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Become Debt Free By 30 with these Six Rules

Become Debt Free By 30 with these Six Rules

I wish someone had told me when I was in college that getting a credit card with a student ID was stupid. I wish someone else would have explained to me what 21 percent interest on store credit cards meant.

Before I turned 30, I was massively in debt with kids, student loans, and no end in sight. Fortunately, with a lot of reading and a lot less spending, I got out of debt before I turned 40. It was a long road–and no fun at all. If I had only realized when I left for college that I was not going to be able to live the way my parents did (after working for 20 plus years, I might add), I might have saved myself a lot of pain. Then again, I was pretty stubborn in my 20s, so maybe not. Either way, you can avoid debt and be debt free by the time you’re 30, if you follow these rules:

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1. Don’t go to college unless you have to.

This goes against everything everyone told you in high school, I know. I thought I had to go to college in order to “be a person.” Turns out, it’s not remotely true. If you want to be a nurse, a lawyer, a physical therapist or a rocket scientist, then yes, go to school and go to a good one. But if you want to be a writer, a welder, a restauranteur, a baker or something else entirely, avoid the four-year degree. Look instead for a community college that offers certification or an Associates degree in your potential field. Apprentice with someone to learn how to be a carpenter or commercial fisherman. My husband has a degree in English and taught himself computer programming. He is now a leading computer programmer and systems administrator. Be practical about what your job plans are and avoid the massive debt.

2. Spend less than you make.

This sounds obvious, but it is sometimes harder than you think. You need to determine just how much you bring into your household each month, and spend less than that. So, even if that couch looks really awesome, you can’t get the store credit card (even if they give you 10 percent off just for filling out the application). If you need a car, you have to save up for it and take the bus or the subway until then. It seems like a pain sometimes, but when you realize how much you are not spending every month in payments to this, that and the other thing, especially once the couch is stained and the car needs repairs, it’s really much better–and more freeing to not be working just to pay off debts to someone else each month.

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3. Pay yourself first.

Yes, I know that you have to pay the rent and the power bill and the cell phone bill and the cable bill. But pay yourself first. Take 10 percent right off the top and send it to your savings account. This way, if your car (the one you paid cash for) does have a problem, you’ll have enough saved to pay for the repairs or buy a new one without damaging your monthly bills. If you are having trouble paying at least 10 percent of each check to yourself, then consider lowering your expenses. Get rid of cable and watch shows on the Internet. If you can’t afford your Internet bill, visit the library to use their wi-fi (and get more free entertainment by borrowing books).

4. Make debt your first bill.

If you have debt, make it your first bill (except for rent and savings). After saving an emergency fund of about $1,000 in the beginning, work towards paying down debt your first priority. After you pay yourself via the savings account, pay as much extra as you can towards debt. Reduce your other expenditures in order to get that debt paid down.

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5. Don’t use credit cards for everyday expenses.

Unless you are using your credit card to save up rewards or miles and are sure you can pay it off each month, do not use your credit card for everyday expenses. If you must keep a credit card, and you really shouldn’t, keep one and put it away for emergencies only. Like that pair of glasses you need when yours break or the car repair that you don’t yet have enough in savings in to cover. As you start saving money in your emergency fund, you will have cash to depend on instead of credit and you can eliminate credit cards from your life entirely. Despite what it felt like in college, credit cards are not free money.

6. Stop paying for stuff you don’t need.

Gym memberships, cable TV, concerts, movie rentals. Get rid of it. Stop paying for extra stuff. Learn how to shop cheap. Go to thrift stores for basic needs like utensils for the kitchen, a chair for the living room, new clothes. There are lots of groups on Facebook now advertising used items for sale. Go for a run or a bike ride instead of going to the gym. Use a yoga home video instead of paying for classes. Skip the spendy concert and go to a free concert in the park. Soon, you’ll realize that forking over your hard-earned cash for stuff that nets you very little in return is more painful than going without it.

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More by this author

Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Want to Get Free Product Samples Like Bloggers and Beauty Gurus Do? Read This.

Want to Get Free Product Samples Like Bloggers and Beauty Gurus Do? Read This.

Imagine receiving a regular supply of free samples through your letterbox?

These free samples by mail could include things such as cleaning products, cosmetics and packaged food.

Free samples are a great way to try out some of the latest products. One week you may have a new toothpaste to try – the next week you may be snacking on a delicious chocolate cookie sample.

As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life. And by requesting free samples by mail (I’ll show you how shortly), you’ll have not just variety – but fun too!

Tell Me More About Getting Free Samples Sent to My Door!

So, it looks like I’ve caught your interest. That’s great news!

Just before I introduce you to 10 places where you can get free samples by mail, let me clarify a couple of things.

Firstly, all the places I’ll talk about are currently active in sending out free samples to consumers. (In other words, no links to out-of-date or dead pages!)

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Secondly, location is key. If you live in North America, then you’ll have a wide selection of places to sign up to. In other locations (for example, Africa, Asia and Europe), you’ll have fewer choices – but free samples by mail are still a possibility.

Lastly, to whet your appetite for the freebies, here’s a short list of product examples:

  • Pet food.
  • Beauty products.
  • T-shirts.
  • Greeting cards.
  • Wallets.
  • Snack bars.
  • Vitamins.

Free Samples by Mail… Tell Me Where to Get Them!

It’s now time to share my recommendations for the best sites to claim free samples from.

Let’s start with…

#1 SampleSource

    This company sends out boxes of 6-12 free samples about four times a year. Products include baby wipes, cereals and tissues. Register with SampleSource to be notified of the availability of their free samples. (Canada and U.S. only.)

    #2 Influenster

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      As their name suggests, Influenster wants to send free samples to you in exchange for you sharing about the products on your social media accounts. Once you’ve become a member (join for free!), they’ll send you a box of free goodies every few months. The more you share pictures and reviews of the products – the more free samples they’ll send you! (All major territories.)

      #3 PINCHme

        This organization will send you free samples in the hope that you’ll then go out and buy the equivalent full-size products. To receive regular boxes of free food, drink and cosmetic samples (and sometimes coupons), then sign up and create your profile. (U.S. only.)

        #4 House Party

          Thinking of throwing a house party? If yes, then be sure to sign up with this company. They’ll send you a box of ‘themed’ products and services that you can hand out at your party. Register with House Party. Wait for the fun freebies to be mailed to you. And then start sending out your party invites! (Worldwide.)

          #5 YoFreeSamples

            This site is a great resource for a whole host of free samples that can be mailed directly to your door (with no survey requirements!). You’ll find anything from books to perfume, with new offers listed daily. Head over to their site to see what’s currently available. (Mostly U.S., with occasional offers for other countries.)

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            #6 Magic Freebies

              The U.K.’s most popular freebie site. Register for their email newsletter, and they’ll send you a daily email with eight free sample offers. These include products such as disposable razors, dog bowls, and even fake tan! So, what are you waiting for? (U.K. only.)

              #7 SweetFreeStuff

                Since 2002, this simple site has been linking to the best free sample offers currently available. To get started, sign up to their daily email newsletter, which contains links to the latest offers. As well as free samples, SweetFreeStuff also gives information on coupons and deals. (Worldwide.)

                #8 Sample A Day

                  Would you like to receive a notification of a new free sample every day? Well, that’s the promise from this site. They claim to thoroughly research all offers, ensuring there are no catches or hidden surveys! From baby products to socks, this site is sure to have something for you. Registration is super-easy. Simply enter your email address. (Australia, Canada, U.K. and U.S. only.)

                  #9 Pretty Thrifty

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                    This site specializes in free beauty products, but also lets you claim free samples such as energy drinks, snack bars, and even magazine subscriptions. Pretty Thrifty has more than 85,000 followers on social media, so clearly knows how to attract free sample hunters. One thing that makes Pretty Thrifty stand out from most of their competitors, is that their email newsletter is available in daily, weekly and monthly formats. (Mostly U.S., with occasional offers for other countries.)

                    #10 CrazyFree

                      My final tip for getting the best free samples by mail, is Australian company CrazyFree. Their funky website offers big brand free sample offers, which currently include items such as Dolce & Gabbana perfume, Coke Zero, and Happy Dog pet food. To claim the offers, select the free samples you would like, and then complete their registration form. (Australia, U.K. and U.S. only.)

                      Receiving regular free samples by mail is a fabulous way of testing out the latest products on the market (and some that aren’t even on the market yet!)

                      You’ll impress your friends and family with all the free stuff you’ll be receiving. And take it from me… it’s a fun, free and rewarding hobby.

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