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How to Get Off the Credit Card Roller Coaster

Credit cards are a funny thing.  They are a financial product that can be your best friend or your worst enemy.  When I could pull out my credit card and pay for anything I wanted I loved my credit card.  When I was over $50k in debt, working three jobs to pay off the balances I hated my credit cards every single day.  When I paid off all my credit cards I loved the feeling of being debt free but I was scared to even pull out my credit card, let alone use it.  To say I have been on a credit card rollercoaster is an understatement.

Here’s how to deal with the emotional stress of being in credit card debt:

Don’t let caught up in the happiness

Being happy is great, as long as the bliss is genuine and not bought with material items.  Sometimes people get so caught up in the euphoric state of happiness that they want to do more of whatever it is that’s making them happy.  In this case that is spending money.

When using your credit cards set spending limitations so you don’t allow your debt to get out of control.  Use your credit card for specific purchases such as big ticket items or your weekly groceries.  If spending is a problem, don’t use it for everyday purchases.

Let sadness only be temporary

Debt is consuming in every single way.  It takes all your money, your thoughts and your emotion. Living through financial struggles can be completely demoralizing and that’s sad.  It’s sad that you can’t afford to spend time with your friends, it’s sad that you don’t have the money to go on vacation and it’s sad that some nights you go to bed hungry.  But you know what, it’s all temporary.

It’s O.K. to be sad temporarily but then you need to snap out of it.  Look at your outstanding balances versus your income and other expenses and figure out how long it’s going to take you to pay off your debt.  If that time period is too long then cut your expenses or earn more income and pay off your debt sooner.  In order to do this you need to be focused and for that you can’t be sad.

It’s O.K. to be angry

When I was in debt, actually when I realized how out of control my debt was, anger was the best emotion.  I couldn’t believe I let my debt get so bad and I was disappointed in myself with all the choices I made.  I was mad at myself and at times I hated myself.  The only way to get out of this mental state was to make changes so that’s exactly what I did.

When I checked my credit score and saw how much damage my irresponsible behavior was having on my life, I was angry and anger is an emotion that requires action.  You need to take action to let out your frustration and you need to take action so the thing you’re angry with stops bothering you.  In this case it was my debt.  I started paying off my debt and stopped hating myself.

Don’t always be afraid of debt

If your spending is out of control maybe you should get in the mindset of being afraid of your credit card and stop spending cold turkey, but that’s only in extreme cases where your money habits may need a major makeover.

Installing fear in yourself can add a little discipline into your money routine, so if that’s what you need then so be it.

Photo from Pixabay

How to Not Let Money Ruin Your Relationship

Let Money Ruin Your Relationship

Money can be a source of stress in your relationship, but it can only cause trouble if you let it.  There’s no need to let money ruin your relationship.  All you have to do is spot the signs, be open about it and work through it together.  Trust me I know.

I have had my share of money troubles which of course caused trouble in my relationship because the stress of money is like no other and it consumes you.  If you aren’t so great with managing money or if your spouse has a less than perfect financial track record here are five ways to work through it.

Spot the warning signs

Money is everywhere and although some people can hide their troubles very well, it’s hard to keep money woes a secret.  If your spouse stresses every time the rent is due or suggests you always stay in instead of having a date night out on the town then maybe they are running their check book in the red.

Drop subtle hints such as “Do you want me to get this one?” or “Is everything O.K. did you have a big expense this month?”  Their reaction will tell you everything i.e. if it’s recent or if the situation has been ongoing.

Talk about it

Financial trouble is not one of those problems that just works its itself out.  We have to work at it.  The great thing about being in a relationship is that you don’t have to do it alone.  Talk with your spouse about being in debt and they can help change your habits.

If you don’t want to talk with them about it at least keep them up to date on your progress if you’re talking to a professional.  Remember that when you’re in a couple your money doesn’t only affect you.

Don’t fight about it

The absolute worst thing you can do when someone is experiencing financial troubles is argue about it.  I can tell you first hand that not being responsible enough to manage your own money and pay for your living expenses is a big blow to the ego and fighting about it only makes it worse.

Let the situation cool off and talk about how you can change habits or get help at a time when you’re both calm.  Making someone – especially someone you love – feel bad about their bank account is not the way to fix the problem.

Be generous with your own money

Money troubles are a temporary situation if you want them to be.  If your spouse is working towards cleaning up their finances be a little bit more generous when it comes to joint expenses until they get back on their feet.

I am by no means suggesting that one person covers all the expenses because you don’t want to set a precedent.  You can’t always take care of the monthly bills.  However offering to pick up the check or pay for groceries once in a while are little gestures that can go a long way when it comes to financial relief for your loved one.

Photo from Pixabay

7 Cheap Valentine’s Day Gifts


With Valentine’s Day just around the corner  – it’s on Sunday – you may be searching for the perfect gift for your sweetheart.  Let me let you in on a little secret…you don’t need to spend a fortune planning the perfect evening at an expensive restaurant and a huge bouquet of flowers.  All you need to do is put a little love (and thought) into your gift.

 

Gentlemen let me give you a little help…don’t spend money on a generic (a.k.a. traditional) gift that you think your woman wants, spend money on a personalized gift you know she’ll love.  Flower shops hike up the prices on Valentine’s Day so avoid them at all costs.

If you want to find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift but don’t have a lot of money to spend try these gifts I know you’re lover will love.  I know I would (that’s a hint in case BF is reading).

Photo album

A framed picture is always a good gift, but a photo box or album is even better.  If you and your sweetie are snap happy this is the perfect gift to chronicle your relationship.  If you opt for the photo box you can even fill it with chocolates and there’s no need to visit Godiva, Hershey’s Kisses will do.  You can find Umbra photo boxes for around $25 and chocolates should cost no more than $10.

A Groupon Getaway

Romantic weekends don’t need to cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, all you need to do is check Groupon.  I have a friend who just spend 3 days in the Bahamas for under $300 thanks to Groupon Getaways.  Sign up for deals in your area

Couple’s massage

This may have a higher price tag if you book it on Valentine’s Day.  Give your special someone the Valentine’s Day card with gift certificate and book the appointment for a week or two later to save money.  Or better yet write the appointment details in the card, that way you know it’s taken care of.

Unplugged weekend

What could be better than spending a whole two days together without any interruptions.  Give your Valentine the gift of alone time.  No phones, no laptops and no tables – just the two of you for 48 hours.  Oh and did I mention this costs absolutely nothing.  #Priceless

Romantic playlist

Sneak your sweethearts iPod or Phone and create a special playlist for them full of their favorite songs and romantic soundtracks.  For my 80s-born-friends this is the 2016 equivalent of making a mix tape.  I love the song Take My Breath Away from the movie Top Gun and Almost Paradise from Footloose. You also can’t go wrong with a little Boyz to Men and Marvin Gaye.

Sexy movie marathon

There’s nothing like a good love scene to set the tone for Valentine’s Day weekend.  Load up your Netflix playlist and line up the DVDs to enjoy a sexy movie marathon with your sweetheart.  This is a cheap Valentine’s Day gift, but also a unique date idea for anytime of the year.

Home-cooked dinner

If you and your Valentine are always busy take some time to cook a good meal together and sit down to enjoy dinner.  Don’t forget the dessert – maybe something you can eat in bed.

Photo from Pixabay

 

 

How to Get Through Tough Financial Times

Money doesn’t come easy.  Unfortunately we can’t just go and pick it off a tree in the backyard.  Money comes to those who work hard – or get lucky.  However the get lucky part only comes to a very select few so let’s stick with money comes to those who work hard.

Sometimes we can do everything right and the money just doesn’t work out.  One bad decision such as an investment or not so great spending habit can have a devastating snowball effect on our finances.  I once loaned a family member money and when they didn’t pay me back as planned I got behind on all my other bills – including my rent.

When you’re in tough financial times it can seem like you’re never going to get out of them, but trust me you will.  I’ve been broke and I didn’t think I would get through it, but I did.  There were a lot of tears and even more sleepless nights, but I knew it was temporary as I worked towards my goal of paying off all my credit cards.

The only way to get through tough financial times is to change your habits.  If you want to get out of debt sooner than later follow these easy (yes they’re not that bad) tips to help you get there:

Cut your living expenses

This is the first change I made after I lost my income during the market crash.  BF and I moved to a cheaper apartment which was inconvenient and small, but we saved $400 a month by doing so.

Cancel your cable

Cable packages are the bane of my existence and honestly you don’t need them.  Yes it’s nice to watch TV but with the internet you can get Netflix for under $10 a month.  I think we can all agree that’s much better than paying $130 (or more) for an all inclusive cable package.

Ditch your friends

This sounds terrible because when you’re going through a tough time you want your friends by your side.  However not if they’re trying to cheer you up by going out.  Dinner and a movie or a night out dancing can be expensive and if you’re experiencing financial struggles you probably don’t have $50 to spend on one night out with friends.  Stay in and put the savings towards your debt repayment.

Get help if you need it

The truth is sometimes we just can’t do it alone.  Talk to your financial advisor or a credit councillor if you need help setting up a plan to get back your financial wellbeing.   Talking to a bankruptcy councillor really helped me figure out my options and how to take the first step towards paying off my debt.

Find a second job

Sorry to say but more income may be the only solution to your problem.  Saving money on expenses can definitely help pay off your debt sooner and even start to rebuild your savings – but only if you put that extra money towards your goals.

Getting a second job can help speed up the process because it’s all money that you don’t need to live, so you can put it towards your debt.  Yes you’ll be tired, and yes it will be a lot of work but keep telling yourself it’s only temporary until you’re debt free.