Lifehacks: Till Debt Do You Part

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I don’t have cable. There, I said it. So many households nowadays seem to both frown upon kids watching television, and use the television as a (not really) cheap form of entertainment for the whole family. But, I still don’t have cable.

til-debt-do-you-partPart of that is because I’d like to avoid the commercials that seem to cater to children my daughter’s age. Indeed, I get to hear it at our best friends’ home fairly often – “I want one of those” after a commercial comes on. Instead, we have a selection of DVDs, which I’m sure isn’t totally nullifying the marketability of a young mind, and when there’s a television show that we would watch together, we either rent it, borrow it from the library, or stream it. It makes things a little easier, I’d like to think.

I also don’t have cable because it’s quite simply an expense I can’t explain away in my head. Tea from the coffee chain. Yes, that’s necessary for my sanity. New books? An educational expense. Organic fruit? Sorry, only if it’s on sale. Cable? Nope. Not gonna happen. I could get seven cups of tea for the price of basic cable, after all.

But one show has popped up on my radar. It was on when we were visiting the best friends’ house about a month ago, and every time, since. I don’t know if you’ve come across Til Debt Do Us Part, but the synopsis of the show is that these couples have gotten in over their financial heads and Gail Vaz-Oxlade, a no-nonsense kind of gal who knows what she’s talking about, helps them save themselves.

It’s awe-inspiring, seeing how deep some of these couples have gotten in. It’s even more inspiring watching them learn everything from the very basic budgeting, to how to restructure their lives – and end up with a plan in place to have all of their debts paid off within a few years.

Vaz-Oxlade’s got a new book out, and her uber-cute website offers some of the best, most basic, totally doable tips around. Including how to fill out her budget worksheet, the secret of the ‘magic jars’ and information about RRSP contributing – and why you should be maximizing your contribution room sooner than later.

What did watching the show do for me? It made me see that my small amount of consumer debt is unnecessary, because with careful budgeting, I should be able to live within my means. After playing around with the budgeting worksheet, I found out that with strict enforcement of the jars, I’ll be able to pay off my decade-old student loans within three years.

Imagine if all of your debts could be paid off within three years, or less. What’s holding you back?

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