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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.
- You finally stop eating Top or Maruchan Ramen and move up to frozen meals that are on sale.
- You replace Top/Maruchan Raman Packets with Top/Maruchan Instant Bowls.
- You decide to spend an extra 25 cents on the organic cilantro.
- You stop ‘forgetting’ to scan an item in the self-checkout.
- You occasionally “decline” a free sample instead of saying “yes” to everything.
- You start buying brand name condiments instead of the store brand.
- You go back to store brand items after realizing they are just as good compared to brand name.
- “Hillshire Farms” is now on the menu for lunch meat.
- You start diving into the world of “fresh beef” instead of “premade frozen patties”.
- You upgrade from Campbell’s soup to Campbell’s chunky soup (as long as they are on sale).
- You find yourself going to only 2 different grocery stores instead of 4 every week to get the lowest prices.
- You move one section over and spend an extra dollar for a 6-pack of a craft beer.
- You treat yourself by getting a custom 6-pack of microbrews for $10, but only once.
- Gallon sized ice cream get’s replaced with either a private label ice cream or Ben and Jerrys at 50% off.
- You realize that bread isn’t supposed to taste bland when you go beyond 99 cent price point.
- You start investing in your well-being by not getting single-ply toilet paper.
- Pickles are good, but they are phenomenal when you buy Claussen.
- Orange drink becomes Orange Juice.
- Tonys Pizza takes the backseat to DiGiorno & Freschetta.
- “Cage Free” eggs suddenly matter.
- You start avoiding Walmart.
Eating In General
- “Sleep” is no longer considered dinner.
- You have cans to donate for a food drive.
- You no longer donate “ramen” for a food drive.
- Chipotle / Qdoba become new ‘Mexican’ staples. Remember your Taco Bell roots!
- Burger King & Mcdonalds no longer become staples, you instinctually want to try 5 Guys and in-n-out.
- “Chinese” food isn’t the only oriental cuisine that exists.
- You experience the world of Pho and Thai.
- “Fasting” for 2 meals a day is optional and no longer mandatory.
- Cooking “for enjoyment” starts making more sense.
- Your pet’s nutrition is more of a concern.
- You start tasting the difference in the quality of a steak.
- Your “meal prep Sunday” isn’t a slice of Little Ceasars Pizza (though I’m not opposed)
- Mom & Pop restaurants are more appealing compared to chains.
Around The House
- You kind of start feeling bad that you are torrenting your favorite show.
- Getting both Netflix and Hulu Plus doesn’t sound crazy anymore.
- Your home mysteriously has AirWicks.
- You buy a 2nd or 3rd floor light instead of carrying the same one around your home.
- Buying an Amazon Firestick (modded) feels like a good compromise with paid and *cough*non paid*cough* streaming.
- You actually pay $2 for an app.
- You have more than 1 bottle of wine and 1 bottle of vodka lying around.
- Alcohol is stored for extended periods of time.
- You buy a WinRar License.
- You don’t buy the student edition of Microsoft Office.
- Plates & Bowls will start matching.
- You have a matching set of cooking pots & pans.
- A butter knife stops doubling as a steak knife.
- Swiffer becomes an alternative over using a mop.
- You say “fuck it” and get a Spotify or apple music subscription.
- Plastic plants are swapped with real plants.
- Time Value of [money/happiness/etc] becomes practical instead of a concept
- You briefly entertain the thought of getting a maid but realize that it’s still costly. But at least you entertained it!
- You don’t cringe at the thought of going out for lunch with coworkers.
- You occasionally go to bars outside of happy hour.
- You use Uber/Lyft even after you used your “1st Free Ride” promo.
- Buying skins or extra content in “free” videos games isn’t that big of a deal.
- You take time to seek answers to questions such as “what’s a 401K?”, “what’s an IRA?”.
- Vacations happen more than once every 5 years.
- An increased ability to properly estimate (but without going over) the price of items on The Price Is Right.
- Paying to go to a “premium” movie theater becomes totally worth the extra $2.
- 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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