The world of personal finance can seem extremely complex and far to foreign to many people. However, it is important to remember that you are basically dealing with questions of how to live your life and spend your money. Keeping this in mind, there are many solutions to debt reduction which can have a lasting impact without being directly related to the world of finance.
One: Learn to Cook
Everyone has to eat and most people can’t afford to dine out every meal. This is particularly true when you are looking for ways to reduce your debt. Learning to cook is a great way to increase your self-sufficiency, gain a valuable skill, and reduce your dining debt. Sometimes, although extremely rare, you can find free or reduced rate cooking classes in your area. However, it is more likely that you will need to learn through trial and error. There are literally hundreds of websites which provide you with a wealth of recipes and almost as many which provide video instruction to teach you how to cook. Although, if you are one of the people who truly can burn water in the kitchen then you may want to invest in one or two cooking classes at your local cooking school or community college. This will typically take one to four months of your time and cost you about as much as four or five nice dinners for two at a decent restaurant. Though the investment can save you much more over time. Not to mention the personal satisfaction of not being relegated to eat grilled cheese sandwiches for the rest of your life.
Two: Free Entertainment
A quick search will yield dozens if not hundreds of calendars of events in your area. In particular, it’s important to find the events calendars for your local neighborhood, city, county, schools, civic centers, libraries, parks & recreation departments, and any organizations you’re interested in. Some times these calendars can easily be imported into a single program which will allow you to organize them and sort out the events that interest you most. Other times, you may have to invest some time to save some money. Most people done realize the number of free events that occur around them on any given day. These can include plays, concerts, festivals, block parties, movie screenings, poetry readings, museum visits, and much more. Dig into the event calendars in your community and you’re sure to find free entertainment treasure that can help you save a bundle and reduce your debt while still getting out. Lastly, don’t forget to dig into the events calendars of communities you visit for vacations or holidays.
Three: Kick the Habit
What’s your worst, most expensive habit? For many people this can be smoking, drinking, gambling, or over eating. Each of these habits can have detrimental effects on your physical health and your financial health. However, there are other habits you can also consider here. Perhaps you have a habit of leaving the lights on, turning your heater or air conditioning on too high, or driving your car when public transit options are available. Take a look at your life through a different lens and find habits your could quit or, at least, moderate and apply the savings toward reducing your debt. There are many lifestyle changes which could be considered here.
Four: Open Access
There are many resources available to you through your local community. From computers and internet access in the local library to parks and recreation equipment at public parks. When you really think about it, there’s no reason to spend your hard earned money on books, movies, music, and gym memberships if these things can easily be found in the community. Beyond the obvious libraries and parks, there are sites like NeighborGoods which allow members to share their products. Additionally, there are many sources of free goods and services in your community. These include everything from non-profit financial consulting firms that can help you develop a debt reduction plan to Freecycle.org which can help you recycle functional items you no longer use. Also, under the category of open access, I should mention open source software that can save you hundreds of dollars on things like graphic editing programs, office suites, operating systems, and much more.
Five: Think Outside the Box
Too often people get lost trying to make dollars and cents of personal finance. Sure, the finance part requires that you deal with money to some extent. However, the personal part means that you need to consider how you choose to live your life and spend that money. Thinking outside the box can help you find other solutions to reducing your debt.
In addition to Debtors Unite, Frank Jones writes on a variety of topics for Demand Studios, Associated Content, and Jones PC Repair. He is the kind of student who takes Chemistry, Calculus, and Statistics as electives. This same thirst for knowledge which has darted him between studies in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Culinary Arts, Philosophy, and Political Science, also pushes his writing and research into many areas of interest and expertise. Managing his own personal debt, rebuilding his credit, and the entrepreneurial spirit he inherited from his father has provided Frank with some practical experience which is backed up with his research in these areas. Frank is always looking for new adventures in education and travel which is why he will be spending the second year of his masters studies at UPF in Barcelona.