How this shopaholic became minimalist after being in debt of $ 120,000
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Christina Mychas realized she had a shopping addiction when she bought a pair of luxury boots at a Black Friday sale in November 2018. And she knew that this addiction was keeping her from paying off her massive debt. student loan.
“I remember getting these [boots], and I was like, ‘Holy shit, I can’t afford it.’ But I still kept them, ”says Mychas.
She had started a YouTube channel in 2018, and her first videos were transport and unboxing, featuring her on the new Zara and Aritzia clothes and Drunk Elephant skincare she had purchased. Mychas spent lavishly on clothes and vacations, and four years after graduating from pharmacy school in 2014 with $ 120,000 in student loan debt, she had barely made a dent in the principal repayment.
For Mychas, the Black Friday 2018 sale was the turning point that made her realize that she was caught in a shopping cycle and not able to fully repay her student loan debt. She began aggressively seeking advice on how to stop shopping and came across personal finance expert Dave Ramsey and YouTubers Aja Dang and Hannah Louise Poston.
Mychas was inspired by Dang’s $ 200,000 debt repayment story, Ramsey’s book “The Total Money Makeover”, Poston’s “no-buy” experience, and the documentary “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things “.
After learning more about minimalism and budgeting from experts and other YouTubers, Mychas decided to embark on a plan to adopt a simpler life and pay off his debt.
Using “no buy” and “low buy” to pay off debt
Mychas initially focused on reducing her expenses and increasing her monthly debt repayment. In order to reduce her clothing purchases, she started doing “no buy” at the start of 2019.
“No buy” is a period when people do not buy items that are not considered essential, such as groceries, health and hygiene products. There is also a “low buy”, which gives individuals more flexibility. During a “buy low” period, you can spend money on non-essential items, but you first set a budget for how much you can spend.
Mychas challenged herself to try a five-month “no-buy” period where she wouldn’t buy any new skin care, clothing or makeup products.
For Mychas, buying less allowed her to understand why she felt the urge to spend. She found that she was more likely to spend when she was bored, sad or anxious.
“I think when you just start slowing down, taking a break, and then allowing yourself to think a little more critically before you spend the money, it really helps you step away from [a purchase]”, says Mychas.
She escaped her “no-buy” trip about four months later when her family dog died. While she temporarily reverted to her old spending habits in 2019, she is thankful that she “didn’t buy” as it showed she was able to refrain from shopping. After her stint with “no buy” she switched to a “low buy” program and still incorporates the lessons of intentional spending into her daily life.
“Everyone has to be a consumer at one point or another, and it just doesn’t help to feel guilty about these expenses when you reasonably have to or even want to spend,” Mychas explains. “Today, I try to balance my spending for reasonable needs without feeling too guilty as long as I am meeting my other financial goals (like saving, investing, budgeting) and planning a purchase.”
Manage your credit card usage
Deep in his shopping addiction, Mychas used a credit card to finance his purchases. During her “low buy” period, she completely stopped using credit cards and only used debit cards and cash so that she could cut spending. It wasn’t until she changed her spending habits that she started using a credit card for her daily purchases.
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Speak up on social networks
Thanks to his “low cost” mindset, Mychas was able to increase his monthly debt repayment from just over $ 1,000 per month to $ 3,000 per month in 2019. While Mychas learned a lot about budgeting and cutting down on her impulse spending with “no buy” and “low buy”, she still constantly thought about shopping and wondered when she was allowed to buy things.
It clicked for her in mid-2020, as she watched Matt D’Avella’s YouTube videos on minimalism: she needed to change her mind about shopping.
“Minimalism introduced me to the idea of ’less but better’ and wanting less overall,” Mychas says. “‘Buying low’ gave me a reason to buy less, minimalism gave me a reason to want less.”
Minimalism, which started as an art movement in the 1960s, has also evolved into a lifestyle movement focused on buying less, decluttering, and buying only what you enjoy and use. For Mychas, that meant selling items she didn’t need or used, appreciating what she already had, and only buying items that were important to her.
After adopting a new minimalist mindset and maintaining the low buy, in September 2021, she announced that she had paid off all of her student loan debt.
When she started taking debt repayment seriously, Mychas’ social media content started to change as well. In early 2020, she started posting videos on how to stop shopping, build a capsule wardrobe, declutter, and “buy cheap.”
Although she feared losing viewers interested in her content and style, she believes her new content resonates more with her nearly 70,000 subscribers. In fact, she found that many of her viewers were interested in sustainability and paid more attention to consumption.
“Overall, that kind of minimalist mindset [is about] be grateful for what you have, use what you have, and only contribute things if they give you value. “
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