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10 Practical Strategies for Sustaining a Debt-Free Lifestyle

Living with debt doesn’t mean living a dull life, but you still need to cut back on some of your lifestyle choices that will make it harder for you to manage your debt. That’s why, in this article, we’ll discuss some strategies that will make it easier for you to reach your goal of a debt-free lifestyle soon enough.

1. Buying in bulk

You can’t avoid your household expenses, including groceries, when living your life even with debt. Managing debt payments and these everyday expenses can often be difficult for many people.

With that in mind, there are a few strategies that you can apply to your buying habits that will make it easier for you to sustain a debt-free lifestyle. One of those ways would be to buy as much bulk as possible.

When you buy in bulk, the overall price of the product might seem costlier. Still, suppose you consider how many more items you’re getting. In that case, it’s less expensive for you, not to mention that buying in bulk is a great way to become more sustainable because you aren’t using up as much packaging as if you’re buying smaller amounts of the products you’re purchasing.

2. Keep a list of things you need to buy

When you’re in the mall, the grocery store, or any other shop, picking up things you never really planned to get can be tempting. However, it’s not a good idea to do that since that can add unnecessary expenses, which you can save up instead and use to beef up your savings or to put into paying off your debts.

One way to ensure that you’re not buying something that’s out of your budget is to plan out what you’re only there to purchase.

You can consult your list to remember the items you need to buy. Anything outside of the list should be considered an unnecessary expense.

By building this habit and keeping a handy list of recurring purchases, it will be much easier to know which expenses aren’t what you need daily.

3. Create a budget and save

Since you lack the luxury of a financial cushion or have just a tiny amount of financial cushion, you need to be stricter and deliberate with how you move your money around.

Limiting yourself is a good idea to limit your expenses, which has a compounding effect over time. A great way to “limit” yourself is to set a budget every month.

One advice for making a monthly budget would be to be realistic about it. Don’t go so strict that it feels like you’re constantly unable to reach your goals, but don’t be too lenient.

The key is to stick to a realistic budget that you know you can stick to, which will make you better at how you spend your money.

4. Prioritize paying off high-interest debt

It would help to go after your debts with higher interest rates first. These debts tend to accrue faster, meaning they become a heavier financial burden to you over time. An excellent example of that would be credit card debts. 

If you have multiple of these, it can take time to pick which one to go for first. You can look for professional debt management help if you need some aid in parsing through the more complicated jargon of your debt terms.

Once you pay off these high-interest debts, you can start whittling away at your more minor debts.

5. Separate wants from needs

When you feel strongly about it, things can feel more like a want than a need. Learning how to manage your debt would be best to be better aware of these things. Otherwise, you can dig deeper into the current financial hole you’re already trying to climb out of.

With that in mind, it seems like an oversimplification to say that having your cup of coffee in the morning is causing your financial debt. These minor joys shouldn’t be the reason why you’re in debt.

However, those thousand-dollar newly released gadgets? For those, you need to do a double take first before making that purchase.

If you don’t need those expensive items for work or still have an older model that works perfectly fine, don’t get the new, shiny version. If it does have some malfunctions, check if you can repair it instead for a cheaper price.

By acknowledging that some things are indulgences and not necessities, you can better figure out which parts of your lifestyle to cut down on, at least until you’re financially stable.

6. Build an emergency fund

There will be some months when you find an excess of allotted money outside your daily expenses, bills, and even allotted debt payments.

While the instinct might be to treat yourself a little, why not use this financial leeway to build up your emergency fund?

Think of it this way. There are days when you’re not going to be as financially flexible. You might even find yourself in an emergency. If you don’t have cushioning against that, you can leave yourself economically vulnerable. If you see yourself getting extra cash, consider putting it into your emergency funds instead.

7. Live within your means

Social media is great for many things, but also enforces terrible habits.

It would help if you didn’t fall under their influence when others splurge and recommend luxury products. You’ll have to have horse blinders on, metaphorically speaking, keep to yourself, and live within your means.

Also, if you find yourself getting a pay increase, don’t use that as a reason to spend more constantly. While you’re still in debt, you should use that pay increase to your advantage to help you stop debt sooner.

8. Cook at home

Eating outside the house can be fun but will always be costly.

Instead, learning to cook from home will be a more affordable choice. It’s an essential skill you get to know and might even become a relaxing hobby.

If you’re busy, you can buy in bulk and freeze the ones you’re not eating so you always have something to eat on busier days.

9. Buy second-hand

There are tons of second-hand goods, so if you need to replace or buy a new item, consider buying second-hand.

Just be wise about where you’re getting them from; ideally, you should have someone with you when you get these items. Also, always inspect them before agreeing to a purchase.

10. Embrace minimalism

Minimalism isn’t just an aesthetic choice but a lifestyle change.

By embracing minimalism, you teach yourself not to be so eager to purchase material things. You learn to value items that last a long time and reduce your hunger for retail therapy. At the same time, it teaches you to let go of items you might not need in your home.


These tips should teach you how to manage your debt better and which strategies you can adopt to avoid debt sooner. If you’re struggling to manage your debt, apply these strategies to unburden yourself from debt as quickly as possible.

Photo by Artem Podrez.