You didn’t have to take our quiz to know you’d rather have a glass of Champagne than a bottle of cheap wine. You hate to feel like you can’t keep up with your friends, or the influencers you follow on Instagram. Plus, you prefer to live in the moment, so charging things to your credit card is second-nature. Living luxe may have gotten you into a truly unfabulous debt situation, but you have the power to fix it. Once you’ve achieved some of your small savings goals, you’ll be empowered to start tackling that credit card debt. And then on to saving for the big things you’ve always dreamed of, like taking a year off to travel the world.
Stop the vicious cycle.
You’re already in credit card debt, so you often default to, “What’s a little more?” Stop. Free tools like Debitize can help stop you from getting into any more credit card debt — the app links to your checking account and credit card, automatically deducting money from your checking account as you use your credit card, then paying the bill off for you (in full and on time, of course). You can do this without an app, as well. Some credit cards will alert you when you've reached a certain limit. You can also challenge yourself to only spend cash, which can help make the spending feel more real. It's all a matter of finding the system that works best for you.
Make automation your best friend.
Yes, building an emergency fund and solid savings account isn’t glamorous, but it’s crucial. Figure out how much you need to stash away to give yourself a solid buffer against whatever life might throw at you, then set up repeating auto-transfers every week, payday, or month. You won’t regret having cash on hand if an emergency strikes.
Separate your savings.
Keep your savings in a different bank account, so you won’t be tempted to dip into them when your checking account starts to run low. Try not to obsessively look at the balance online and dream of all the things you could be buying with it. You can’t spend what you can’t see.
Don’t think about saving as deprivation.
Saving isn’t about denying yourself, it’s about freedom. Once you’ve paid off your credit cards and socked away a decent amount of money, you’ll be free to do things you never could have before. Maybe that’s switching to your dream job, even if it pays less. Maybe that’s taking time off to travel for an extended period — with everything fully paid for in cash. Getting exactly what you want will feel so much better when you know you saved for it and can easily afford it.
Commit to a “digital detox day” once a week, or even once a month.
Taking a day off from showcasing your life might make you less likely to indulge in those expensive activities that are so tempting to post. And we all know that other people’s Instagrams can cause serious FOMO and/or a case of the “shoppies.” Life doesn’t have to be a highlight reel every single day.