Debt-Free in 3: August Update (yr 2)

Part 21 Aug Debt-Free in 3

Right on the heels of our Debt-Free in 3 July update, we present you with our August update. August did not bring any significant changes to our debt-free journey. We continued to pay down our closed-end loans – and our revolving debt creeped up a bit more.

The primary cause for increased credit card debt was travel. But the good news is that although we hadn’t put aside any vacation funds, we only added a small amount of card debt in proportion to the amount of travel.

 And just how did we accomplish that? Well, let me share with you that we:

  • Took advantage of group discounts
  • Volunteered work for coveted events
  • Packed meals in lieu of eating out
  • Groupon for getaways

Since I can’t ever seem to do things in “normal” sequence, we’re going to start from the bottom of our list. (I could just go back and change the order of the list, but I don’t want to – so here goes).

Groupon Getaways:

I’ve always been a huge fan of Groupon and love it when I’m in the same line as ticket holders who have paid twice the price for the same event. We’ve been to a lot of shows, hotels and restaurants that we wouldn’t have necessarily experienced had it not been for the great deals at Groupon.

Of course, sometimes you should ascertain all of the pertinent information before you click the “buy” button. Otherwise, you may show up for a steak dinner & burlesque show – only to discover that there is “burlesque” … and then there is “BURLESQUE”. (My old neighbor still talks about how we took them to a strip joint).

Packed Meals:

Most of August we packed meals and snacks for day trips. We made sure we had our water bottles and dined out on very few unplanned meals. My husband and son also went on a hunting trip during this time, and I had lots of meals prepared for them to take. (I actually surprised myself – I made so much that I didn’t have to cook anything else for myself while they were away).

Volunteer Work:

Volunteering is a great way to attend an event that isn’t completely within your budget. In the past we have volunteered at wine festivals, and in my experience, you show up for an hour or two of work and in return you get to enjoy the festivities for free. You avoid the lines, get to be among the first ones allowed into the event (FOR FREE), and usually you get a t-shirt out of it to boot.

The Telluride Mushroom Festival is an event that we’ve wanted to go to for a few years now. The only thing holding us back was the $300 price tag. Guess what? Yep, as a volunteer, you get free admission into all of the lectures, parties and forays. And you get the inside track on what’s happening. I spent the better part of a week camping with the other volunteers, checking wrist bands and doing whatever was needed of me – in exchange for full access to the festival whenever I was not working.

Group Discounts:

Being a member does have its advantages. Most of the first week in August, I spent at the Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference. Although I did have to cover the cost of the conference, airfare and hotels, the prices were significantly reduced with the group discount (and slashed further with the promise of writing related blog posts).

The post excursion alone was a first-class ferry ride, bus transportation, 3 meals, beer tastings and tours. All for just $25. I still had to pay for my hotel, but it was deeply discounted and a write-off as well.

Takeaway:

Just because you are attempting to get out of debt, does not mean that you have to miss out on all the fun. Pick a few things that you want to do (within reason), and then find a way to make them happen within your budget.

Proudly pull out your coupons and Groupons. Take advantage of fun things you want to do with any group discounts that you may qualify for – and don’t be shy about asking for them. Save a ton of dough by brown bagging it. And if you haven’t ever volunteered for an event, by golly – do it now! A few hours of “unpaid” work can really open a lot of doors.

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