes plastic, so leave the checkbook at home.
My former self-defense instructor (a retired cop) pointed out that your checkbook has your home address on it which not only makes you easier to track down, but it can also be used to order more checks and destroy your credit rating and bank account.
Again, why take the risk when you carry your debit card? If your card is stolen, you can shut it down before it is used. But if your cash is stolen, that’s it; it’s gone.
It’s also a good idea not to carry cash or limit the amount you have with you because (as many people will point out) if you carry cash, then you are more likely to spend it. When you pass by a soda machine or snack machine, you may think to yourself, “Oh yeah, I’ve got some money” and then you spend it. But if you don’t have it, then you can’t spend it on things you don’t need.
Quick tip to help in case your purse is lost or stolen.
Before you leave the house next time, take a picture of the front and back of your credit cards. This will give you the information you need to call the right number quickly to report the card stolen and to have the credit card number handy. You can write this information as well, if you prefer.
Can you afford to lose your purse?
The important thing to decide when you are packing your purse is this: “If someone were to steal my purse or if I should lose it, how dangerous or problematic would it be for me to no longer have these items?” And for many of us, our purses have become such a “catch-all” for junk that we might not even know what was in there if it did go missing. It’s better to play it safe and keep it simple.