What inexpensive rewards did I do for myself while I was getting out of debt? Over the past couple of years, I have complied a list of inexpensive things to do as a rewards system for myself. These items kept me happy and motivated during the difficult moments that were sure to come as a result of digging out of debt. Here is the list of my inexpensive pleasures:
1. Taking a walk outside.
2. Checking a book out from the library.
3. Reading a book outside on a beautiful day.
4. Reading my favorite blogs.
5. Taking pictures of family and friends.
6. Taking a nice long bath and pretending I am at an elegant spa.
7. Playing with my dog outside.
8. Snuggling with my boyfriend (now husband) or a stuffed animal.
9. Talking to my best friend.
10. Writing an email or letter to keep in touch with a friend or family member.
11. Listen to music on my ipod.
12. Bake cookies, brownies, anything sweet!
13. Volunteer in the community and at church.
15. Go to church.
16. Make a list of everything I am grateful for.
17. Blow bubbles outside.
18. Swing on a swing set at a playground.
19. Plant flowers in a garden.
21. Do something artistic.
22. Keep a daily journal of thoughts and experiences.
23. Use my imagination.
24. Watch TV or videos on YouTube.
25. Watch America's Funniest Home Videos.
26. Take a walk along the beach or a lake.
27. Go for a run outside.
28. Google funny words and see what is returned from the search engine.
29. Play with Google Earth and dream of vacations that I could go on around the world.
30. Read anything about travel. I just love to travel the world and see new things but I had to do it from my computer back then!
Honestly, even today I still use the above list. It is so nice to know that I can get so much pleasure from the little things in life. Therefore, I no longer need to do retail therapy at a mall because there are so many other things in life that don't cost much and make life so wonderful. I encourage you to make a list and try it out. It just may change your life. I believe Oprah said it best in her July 2009 issue of The Oprah Magazine, "They say you can't buy happiness, and I say there's no need to try: The world is full of simple treats that barely cost a thing."
How often did I check my credit card balances? Back then I would check my balances everyday and every hour of everyday. I was obsessed and I was so anxious about making sure that I was paying everything on time. I would check my balances constantly. I started to see a therapist, due to the state of my mental health and she recommended that I only check my balances once a week. I needed to trust myself and my online banking enough to believe that all of the bills were being paid on time. I also needed to convince myself at times that "YES, the balance was going down and progress towards my goal was being made!" However, this wasn't always the case for me. Sometimes, I would pay a card down and then in a month I would have a need that I would think was an "emergency" and then charge more money on that zero balance credit card. Not smart at all! It was like I took two steps forward and then four steps backwards. I was really in a self defeating mode at times.
So, go out and treat yourself to an inexpensive reward for reading this blog post today. You are on the right track to getting yourself out of debt. I am just so happy for you. You will be free in no time and then you can start a savings plan. Speaking of a savings plan I just checked my online account and I have $10,029.76 in savings. Again, this number seems so surreal to me because of how far I have come in just a few years. I can't wait for my savings to be at $26,000 then that will be a day for a big celebration!
1. How are you going to track your getting out of debt progress?
2. How do you know when your credit card statements are coming due? (e.g., bill due date, pay by date)