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I love to talk about cutting debt, making money via side hustles, saving money and all things in between. But sometimes I find myself getting caught up in the grind of climbing out of debt that I neglect to take in the finer things in life. I’m not talking about eating a $100 steak (because no matter how much money I make, I can’t even). As you climb your way out of the dirty basements, it’s good to celebrate milestones.

Even though I have been making massive progress on my student loans over the last year and a half, I’ve been paying it down for many years.

As you continue to make money and pay down debt, it’s always good to take a minute to reflect on what you’ve accomplished. On the flipside, you might have noticed these signs that you are improving financially.

Ramen Meme Drake

Enjoy the Finer Instant Noodle.

Grocery Stores

  1. You finally stop eating Top or Maruchan Ramen and move up to frozen meals that are on sale.
  2. You replace Top/Maruchan Raman Packets with Top/Maruchan Instant Bowls.
  3. You decide to spend an extra 25 cents on the organic cilantro.
  4. You stop ‘forgetting’ to scan an item in the self-checkout.
  5. You occasionally “decline” a free sample instead of saying “yes” to everything.
  6. You start buying brand name condiments instead of the store brand.
  7. You go back to store brand items after realizing they are just as good compared to brand name.
  8. “Hillshire Farms” is now on the menu for lunch meat.
  9. You start diving into the world of “fresh beef” instead of “premade frozen patties”.
  10. You upgrade from Campbell’s soup to Campbell’s chunky soup (as long as they are on sale).
  11. You find yourself going to only 2 different grocery stores instead of 4 every week to get the lowest prices.
  12. You move one section over and spend an extra dollar for a 6-pack of a craft beer.
  13. You treat yourself by getting a custom 6-pack of microbrews for $10, but only once.
  14. Gallon sized ice cream get’s replaced with either a private label ice cream or Ben and Jerrys at 50% off.
  15. You realize that bread isn’t supposed to taste bland when you go beyond 99 cent price point.
  16. You start investing in your well-being by not getting single-ply toilet paper.
  17. Pickles are good, but they are phenomenal when you buy Claussen.
  18. Orange drink becomes Orange Juice.
  19. Tonys Pizza takes the backseat to DiGiorno & Freschetta.
  20. “Cage Free” eggs suddenly matter.
  21. You start avoiding Walmart.

 

Eating In General

  1. “Sleep” is no longer considered dinner.
  2. You have cans to donate for a food drive.
  3. You no longer donate “ramen” for a food drive.
  4. Chipotle / Qdoba become new ‘Mexican’ staples. Remember your Taco Bell roots!
  5. Burger King & Mcdonalds no longer become staples, you instinctually want to try 5 Guys and in-n-out.
  6. “Chinese” food isn’t the only oriental cuisine that exists.
  7. You experience the world of Pho and Thai.
  8. “Fasting” for 2 meals a day is optional and no longer mandatory.
  9. Cooking “for enjoyment” starts making more sense.
  10. Your pet’s nutrition is more of a concern.
  11. You start tasting the difference in the quality of a steak.
  12. Your “meal prep Sunday” isn’t a slice of Little Ceasars Pizza (though I’m not opposed)
  13. Mom & Pop restaurants are more appealing compared to chains.

Around The House

  1. You kind of start feeling bad that you are torrenting your favorite show.
  2. Getting both Netflix and Hulu Plus doesn’t sound crazy anymore.
  3. Your home mysteriously has AirWicks.
  4. You buy a 2nd or 3rd floor light instead of carrying the same one around your home.
  5. Buying an Amazon Firestick (modded) feels like a good compromise with paid and *cough*non paid*cough* streaming.
  6. You actually pay $2 for an app.
  7. You have more than 1 bottle of wine and 1 bottle of vodka lying around.
  8. Alcohol is stored for extended periods of time.
  9. You buy a WinRar License.
  10. You don’t buy the student edition of Microsoft Office.
  11. Plates & Bowls will start matching.
  12. You have a matching set of cooking pots & pans.
  13. A butter knife stops doubling as a steak knife.
  14. Swiffer becomes an alternative over using a mop.
  15. You say “fuck it” and get a Spotify or apple music subscription.
  16. Plastic plants are swapped with real plants.

Other Signs

  1. Time Value of [money/happiness/etc] becomes practical instead of a concept
  2. You briefly entertain the thought of getting a maid but realize that it’s still costly. But at least you entertained it!
  3. You don’t cringe at the thought of going out for lunch with coworkers.
  4. You occasionally go to bars outside of happy hour.
  5. You use Uber/Lyft even after you used your “1st Free Ride” promo.
  6. Buying skins or extra content in “free” videos games isn’t that big of a deal.
  7. You take time to seek answers to questions such as “what’s a 401K?”, “what’s an IRA?”.
  8. Vacations happen more than once every 5 years.
  9. An increased ability to properly estimate (but without going over) the price of items on The Price Is Right.
  10. Paying to go to a “premium” movie theater becomes totally worth the extra $2.
  11. You stop picking up pennies, only nickels or better deserve to be in your pocket.

What About You?

Do you have any additional signs that you are making progress financially? I just wanted to have some fun. Feel free to add your own!

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