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How to Determine If You Should Start a Debt Free Life

Are you a spender? Are you someone who loves to shop and get a deal? Yet sometimes, the deals turn into a room full of stuff. I know I’ve been there.

This time of year, when the Holidays are quickly approaching, emotional spending can get us into debt. A debt we didn’t think was possible. January leads to remorse and scrambling about how we can come up with extra cash.

If you want to give gifts this year and it will cost you, apply these twelve practical tips today.

If you are a spender, does this situation resonate? 

“Oh don’t go in that room. It’s just a bunch of old stuff.” As you close the door, show your guest a different room.

Inside you start to feel guilty. Then you quickly brush it off.  All that stuff has sentimental value. All that stuff was a deal. All that stuff was _____.

We live in a world where access to things we think we need is way too easy.

How dangerous is it to turn on 1-click ordering on Amazon Prime and other sites?

I saw on the Today show an article on how shopping online during late evening hours is on the rise. This is due to people possibly drinking and shopping. Check out this article on what they call the “sip and click.”

If you are looking for financial margin, ask yourself seriously right now, “Is My Stuff Slowing Me Down?

You may realize that you could have extra monthly money for that family vacation you have been longing for just by cutting back on your spending.

debt free life determine

Why do we need more stuff? 

First of all, if you are wondering if your stuff is slowing you down you need to take a look at your budget. Yes, a budget. If you don’t have one get one. No worries, many spenders don’t have a budget- but it’s a life changer.

Seriously a budget is the starting point of your roadmap to financial freedom. I don’t know anyone who would honestly say “Yes I want to be chained to these credit card companies.

“You may be in denial, but when you are paying that credit card bill every month the thought hits you “I wish I didn’t have to pay this.” I know because I was there with multiple credit card bills each month.

Stuff can be dangerous. As much as it can bring us joy, it can overcrowd our homes and our hearts.

How to Determine If You Should Start a Debt Free Life

Live Debt Free By Asking Yourself These 5 Questions

Do I feel overwhelmed when I see a pile of my stuff?

Do I buy things and then just stick them in the closet to deal with later?

Do I need more financial margin in my life?

Am I hanging onto things I never use?

Am I saving things for a “what if moment?”

It’s time we start taking back control. Here are some tips to get you started to put your stuff aside and get those running shoes back on. You’re on the track to financial freedom.

How to Determine If You Should Start a Debt Free Life

Turn off the temptation. 

Figure out what it is that triggers you to buy items you don’t really need. Is it a great deal? Is it when you are out with friends? Is it when you are feeling down? Once you know what your trigger is avoid that.

If it’s a deal, take a break from connecting online to your favorite money-saving blogs or getting updates from Groupon daily. Things are always on sale. You can take months off, jump back in and still see great deals.

If it’s when you are out with friends, plan to spend time together away from any shopping outlets. Recognize your emotions and avoid stores or online shopping when you are not feeling your best.

Count Your Blessings

To stop buying stuff, reflect on the things you do have. Reflecting on all the items you have stored up in your spare bedroom won’t give you the joy that extends through all seasons of life. Reflecting on relationships will.

Think about your spouse and the little ways they make your life more enjoyable. Think about your kids and the smile they bring to your face.

Take a walk outside and breathe in nature and the freedom we experience by having a roof, running water, and food. Appreciate the small things, and you will experience the joy that doesn’t come from stuff.

aldi grocerys with realplans

Only Buy What You Need

Don’t let your mind wander. Ask yourself whether I need this. If you can’t say yes right away, walk on by. If you start to justify why you need something, take an honest step back and really think about the want/need.

When you only buy things, you need the guilt of walking past a room filled with stuff stops. You start to have room in your budget each week. You can take your kids on trips randomly, knowing you have the financial means to do so.

clearance shopping haul

Buy for the Right Reason

So maybe you are great at deciding if something is a need or a want. You know you need something but you aren’t quite sure where this need fits.

Sometimes the lines get blurred. I see this with my kids. They think they are hungry when they are tired. They think they are hungry when they are really thirsty.

This is where shopping for stuff becomes emotional. Sometimes we are out buying things because we need to be surrounded by others. We want validation.

Sometimes we want to control. This was the reason I had credit card bills. I was working full-time, and I wanted the control to buy what I wanted with my own money.

I didn’t really care what it was or why; I just loved the fact I could.  We may be trying to fill many different physiological needs by shopping for stuff.

When you start to take in the tips mentioned above, it becomes easier to identify the reason we want to shop.

ultimate simple meal planner mockup

Take Inventory

Take a serious look at what you already have. Sometimes we get so caught up in sales or shopping that we go to look in our closets and realize some things still have price tags or we actually have 10 boxes of cereal. You can write down things you have and ask yourself why you need more?

You can grab my meal planner, that is simple and effective and has a food inventory sheet here. 

If you already have a couple of outfits for your special occasion outings and you only go out once every few months, do you really need another special occasion outfit?  

Cereal is always on sale. If you already have 10 boxes, do you really need to clear another space in your home for 10 more?

Ask yourself how quickly do you go through the inventory you have? When you know what you have and how often you are really using the items, you get a better idea as to what is a priority for spending your hard-earned cash on.

How to Determine If You Should Start a Debt Free Life

Set Realistic Goals

We often end up with stuff because we can see a million different ways to use these items. Our one-day projects quickly become a room we can barely walk through.

Yet we hold on and buy more because we will get to it one day. If you have craft supplies that were a steal of a deal, but yet they sit in a drawer for more than a year, it may be time to part ways.

Sure, you may be getting this stuff for next to nothing, but why bother if it’s just going to sit?

Through our six-month spending freeze, I stopped buying all the little craft items on sale. I needed to set goals. Set realistic goals. If you know you are swamped with a bunch of other tasks for the next couple of months, know that you may only be able to get to one of those amazing Pinterest articles you saved.

In today’s world, everything goes on sale at some point. Having less stuff keeps you more organized and allows your mind some breathing room.

One Step at  a Time

When you start to implement the tips above slowly, you will notice your stuff doesn’t slow you down or control you. Remember that changing our habits will not happen overnight.

It is a slow process. Take one step at a time. When it comes to changing our habits, it is never easy in the beginning it takes willpower.

Yet it is so worth it in the end. The temptation will come, and it will be even harder to avoid but remember your end goal.

I know this personally when we went through our spending freeze in the first two weeks was easy. Then the third week, the temptation came, and it was strong. I had to remember the end goal.

We wanted to move out to the country, and we didn’t want to have to touch our savings accounts. When I look back now those six months seemed so fast.

Sure, a few weeks felt like a year- at that moment. The thing was, those were emotions. They were not facts. When we recognize facts versus feelings, things become clearer in the best way.

In those six months, we met our goal. We didn’t have to use our savings account to pay for two mortgages. Now that we will be getting a closing date soon for our house, I don’t want to go out and find my home decor pieces on clearance and buy them.

“I worked my spending muscle to recognize what is a priority in my life right now.”

For me, my kids are growing like weeds, and I want the extra money for groceries and activities for us for the summer and to pay off our mortgage.

I hope these tips help you take one small step towards a greater victory.

ultimate budget planner

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Tuesday 3rd of May 2016

I go through waves of spending/saving. It does feel good to stop, look around, and ask - what do I really need?

Jennie Goutet

Tuesday 3rd of May 2016

I pinned this. I don't think I go overboard on hoarding things, but I think the large supermarket is dangerous for me because I suddenly remember I need ..... (fill in the blank). And I think you're spot on - it slows you down more than just financially. It's the guilt that gets you, and the clutter, which somehow reaches your brain!


Tuesday 3rd of May 2016

Food I think is even harder because we know we need to eat! The guilt can be so heavy though! Glad to have you here visiting Jennie!


Tuesday 3rd of May 2016

Great tips. I stopped buying for the sake of buying years ago and am sooooo glad I did.


Tuesday 3rd of May 2016

It is amazing when you do realize you have no real need for what you are buying and when you stop. All of a sudden there is money in your account again ;)


Tuesday 3rd of May 2016

This is a great article about focusing on what truly matters in life. Thrift stores are wonderful for saving money when you need something, but they're also a great way to waste money and clutter your home with unnecessary items. I would love to read a follow-up article on this topic with how you can get rid of items if you've accumulated too much. My husband and I are thinking about a garage sale later this summer, but I don't know if we have enough items yet. (Both a good and bad thing for a garage sale! ;))


Tuesday 3rd of May 2016

Thank you Katelin! You must have peeked into my blogging calendar! That is my next article! This month I'm focusing all around "stuff" I have an article on how to make more money on your next garage sale here if you are interested!

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