Debt-Free Doesn’t Equal Deprivation

By, Nicole Crimaldi

The title of this post is a wild concept to me, but after g-chatting with a dear friend of mine the other day, I know it’s true.

My best friend (who we will call “Financial Diva”) somehow manages to always look fabulous, pay rent in her great Streeterville apartment AND have a social life.

I’ve always wondered how she does it. The reason being is that somehow I am NOT debt free, even though we make about the same salary, have about the same rent and run in the same social circle.

I had no intention of making our conversation into a post, but after talking to her I couldn’t resist. This financial diva keeps it simple: she thinks ahead and doesn’t spend more than she makes.

“I go by the number one rule that my Mom told me, who (even though my Dad is a stockbroker) controls all of the finances in the house. She always said, “Absolutely do NOT, under ANY circumstances, spend more than you make.”

What a simple concept that would revolutionize our whole country’s debt problem. Easier said than done, right?!

Here are some of Financial Diva’s other confessions:

“I re-invent my closet every so often- aka I buy some cheap jewels from Forever 21 to snaz up some old outfits.”

“I allow myself to go out only one night a week. If I go out two, I limit the cocktails I buy at the bar.”

“I don’t eat out too often. I cook a lot…which really cuts down on the spending.”

“You have to make some things totally untouchable. Set up your accounts so that if you do need more money, you won’t dig into your IRA and face withdrawal penalties.”

“I set the limit on my credit card pretty low so that it is physically impossible for me to charge more than I can pay off each month. Since I use my credit card for everything, I don’t have to monitor my checking account as closely or worry about accumulating debt.”

“I buy one big thing a month. If it’s a pair of shoes, GREAT….if it’s a medical bill….ugh, FINE.”

“I still contribute to my IRA and savings account every month- even though I’m pissed every time it automatically withdrawals from my account.”

“ANNDD I sell a lot of my old designer purses/shoes/jewelry on eBay and that money is strictly fun money.”

“Would I rather get my hair dyed this month or go to the dentist so I don’t have a root canal the next month? I think my hair can wait.”

“The bottom line is: do I want to buy more? YES! But am I any less happy? Absolutely not. I’ve never been happier!””


What financial tricks do you use? Which of Financial Diva’s tips do you think would be the most useful for you and your situation?

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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