Lent, the Christian holiday that begins 40 days before Easter on Ash Wednesday and asks participates to give something up during that time period, is fast approaching (it’s on Feb. 25). Even many nonreligious folks participate in Lent as a way to exercise their willpower and take steps to improve their lives. Some give up material things such as chocolate or soda, and others give up activities such as cussing or using Facebook.
If you’ve been having trouble with credit cards and debt, regardless of your religious affiliation, you might want to try to give up plastic or just plain overspending for 40 days to see how you fare. These posts emphasize cutting back on credit card spending and fees and learning how to live more frugally in hard times. There’s also advice on getting rid of your debt.
Whether for Lent or not, take some time to think about what steps you can to live a financially healthier life.
1. If you’ve been racking up credit card debt, a high interest rate is the last thing you need. Nora at WiseBread offers a simple tip for lowering your credit card interest rate and monthly bills: Just ask. It works, folks; I haggled with my cable company last week and was able to reap some savings.
2. Don’t feel like you’ve sinned if you have a windfall and use some of that money to pay off debt. All debt repayment money is legitimate, regardless of whether you earned it or were given it, says Mrs. Micah.
3. My Two Dollars offers a personal tale of someone dear to him who is deep in credit card debt and gives tips on digging out of debt and dealing with the debt collectors.
4. Gather Little by Little provides a list of 25 ways to use dryer sheets. Why not learn how to make something small go a long way and save money in the process? This will certainly reduce the need for other unnecessary purchases.
5. While cutting back might seem depressing, remember that folks struggled even more so during the Great Depression. Being Frugal gives tips on surviving the recession based on advice from our grandparents; some of the points include utilizing your resources and doing things for yourself.
6. If you’re still feeling blue about having to make sacrifices, have no fear: Not Made of Money explains how you can beat the recession depression.
7. Having trouble sticking to your plan for Lent? Bible Money Matters reminds readers that small decisions equal big results — especially when it comes to budgeting and spending.
8. If you’re doing your best but still struggling to take care of your finances on your own, consider seeking outside help from a financial adviser. A guest post at Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck explains who is qualified to give this type of advice and what questions you should be sure to ask.
9. When it comes to finances, how much is in your bank account is generally within your control. Unfortunately, sometimes there are data breaches and identity theft crimes, which can quickly spiral out of control if you aren’t on top of things. To put the power back in your hands, especially as online fraud spikes, here’s how to safeguard your accounts.
10. If you’re having trouble putting down the plastic, read this post from Trent at The Simple Dollar. He reminds readers that while it might be fun to go shopping, that stuff will never love you back.