4 Things I’m NOT Giving Up to Become Debt Free

Last week, I shared 5 things I’m giving up in order to become debt free. This week, I think it’s only fair to share some of the things I’m not giving up while on my debt repayment journey. I only came up with 4 this time so many that mean I’m still better at making sacrifices to pay off my debt ๐Ÿ™‚

Even though I really want to get out of debt, I don’t consider it a death sentence and I’m not willing to do anything and everything to pay off my debt as fast as possible. I know I’m committed and like the fact that I’m paying off my debt at a steady pace.

I realize that I still have to live and enjoy life during this time which is why I’m not hung up on sacrificing what I value most just to become debt free.

Here are 4 things I refuse to give up at this time.

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1. My Gym Membership

I read plenty of financial blogs and many of them encourage others to get rid of common expenses that aren’t a necessity. I can agree with this to a certain degree. I think cable is a waste of money and that someone who’s trying to pay off their debt shouldn’t be dining out each night.

But when it comes to my gym membership, I don’t want to give it up. I didn’t always have this mindset. I used to be against gym memberships because I figured I could exercise at home for free and take advantage of free resources like YouTube videos and apps to help me on my fitness journey.

Then, I realized I have hardly any willpower and no motivation to work out at home. If I plan to workout at home and even set out my yoga mat and free weights, I will probably just sit on the couch and stare at them or do something else like play with my son.

I was hesitant to sign up for a gym membership last year, but I did at my local park district and it’s motivated me to get up and go to the gym since I don’t want to waste my money. I’ve even added a second membership at a kickboxing gym. I started going to both gyms in October last week and I’ve already lost 10 pounds, I’m eating better, and I feel so much healthier and have more energy.

In my case, paying for my gym memberships is a big deal. It will cost me around $1,536 this year alone and that money could be put toward debt instead. However, I value my health and wellness and know that I won’t be able to accomplish any goals if I don’t have my health that’s what is a top priority to me right now.

2. My Entertainment Budget

Just because I’m throwing over a thousand dollars toward my debt each month doesn’t mean I can’t have a social life. I’ve heard of some people foregoing their entertainment budget and just strictly focusing on debt repayment and I think that’s boring.

Having fun is a part of life and laughing is a great way to relieve stress. I think one of the most common misconceptions about entertainment is that you need money in order to have fun and that’s not always true.

I stay home a lot, but I have game nights with my family and rent movies from the library. I also allow myself a monthly entertainment budget of $50 and a dining out budget of $60. It’s not much, but I can score a happy hour, have lunch with my friend, take my son somewhere fun, or have a date night with my husband no problem as long as I keep it frugal.

The last thing I want is to be a debt free unhappy person.

3. Domestic Travel

When most people hear the word travel, they might think it means you need to spend a ton of money. On the contrary, travel can be kept cheap as long as it’s domestic. While I’m not doing any international trips, I am doing a few domestic trips this year that I’m excited about.

I’ll be heading on vacation for a few days later this week and I took advantage of some simple travel hacks to pull off the trip. For starters, if I decide to go anywhere I plan months in advance so I have plenty of time to save up. In this case, my husband and I had ample time to save and I also took advantage of a promotion for our hotel suite. Plus, I’m inviting a few friends out to split the costs of the hotel and transportation.

My husband also drives for Uber and was able to earn $1,000 over the past 3 weeks that we can use as spending money. As an added bonus, we were still able to pay way more than the minimum on our debt this year which makes taking a vacation even sweeter. With domestic travel, I don’t do it often but when I do, I always make sure it’s feasible and in my budget so as to avoid any financial stress.

4. My Car

I hear quite a few inspiring debt stories from people who have made drastic sacrifices in order to pay off debt. Sometimes that includes, living in a camper, selling their car, or even living in their car. I’ve contemplated whether I should sell my car multiple times and even more recently since I work from home now and my husband has a car as well.

However, I don’t think I’m going to give my car up to pay off more debt. Here’s why:

  • My car is paid off. It’s not really costing me a ton of money aside from insurance since I’m not paying a car note anymore.
  • I still use my car quite a bit. My husband works long hours and I use my car daily to run errands, take my son to and from school, pick up groceries, etc. I’m getting plenty of use out of my car so if I sold it, it may create more issues than it’s worth.
  • We live in a suburb. I can’t help but think that people who sell their cars live in larger cities where they have easier access to public transportation. Since I live in the suburbs, it would be really hard for me to get around (especially with a child) without my own car. Public transportation is reliable but it’s not frequent and I’d have to spend money on cabs and Uber so to me it’s just not worth it.

I’ll admit it was a bit of a challenge to narrow down some of the things I’m not giving up to pay off debt. I’m generally so used to sacrificing and cutting my expenses in order to maximize debt payoff.

However, I’m keen on sticking to my values and giving myself permission to maintain and spend money on things the things that are most important to me.

Incidentally, if you’re looking for a good resource on how to get out of debt, you might want to consider picking up a copy of Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover. Dave has been super helpful in assisting hundreds of thousands of people to dump their debts. At less than 15 bucks and a couple of hours to read, its an inexpensive but great investment in your own personal financial knowledge.

 

Is there anything that you refuse to give up while you’re paying off debt?

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4 Comments

  1. I’m totally with you. It’s like dieting – if you sacrifice too much for too long, you end up giving up. Then you end up fat and unhappy. You’ve got to reward yourself and enjoy yourself along the way, while still finding a way to save.

  2. My gym only costs $25 a month, and I feel like for each time I go it cuts off $50 from my future health expenditures. So even though I don’t use it as much as I should, it’s definitely a sound investment

  3. I enjoyed this post. I know you describe yourself as frugal, but at least there are SOME things which are not bare bones in your life!

    I am beginning to think I am the only non-frugal dividend growth investor in North America! I spend a ton of money on Starbucks, spend more than I should on golf, and my wife and I dine out probably once a week.

    Oh well. I am (sadly) MUCH older than you, and at this point in my life have more income than I did years ago. I suppose I could cut everything back drastically and pump it all into investments, but that is simply not for me.

    Anyway thanks for giving me at least a glimmer of hope that someone out there is prepared to spend at least a little to have fun!!

  4. Vivianne says:

    My work (a university) is offering $24/mo, I signed up to play badminton, then stopped. It was “too expensive” for me. There were several opportunities costs that comes with it.
    -After I get off work, I want to go home. I get off at 2:30pm sometimes, and badminton doesn’t start until 5:45 or 6pm… I don’t want to hang around work that long.

    -There is another badminton club that was only charge $30/ 3 months. cheaper, more convenience, I go home, change, relax, cook for myself, then go to the badminton club. But I also quit this club. Because I found a cheaper alternative. I coach youth soccer instead. We’d practice for 30 mins, then we play game for 1 hour. So, I run all the time. LOL ๐Ÿ™‚ free for me.

    Car – I agree with you on this for now. Because I have many properties to manage. I need a car. And it’s a tax write-off. However, I was in St. John and St. Thomas for 8-days trip. I was car free, and I didn’t have any problem with it. As long as public transportation is there, I didn’t mind walking a little bit and paying $2 for 1 way trip.

    Food – My mum taught me to eat well. Last night, I was at Walmart buying fruits and steaks. I swingby the snack department, trying to pick up some chips. I had to hold back, as it wasn’t worth it. I might give me cavity, too much salt, I’d gain weight. heheh LOL ๐Ÿ™‚ I can binge, but only on the right stuff though.

    Travel – I agree with you, we takes day trip to the closeby mountain to hike sometimes. little money.

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