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Need to Reduce Debt? How to Do It Without Sacrificing Fun

For many people, January is month one in their pursuit of a new financial goal (or goals). If you’re working on reducing your debt, it might feel a bit draughty in terms of fun.

But it doesn’t have to be!

These three blog articles can help you gain some perspective and confidence while you practice some new financial habits. And you can learn how to enjoy life and have fun — even while you reduce your debt and without taking on additional consumer debt.

  1. Perform a reality check

It can help to take a step back and review your situation.

Remember that debt is a reality for most Canadians. This blog from our Calgary website about our 2018 Affordability Index results can give you the reality check you need.

Every group has its debt and affordability challenges. You’ll probably recognize your own situation, whether you’re a millennial, a Gen Xer or a woman. In fact, the average non-mortgage debt (including consumer debt) comes in at around $20,000. That’s a big number.

But there are some steps in our blog that can help you manage your finances so that you can reduce debt and afford more of what you need, and what you want.

Remember that seeking professional advice and debt help doesn’t mean the end of your financial or social life.

  1. Know what you want to keep doing

Patti Lovett-Reid, Chief Financial Commentator from CTV News, offers some great financial advice in this post.

If you feel like reducing your debt is akin to taking on a New Year’s diet, Lovett-Reid has you covered. She’s taken a new approach to helping consumers reduce debt and save money.

She suggests that Canadians should look back over the 2018 year and decide what to do the same, not just what to change.

That could include any number of things, like having your own vehicle, maintaining a weekly or monthly social gathering with friends, or subscribing to a full cable package.

If those are the things that keep life fun for you, you can make them a priority.

Then the trick is deciding what you’ll give up. Especially with interest rates on the rise again, consumers need to think about avoiding additional debt that could become more and more difficult to pay off as rates increase.

  1. Find frugal ways to have fun

When you’re in debt and trying to cut back on your spending, non-essentials like seasonal wardrobe updates, spa or salon appointments, subscriptions to magazines or streaming services and other “luxury” items or events can feel like they’re out of the question.

Cutting back to the bare minimum can definitely take the fun out of things.

But there are a lot of interesting and fun ways that people are finding to get around that problem. Check out the savings-minded bloggers out there. You’ll find that the resources for fun-but-frugal activities are on the rise.

Here’s a post from Frugal Mama. She tested out the idea of a clothing swap, which gives attendees an opportunity to socialize, snack and swap out items from their wardrobe for new-for-them clothes for free.  Then she explains how to go about organizing one yourself and gives her take on the experience.

A clothing swap is just one idea. Here are a few more:

Attend seasonal or celebratory events in your community, like vendor shows, a Canada Day celebration or a winter festival.

Take advantage of special sales. Remember that most businesses offer a time or day with discounts in mind to bring in business. Think early bird sales or online flash sales. Don’t be shy about taking advantage.

Hit up a nearby museum or gallery. There are a lot of great ones in Vernon and the Kelowna area,

Plan a potluck or other type of group event. This can be converted into a brunch, a coffee/tea and pastry event, movie night and the like without increasing your debt load.

Just because you want your debt to go down doesn’t mean you need to ditch the fun. Look for ways to reduce your debt load while still enjoying your life and your community.

How do you maintain fun while keeping debt in check? Tell us on Twitter. #LeaveDebtBehind #DebtSolutions

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