The holidays can be a tough time for people with financial struggles. It’s an expensive time of year and whether you don’t have much saved up or you’re juggling lots of debt, it can be stressful.
The truth is, most Americans have debt. More than 189 Americans have credit card debt. Although many believe the U.S. economy is trying to improve, many people are still struggling with debt.
While there are holiday gift programs and assistance out there for those who are in need (like Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, and Samaritan’s Purse), it’s still important to find ways to be content even when you have debt no matter what time of year it is.
While it may take you several months or even a few years to get out of debt, you don’t have to give up the joys of life today. Here are a few key ways to be content when you’re deep in debt.
Commit to Living Below Your Means
The best thing you can do to get out of debt is commit to living below your means. By spending less, you can use more of your money to become debt-free. Spending less can also help you become more content and appreciative of what you have.
Living in a smaller house can motivate you to make the most out of your space and truly make it a home where you can create memories with your family. Downsizing to a one-car household can allow you to feel grateful that you don’t have to spend extra money on fuel, repairs, and insurance.
Overall, living on less than you earn is a better way to ensure you use all your resources to the fullest and don’t take anything for granted.
Get a Plan
I’m a very Type A person who loves to plan. Having a plan just makes me feel more confident and content with where I’m at. Even if you’re facing a mountain of debt, you can find contentment by developing a plan.
A debt freedom plan will show you exactly how to start and which debt to pay off first. At the start of this year, we had a loan that I wanted to pay off and I was feeling pretty discouraged about it. To fix this, I developed a plan detailing how much I wanted to put toward the loan each month and how I was going to earn that money.
My plan helped me feel much better about the journey and where we were at each step of the way. We actually paid off the loan a month early and didn’t feel deprived or super anxious about it throughout the year at all.
Start a Gratitude Journal
It can be hard to be content when you’re in debt and owe a lot of money. But it’s important to realize that debt is not the end of the world. Life goes on and you can still be happy and content with where you’re at.
One of the best ways to shift your focus is to start a gratitude journal. Brainstorm some everyday things that you’re grateful for and write them down each day or each week. Sure, you may not have your dream home or be able to vacation to Aruba. Maybe you have to hold off on having kids until your debt is paid off or you are stuck in a job you don’t care for.
But do you have a roof over your head? Your health?Food in your fridge? A way to make money? A loving family and support system? These are all things to be grateful for. Even the smallest acts of kindness can produce the warmest feelings of gratitude so be sure to keep a journal and you’re bound to start feeling very content with where you’re at today.
Enjoy Experiences That Don’t Cost Much Money
Being in debt doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and live your life. It’s a constant balancing act, but you have to be able to focus on paying off your debt but also enjoying the present as well. My favorite way to do this is to enjoy experiences that are free and don’t cost much money.
You can go to free community events and museums or use Groupon for entertainment. Focus on connecting with family and friends whether it’s inviting people over for a game night or going the $1 classic movies night at your local theater.
Finding ways to enjoy fun experiences now will definitely help you be content when you have debt.
Give If You Can
You may be wondering how you can give to others when you have debt yourself. The thing is, giving can make a huge impact on someone’s life, it makes the giver feel better, and it’s easy to do even if you don’t have a ton of money.
You can give your time by volunteering or your talents by helping out with a project in your community. You can also do things like donate a $20 holiday gift to a child in need.
Giving may seem like it can hold you back financially, but when done right it can actually do the opposite. When you give, you tell yourself that you have enough and open your life up to abundance.
Acknowledge Your Progress
Being content is all about being grateful for where you’re at currently. Start this process by acknowledging your progress so far. How much debt have you paid off? What sacrifices have you made?
Take a second to stop and acknowledge how far you’ve come. I did this after paying off my student loan debt. I still had more debt to pay off at the time but wanted didn’t want to just chase after the next target and not congratulate myself and be content in the moment.
At the end of the day, you have to strive to be content when you’re in debt at least to some degree. It’s better for your mental health and will allow your debt freedom journey to be more tolerable and enjoyable.
Try to start utilizing these tips asap to lift your spirits and live in the present.
How do you find ways to be more content even when you’re deep in debt?