March's Share the Wealth Question: What's the first thing you'll do once you've completed your debt relief plan?

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March's Share the Wealth Question: What's the first thing you'll do once you've completed your debt relief plan?

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What do you do to make life on a budget more enjoyable, easier, and just plain better? How do you manage fun and your money at the same time? Enter our monthly Share the Wealth contest, and tell us your solution to some of life's challenges. Each month, we'll post a new question and look for your innovative answers. You could win a $250 gift card!

This month's Share the Wealth Question: 

What's the first thing you'll do once you've completed your debt relief plan?

How to Enter 

It's easy to enter; you can share your answer for a chance to win in any of the ways below: 

Official Rules

Of course there are a few rules and regulations; be sure to check them out here. 

All entries must be received by March 25, 2013 to be considered. 

Check out last month's question and winner!

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, what is your favorite, inexpensive, Date Night plan that you enjoy with your sweetheart?

Winner:

I am definitely a photo-savvy individual. My boyfriend constantly teases me about documenting every second of our relationship... except for one time a year. Every February I print out most of my favorite pictures. On Valentine's Day my boyfriend and I buy a cheap bottle of wine, sit in front on a fire, and look through our year of pictures! Because I'm also into crafting we pick our favorites and make an album together that same night! My boyfriend likes to add post-it captions documenting the occasions with words; usually adding in funny moments from the events, or favorite quotes. We have been dating for just about 4 years now and our very first Valentine's Day date together has now become our annual event. No fancy restaurant or gas station teddy bear required!      Lindsey A., Cumberland, Maine 

Other Favorites: 

For my boyfriend I typed up 100 reasons why I love him, cut them up and put them in a mason jar I purchased at the dollar store. It seems like 100 reasons is a lot but if you are truly in love (like I am) the reasons just start to flow. I will give it to him and then he can open it up and take out a reason every day or whenever he wants so he can be reminded of why I love him. I plan on giving it to him while we enjoy a nice home-cooked meal with a movie and games after.      Jennifer E., Houston, Texas 

We pretend we are at a fancy restaurant and have our teenagers pretend to be our servers and cook. They serve us a meal that we made up ahead of time and enjoy music that my daughter plays on her viola. We even give them a small tip for their help in making dinner romantic, fun, and inexpensive. Valentine's Day can be romantic even if you have a bunch of kids at home.      Rachel M., Bear, DE 

My Honey Bear and I go letterboxing. It works like this: you go online and find clues (sometimes riddles) to a secret spot; follow the clues and it takes you to a letterbox! The letterboxes are usually located in really interesting areas that we would have never know of if it weren't for letterboxing! It is totally free and once you find the letterbox inside there is a notebook and a rubber stamp. You stamp your own book with the stamp in the box and then use your personal stamp to stamp their book. There are millions of letterboxes all over the world and whenever we go on vacation we are especially sure to get a letterbox in the state we visit as our goal is to get one in all 50 states! More info at letterboxing.org or atlasquest.com      Desiree L., Jackson, MO 

I know sometimes it's hard but if you can take a vacation day from work and clean the house up, do the laundry, or just all the things she does for you every day. Make her favorite meal by candlelight and bake a cake, or brownies. If nothing else at least try your hardest to treat her like a queen for the evening and don't forget the Red Box movie. Ha!      Luis S., Arkansas City, KS 

My sweetie and I go to our own private "drive-in". We find a spot with public wi-fi and park the car nearby. He gets out his laptop and connects it to the "aux" connection on the car radio. We fire up Netflix ($8 a month) and enjoy "theme" snacks depending on our movie selection for the night. For example: we had goat cheese and crackers for Troy and sushi (from the grocery store deli) for Rashomon. And if we don't have a movie selected ahead of time we bring farmers cheese, crackers and fruit from the garden. It is always great!      Donna B., Smithton, IL 

For a special evening out we like to drive just under an hour to the beach and watch the sun set together. The only cost is the gas to get there. Watching the sun set with all the vivid hues of color melting into the sea, listening to the sea birds call out to each other, and watching them swoop and dive is all free. Very romantic ... even for the over 60 couples like us.      Carolyn F. Brandon, Florida

A night in! It's a night in with the family. I know Valentine's is supposed to be spent with the one you love but my significant other is not the only one I love. I love my kids too! We rent a movie and go to Papa Murphy's and get a heart-shaped pizza. For dessert we make ice cream sundaes. It's our family tradition and we have done it for the last 5 years. Total cost for this night is less than $18.00!      Nicole W., North St. Paul, Minnesota 

My husband and I always receive a gift card to our favorite restaurant for Christmas from my grandmother. We will not use the gift card, or go to that restaurant, until it is Valentine's Day and use the card to pay for our dinner. We then go to Blockbuster and use a coupon for a free movie. We take the movie home and pop popcorn and snuggle up on the couch to watch. We then enjoy our annual dessert of chocolate covered strawberries that I make myself. We get to eat at our favorite place, watch a movie we have been wanting to see, and enjoy our favorite dessert - and it doesn't cost us much at all!      Nikki B., Englewood, Tennessee 

We have these nature trails about 10 minutes from our house. I love taking a picnic dinner there. After, we stroll the trails listening to the crickets and frogs as the sun sets behind the cat tails and Russian olive trees. There's no pressure for a high-priced dinner or show. We have time to talk, hold hands, laugh.... This is where we fell in love when we were teenagers and had no money. Nearly 20 years later it's one of the few placed where I am completely relaxed and present in the moment.      Katrina W, Hermiston, OR  

Go to restaurant.com and buy a certificate for dinner and a movie. This will allow you to save a lot of money and go out for a "pre-paid" evening. Have wine and cheese when you return home, or stop and buy strawberry shortcake at Wegman's. It's the best!      Mary I., Mt. Ephraim, NJ

We look forward to your answers and hope to see you in the Winner's Circle next month!  

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  • When I was younger, I cashed out my 401K to start a business.   I'm a better painter than saleswoman, and the fact that that the recession was starting didn't help.  I lost the whole thing, when I couldn't get things growing.  I lost a heap relocating to another city for a job, and had trouble selling my old home.  Juggling two house payments and emergency car repairs really took its toll on my budget.  For the past few years, I've been paying hundreds of dollars a month in interest, my ability to save is cramped.   I am 41 now, and can't wait to be debt free after the DMP.  The first thing I want to do after becoming debt free is to focus on saving for retirement.

  • Once I am done with my debt program I then can work on paying off my school loans. I cant wait until the day I am completely debt free. I really want to travel and see the world and I will be able to do that one day wit the help of Care One.

  • The first thing I would do is breathe an even bigger sigh of relief than when I I first started the plan! I would honestly start putting some away in a savings account. And most likely finish some things my husband and I would like to do to our house! I'm sure we would also refinance :)

  • I think the first thing I will do is begin contributing a little more to my 401k and then focus on getting the mortgage balance down. My wife and I are in a negative equity situation and are dying to move out of the area we are in. Other than that, I would like to travel a little more frequently.

  • The very first things I will do once my final payment is made is to make my favorite dinner with chocolate cake for dessert, take a nice hot, relaxing bath, make the biggest sigh of relief I can possibly make and sleep (for the first time in a very long time) without the stress of credit card debt hanging over me. The next day I will work on increasing my savings plan while decreasing my parent loans for my son's college costs as well as lowering my mortgage payments.  I once thought I couldn't live without a credit cards but since I have not had one for the past 2 years, I've come to realize the difference between what is nice to have and what is needed.  This has been a very hard learning experience for me but I can truly say I have learned alot.  Thank you all for your help and support.

  • I am going to save up for a new Vehicle and go on Vacation to a NASCAR Track I have not been to.

  • Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate!!!  We never thought the day would come, and now we are only a few (4) months away with completing our debt relief plan.  We will be able to contribute more to our daughter and soon to be son in law's wedding, and then plan a trip to Hawaii!!  We are so thankful to know that the program you provide has helped us!!

  • The first thing that I would do is pray, pray and thank God that with DMP and his help I am totaling over this nightmare.  Then I would realize exactly how much money is coming back into the household, and understand that while I struggled with less and made it work that I can remain on this budget and still live a comfortable life without the extravagances. No more living like the Jones, based on having champagne on a beer budget.  These last 5 years has tought me how to be thrifty, and made me wise to the credit card sink holes that are out there.  Never again will I fall into to them again.

  • The first thing that I will do when I make my final payment is pay it forward.  I typically donate clothes, household items, and furniture to local thrift shops.  After 4-5 years of paying $600-$700 a month to pay off deals, what would one more month hurt?  I plan on giving a donation to charity in the average amount of what I have paid.  Many organizations have helped me and my family out over the years and I want to be able to help them help others.  Currently, I am unable to donate extra as I am trying to make ends meet.  I hope that I can even make more than my monthly payment on the "final" payment to my charity.

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