How to Pay Debt, Cut Back & Save Without Losing Your Soul (+Giveaway)


“If it doesn’t make you happy, its not worth doing.”

If you hadn’t noticed by now, I’m all about saving money, living richly and happily and paying down debt. Just about all the posts on this blog have to do with one of those topics – give or take a few about my love for zumba, pole dance and volunteering. What you won’t see, however, are posts dedicated to cutting back until nothing is left. Yes, learning to save is essential to gaining financial freedom but it isn’t essential to living a happy life. Yet, that doesn’t stop people from fawning over those blog posts in which the blogger pours out details of how they went extreme minimalist to achieve financial freedom. You know the posts I’m talking about.

They’re the ones in a which a stay-at-home mom proclaims her decision to ditch all forms of television and entertainment in favor of getting rid of medical bills.

Or the engaged couple who gave up their monthly date nights to rid themselves of student loans lighting fast.

What about the blog post in which the single mom who eliminated all free time to pick up extra jobs to work 80 hours a week for that extra cash to be applied to debt.

Or the one in which a family of three willingly sold their house to live in a cardboard box so they could pay off $100,00 of debt in two months.

That last one is a little extreme but, you get the picture. While I admire the determination of these bloggers who do all that was necessary to rid themselves of debt, I am certainly not envious.   It takes a very special person to make such huge sacrifices to make that kind of speedy headway with finances. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m not that special person. I thought I was at one time, but I’m not. You see, if I made that kind of sacrifice to pay off debt, I’d be miserable. Sure the weight of my student loans would be lifted of my shoulders, but I’d be unhappy, unbearable to be around and unmotivated. And I’ve found that since dealing with debt can be so unpleasant at times, the most important thing I can do for myself during the repayment journey is to remain as pleasant as possible throughout the process. It’s hard to stay motivated enough to make financial progress when you are miserable. Yet, it’s almost impossible to make progress without making some spending changes and sacrifices. I’m by no means an expert, but below are the things I did to find a balance between maintaining a happy life  and sacrificing enough to pay debt.


  1. Cut back. Don’t eliminate

When you’re desperate to pay off large sums of money, it’s natural to cut back anything that’s not a necessity. Like most people, I spend a lot of money on wants. It only seemed natural for me to eliminate the one want that wouldn’t affect my need too much – my very expensive hobby of pole dancing. One pole dance class can cost $25-$40 and I would attend class at least once a week. However, skipping pole classes only lead to my feeling miserable and getting out of shape which only made it more difficult to stay pleasant and motivated while paying off debt. So instead of eliminating pole classes completely, I decided to cut back class attendance to once a month.

Some areas of your life are just  too precious to eliminate. So many seem to forget that wants become needs when it helps make your life worth living. So instead of completely skipping something that truly brings you joy, get creative and try to enjoy it in small doses instead. it will make your journey to financial freedom even smoother.

So many seem to forget that wants become needs when it helps make your life worth living. Share on X

2. Treat yourself every once in a while

So you may not have the funds to go the spa anymore or get your nails done, but that shouldn’t stop you from indulging completely. Treat yourself by turning your home into an oasis by lighting some lavender calendars, and soaking in the tub all day. Or indulge by finally buying that pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing for the last 3 months. Yes, getting your finances in line means that you shouldn’t go on weekly shopping sprees, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t pamper yourself every few months. Every three months I allow myself to buy what my heart desires without any feeling of guilt. After all, I work hard and already sacrifice to meet my financial goals. Being determined to pay off debt doesn’t mean I need to deprive myself of life’s simple pleasures. That also doesn’t mean you can justify every splurge as an “I work hard. I deserve it treat.” Be selective with your treats and you’ll be financially free and happy simultaneously.

3. Downgrade

You know you don’t need the fastest internet connection or the premium passport membership to New York Sports Club, but you still want to enjoy it. Enjoy the finer things in life at smaller portions. Downgrade your internet package and opt for the neighborhood membership at the gym instead. You don’t need to completely cut it from your life if it’s something that fulfills you or makes life just a bit easier.

Don’t get me wrong. There are definitely some moments when it really is in your best interest to eliminate wants from your life  to reach your financial goals. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t eliminated some things. However, it’s equally important to maintain some balance so you can feel happy, relaxed and stress free. The road to financial freedom is a long and arduous one. Why not do what you can to make the journey less bumpy. Go ahead, and treat yourself every once in a while!

And to make treating yourself a little easier , enter the contest to win the t-shirt everyone keeps messaging me about. “If SallieMae asks, you never saw me.”

If SallieMae asks, you never saw me! #SallieMaeWho?
If SallieMae asks, you never saw me! #SallieMaeWho?

If that isn’t a reason to make you smile on on your journey to being debt free, I don’t know what will! And in case, you’re not feeling lucky you can always purchase here for a limited time.

Enter now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


TERRIfic Quip: Cut back until there is peace in your home.

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  1. I let myself spend money on certain treats. Like you said, cut back but don’t eliminate. When I eliminate entirely, I eventually crack and then binge spend. Not good!

  2. Ooooh all I do is try and figure out ways to reduce my bills and downgrading has been a big help! It’s so crazy how much of a difference it makes to just reduce something as simple as internet or cellphone service. It definitely adds up! Great post!

    Danielle | <3

  3. I agree that eliminating everything is far too drastic and unrealistic. Cutting back where you can and rewarding yourself for sticking to your goals is a fantastic way to stay on track.

  4. It is so easy to get caught up in paying debt and saving money that we can miss out on things that make us happy. For example, I am a recovering shopping addict. I literally would shop every Saturday. Now, I haven’t been shopping since May! Crazy to think that it has been that long. But honestly, I felt bad when I spent the money in May. It was my birthday and I love the things I bought but I have conditioned myself not to shop.

    I like how you have a guilt free day where you buy something you want. I have a concert this weekend and I really want something to wear. I will try to take your advice.

  5. This is so true! I hate how we have come to shame others’ money habits. I do what works for ME but do not preach to others about adopting my methods, because some of the sacrifices I have made, others cannot do and vise versa.

  6. Lol @ the Sallie Mae shirt. Totally agree with this post. Debt is the devil but it shouldn’t consume your life or your coin. Pay your bills and remember YOLO is the motto.

  7. I love this realist approach to scaling back. Way more likely to work when you don’t feel like you are giving up all of the things that we love but don’t necessarily NEED!

  8. Great tips, I’ve been on a mission t pay off two bills. I had to come up with a game plan to make sure I reach my goal. I still allow myself some shopping, bit not like I used to do. I have to stay focused on my goal.

  9. Great info. I try to spend money on things that I value. This has meant cutting down on some expenses that I would normally spend to be social with others. However, I find myself much happier being able to control what I spend money on rather giving in to peer pressure.

  10. I cosign all of these. My son totaled my car in July and I decided to downgrade and not get anything as fancy as I had. Goodbye leather seats….at least for now to allow me to work at my debt more aggresively and stack up my savings. But I still get to travel and find other ways to indulge myself.

  11. All of my extra money is going to my blog.. I rarely buy myself anything well except food.. I spend a ton of money on food.. I just started clipping coupons so I hope this will help

  12. These are great tips. I’ve been focussing on budgeting here lately and I love your point that we should still treat ourselves every once in a while. That’s one thing that I definitely do.


  13. I agree. You can’t go so hard that you forget that happiness is important too. My mother always reminded me that part of the point of earning money was so that I could have some things I want. Paying off debt to the point of making myself miserable was never the goal.

  14. Great points. We have two homes. One is a rental property and I hate it. I think it is way too expensive and if we didn’t have it we could double up on our mortgage and get it paid off quicker. The t-shirt is hilarious and a great options for student loan carriers.

  15. I love how you admit that you aren’t that person, Terri and neither am I! That’s why I’m all about having a life and a budget! Besides, I’d be making those around me miserable too all because of my past debt. I don’t think it’s fair to my kids or husband to have to go through extremes just so I can pay off debt. I find that a healthy balance is what keeps me grounded and there is an important lesson in it for my kids too.

  16. Thank you for this post. I follow a lot of bloggers who seem to have given up everything in order to pay off their debt and I’m left scratching my head like “OK, but what do you do for yourself?” I agree about cutting back instead of simply eliminating. You have to remember yourself in the process of getting rid of debt.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. It definitely seems like the hottest trend is to cut back until there’s nothing left all in the name of paying off debt.

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