Monday, January 18, 2010

Tips on Simplifying

It's no secret around here that for the last several months I've been aggressively using a budget, and trying to simplify life a little bit to get my finances under control and eventually give me more freedom to do the things I'm really passionate about.

I've been following all sorts of blogs with tips on living simply, being environmentally friendly, handling money wisely, and living generously.

I've also been personally convicted the last little while of a need to revamp what I am able to give financially.  Especially since, at the moment, my health is preventing me from committing a huge amount of my time to service projects.

In any case, I appreciated this post at Anne Jackson's blog this morning, dealing with some of these issues. 

My one added tip, that I left in her comments:  If you're struggling with credit card debt, look into getting a bank loan or line of credit and pay off your credit card with this.  You'll likely pay far less interest, and that means you'll pay down what you owe much more quickly.  I recently did this and am now paying less than half the interest rate that I was paying the credit card companies.

Someone asked me the other day about my student loans, but the interest I pay the government on the student loans is even lower than what I am now paying the bank.  Plus, that interest is tax deductible.  So, for the moment, I'm going to maintain my current student loan payments, and send most of my extra cash towards paying down the line of credit that now holds my other accumulated debt.

Oh, one other great tip for those of you who live in Canada and have been collecting HBC rewards points at The Bay, Zellers, and Home Outfitters for years.  I recently checked my points balance and realized that I had accumulated enough points that I could trade them in for a $25 online Chapters credit and a $10 gift card for Itunes.  I'm saving them for a month when money is a little bit tight and it will feel good to buy something just for me.  There's nothing quite like the feeling of a guilt-free book and music purchase!