Ways to avoid debt: 5 simple hacks to stay in the black
Hey all, it’s Em here again today.
We spend a lot of time talking about how to downsize your debt, understand your debt, avoid online scams….. but what about if you could avoid getting into debt in the first place? Wouldn’t that be the best thing ever? (although you might stop reading this site)
I’m sharing ways to avoid debt with you today, and I’ve chosen the five simplest, most efficient ways you can get started today.
Pay cash whenever possible
This is one of my personal favorites, and is a really good way to stop buying items you really don’t need.
Make a simple rule for yourself: if you have access to the cold hard cash right now, and you really want whatever you’re buying, then do it.
No cash? DON’T! I realize this is not the most practical advice for big ticket items such as homeware, so in those instances make sure you at least have enough money available electronically. Although, I did hand over 3 grand in cold hard cash for a second hand car once (and she was a great wee car, but that’s a story for another day).
Why is this one my number one hack?
Because it’s so SIMPLE! It will get you out of the habit of paying on your credit card, or using a store card, or setting up a hire-purchase. Those are all just other ways of saying debts!
Andy is laughing at me as I write this. Why? Because I never carry cash. Which means I never buy anything without a very specific purpose, in which case I go and get the cash. It stops me even buying little things like coffees and magazines during the work week, which are things that can really add up over time. And on the odd occasion I do have a $20 in my wallet? I don’t spend it because once I break it, it’s gone.
Do your research
I’m talking about purchases here. When we moved house earlier this year, we needed to get some new furniture and other bits and pieces. By comparing prices online and doing a bit of homework, rather than just showing up at the shop and buying stuff, I reckon we saved hundreds of dollars.
What if shops quote the same price?
Call them. There are heaps of shops here in New Zealand that want to get your sale, and will give you 10-15% off the price you could pay elsewhere. If it’s a $1000 sofa, that’s a saving of at least $100 for one little call.
Andy is an electrician, and he has a real thing about the light switches and power points in our house. He saved a heap of cash replacing them all by ordering in parts from Australia, which was a lot cheaper than buying them at any of the local hardware stores. Even with his tradie discount. So don’t be afraid to buy stuff online.
Invest in insurance
Whether this be life insurance, health insurance, income protection insurance, mortgage protection insurance, house insurance, car insurance……. gosh the list goes on doesn’t it.
What combination of the above insurance you need is up to you and your situation. I know it can seem like a big drain on weekly finances that are already tight, but just think about what you’re protected against.
The sky is not going to fall
But you do need to know that if you suddenly became unwell, or crashed your car, or whatever, that you’re not going to have to pick up the financial pieces, which can be absolutely devastating when life deals you a bad hand.
We begrudgingly pay our insurances, we make sure there is room for them in our budget because the consequences of needing insurance but not being covered are just unthinkable.
This is particularly close to home for us living in Christchurch New Zealand, where we experienced devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. I know loads of people whose home insurance had lapsed at that time, and they are having to foot the bill to repair their damaged or written off homes themselves. Let that be a cautionary tale.
Have a budget
Watch your money like a hawk! Along with paying cash only for purchases, having a watertight budget is a really good way to avoid debt because you have an understanding of where your money is going. There’ll be no more “just putting this on the credit card this once won’t hurt” when you know exactly how much that would hurt!
These free worksheets will help you create a watertight budget, check them out even if you think you have a good idea of where your money goes… you might be surprised.
No more wasting money on food waste for you!
FIVE (saved the best ’til last)
The most surefire way of avoiding debt is to have more money. So you can pay for stuff without getting into debt! Sounds kinda obvious, doesn’t it. And if you haven’t read other posts on our site, you might be sitting here thinking:
“Gee, Em. Yeah that sounds awesome, but I have no idea how to do that”.
Let me help you. We pour any second of spare time we have (making sure we have a healthy balance of work and life of course) into this website, and a couple of others. We’re not aiming to become internet millionaires, not by any stretch. What we are hoping for is to make a bit of side income to enrich our lives and pay off our debts. If total internet dunces like us can do that, you can too. Read all about it here and here for the real way to make money online. No get rich quick schemes here, just hard work with real rewards.
Do you have any tips for your fellow readers? Like always, leave us a comment. Sharing is caring
image 1 by 401 (K) 2012, CC 2.0, https://flic.kr/p/brd1K2, image 2 credit: TaxRebate.org.uk