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This New and Creative Strategy Can Help You Pay Off Student Loan Debt

This New and Creative Strategy Can Help You Pay Off Student Loan Debt

Debt and art – these are two words that tend to have radically different connotations. Debt, particularly student loan debt, is a term riddled with dread, worry, and even regret. Art, on the other hand, is light, fun, and uplifting. It’s no wonder so many people are turning to art to help lighten the process of paying off their student loan debt.

With so many graduates defaulting or struggling to pay off heaps of loans, a new and creative strategy is needed to help them bridge the financial gap. Color mapping is a new trend that many people are using to take back control of their finances.

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What is Color Mapping?

Essentially, color mapping is the process of creating a visual representation of your debt. While this may sound like even more of a bummer, the images used are not tedious charts or graphs. Instead, the images you can use to create your color map are beautifully intricate – like these. Being able to visualize and track your progress through imagery is not only motivating, but empowering, as you observe how much of an impact you can actually make.

How to Use a Color Map

Once you’ve decided on an image, you have to determine what each little unit or “swirl” of your map means. For example, a swirl might equal $100, 1 week, or 1 payment – whatever medium of measurement makes the most sense for your particular goals and amounts of debt. The process is similar to a paint by number, except you are deciding the colors. Once you complete an action associated with paying off the debt, such as making a payment, simply color in one unit. (You’ll want to have a vivid variety of colored pencils or markers on hand.) So your goal might be to make a $50 payment every single week. For each week you make a payment, color in one unit. It may seem too easy, but people are already touting the effectiveness of this method for tracking student loan debt, credit card debt, and other goals like weight loss.

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Why Color Maps Work

While there is no research that specifically examines why color mapping works as a motivational tool to pay off student loans, it’s not hard to decipher some possible reasons. First off, having a visual representation of your debt on display gives a sense of unfinished business – you can see what work still needs to be done. And if you’re a Type A personality, the simple fact of having an unfinished color map may snap you into action even quicker. Unlike your actual debt, which is a distant and abstract concept, a color map sits in your home or office, giving you an immediate understanding of how far you have to go.

Studies have shown that the use of “visualized information” has increased astoundingly over the years, making our brains wired for it. Visuals are processed in our brain much faster than words (you know, that awful stuff that’s written all over your student loan statements). They also require 50% of the brain and 70% of your sensory receptors, so it would be tough to ignore your vivid color map each day.

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Another reason why color maps may work is due to information overload – the constant influx of data to and from our brains every day. Imagery eliminates the need for complex thinking and provides relief from all of this interpretation. Thus a color map makes your once-massive and confusing debt problem seem much easier to tackle. Make a payment, color a unit, make progress toward financial freedom.

For those who frequently forget to make payments, color maps will provide you with a much more memorable reminder. According to research, humans recall a whopping 80% of what they see, 20% of what they read, and just 10% of what they hear. So if better reminders are what you need to pay off debt faster, color mapping may be worth a shot.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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Last Updated on August 20, 2018

30 Fun Things To Do With Your Friends Without Spending Much

30 Fun Things To Do With Your Friends Without Spending Much

Spending time with friends is, in and of itself, a great way to pass the time without spending a lot of money. But if you and your friends are used to going out to clubs, pubs or eateries together as your way of hanging out, then you can change it up a bit and save some money too.

No matter where you live, there are plenty of places to go and do fun things that don’t cost a lot.

If you are having trouble convincing your friends to do things on the cheap, then be upfront with them. Tell them straight out that you can’t spend that kind of money right now — and don’t let them pay for you either. But here are some great alternatives you can offer.

30 Fun Things To Do With Friends Without Spending Much

1. A potluck dinner party. Host a dinner party and ask everyone to bring a dish to share. If you are not comfortable with cooking, maybe try and learn how to cook a new dish together with your friends.

2. Host a spa day. Give each other manicures. Try out new hairstyles. Make some facial masks or exfoliates using natural, at-home ingredients. Then drink mimosas.

3. Movie marathon. Log into Netflix and watch every episode of “Stranger Things” Or do an ’80s movie marathon, watching “Pretty in Pink,” “The Breakfast Club” and all of our old favorites. Don’t have a Netflix membership? Get the free trial just for the marathon!

4. Pinterest party! You know all of those cool Pinterest crafts you say you’re going to do? Do them. At home one night with friends. Then make up some of those bacon-wrapped whatevers you’ve been dying to try!

5. Go to the park. Pack a picnic. Hang out. Watch people. Play on the swings.

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    6. Have an organization party. Set up a day of each weekend where you go to each of your friends’ houses and help them clean out a closet, a room, a garage, whatever. Serve drinks and food and trade stuff among yourselves.

    7. Hold a yard sale. After all of that cleaning, why not hang out together and make some extra cash too?

    8. Concerts in the park. All summer long, many parks host free concerts. Go with your friends. Hang out, bring a picnic dinner. This is a very relaxing way to chill out on a hot summer night after work.

    9. Volunteer together. Offer to do the yard work for the local senior center or hang out with the kids at the YMCA. After a few hours of volunteering together, you will have new respect for each other and something new to chat about.

    10. Play board games. Drag out the Scrabble or the Yahtzee. You can hang out and play all sorts of games with large groups or small ones. Hold a tournament and compete against each other. Here’re some board games ideas.

    11. Video game tournament. Not into board games? OK. Well, how about a video game tournament? Whether it’s the latest dancing game or “Call of Duty,” play against each other and award prizes (or food) to the winners.

    12. Grab a ball and a bat and go play baseball at the local park. Grab a basketball or a tennis racket. Most parks have courts and fields you can use for free as long as there isn’t an organized event going on.

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    13. Go to the school play. This might cost a little for admission, but it’s a great way to support your community and have a fun time.

    14. Iron Chef night. Bring your friends over and have an Iron Chef night where you cook dinner out of only the items in your pantry. No buying anything!

    15. Go dumpster diving. Yup. I said it. Check out the dumpsters in your area and see what you can find. You might even find dinner! Here are some tips for respectful diving.

      16. Go to yard sales. Take all that money you made at your yard sale and cruise around your town together looking for cool stuff. Maybe you could even fix something up and resell it.

      17. Go fishing.

      18. Go camping.

      19. Find some cool trails around your town and go hiking. Here’re some of the best hiking trails you should try.

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      20. Get out the bikes and bike everywhere for a weekend.

        21. Dig out the old croquet set — or borrow your Mom’s — and play croquet. Do it! Totally fun.

        22. Swap movies and music. Have everyone bring over a box of old movies and CDs they don’t want anymore — or don’t watch anymore. Then swap with abandon.

        23. Go on a walking tour of your town. Most towns or cities have a historic district. Find out if there is a walking tour available. If not, make one up!

        24. Scavenger hunt. Put your friends to the test — yes, this is for grown-ups — to find different things in your city…like a certain bike rack, a vintage sign, that sort of thing. The winner gets a dinner cooked by the losers.

        25. Find out when the free days are at your local museum or zoo. Most have them and they can be great fun to visit with friends.

        26. Hold a quilting bee. No, you don’t have to be fancy — or old — for this. Grab some old T-shirts that you love, old jeans, whatever. Cut them into squares and sew them together. Who knows? Maybe it will become a regular thing?

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        27. Go to Open Mic night. Your town is likely harboring some great talent at an open mic night that has no cover and cheap drinks!

        28. Go to a religious service. Even if you’re not religious, going to a service in an unfamiliar religion can be enlightening and a great way to meet new people.

        29. Find a swimming hole. Head to the old town swimming hole — or find a new one. What a great way to spend a lazy afternoon with friends.

          30. Start a book club, card club (canasta anyone?), sewing club or scrapbooking club. Something you and your friends like. My parents used to belong to a cooking club where once a month all of their friends gathered at one house and the host family cooked a meal from a different country. I learned a lot about food that year.

          You don’t really need to spend much to have lots of fun with your friends! Pick a few of these ideas and start trying them out this weekend with your friends!

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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