Lonely in Debt – 8 Ways to Avoid Isolation
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Having no money when you’re on a journey to become debt free, or saving, can be hard. It’s a scary time, and it can be incredibly lonely being in debt. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of staying in all the time and avoiding contact with the outside world. But just because you don’t have money to spend on activities and days out, doesn’t mean you can’t go out. Here are 8 ways to avoid isolation and feeling lonely when you’re in debt.
1. Join a running group
I joined a running group a few years ago when I was looking for ways to expand my social circle as a stay-at-home-mum. I needed something to get me out of the house, get me fit and improve my confidence. I’d seen a friend on Facebook and all the photos she’d been tagged in, looking so happy and fit and enjoying herself, so I signed up and joined the group.
There are many benefits to joining a running group, and they don’t stop at the health points.
From the social side of things, to meeting new people, it’s not only fun, it’s safer, too as you’re running in a group. Your running group should generally have a selection of smaller groups for different abilities, so you can choose the right one for you. A good running group will have beginner sessions with a supportive run-leader and plenty of helpers.
Some running groups are free, and some carry an annual membership for a small fee. The one I use is volunteer-led and charges a £5 annual membership fee. Membership can be useful for discounts in sports shops, gyms and sports therapies, but membership isn’t compulsory.
2. Do some volunteering in your local community
From dog-walking at your local rescue centre, to helping out in your local woodland, there’s bound to be something that you could get involved in. Perhaps you could put in some hours at your local charity shop, or help out with some administration in your local preschool. Whatever you decide to do, it’s not only your social life that will get a welcome boost. It’s also a great way to build on your skills, which you can add to your CV.
You can find opportunities just by browsing your local noticeboards, or take a look at https://do-it.org for a list of volunteering opportunities near you.
3. Visit your library
Libraries aren’t just for borrowing books, magazines and DVDs. They’re also a great hub for social events such as crafting. Many of them also offer rhyme-time or story-time, and feeding support if you have babies and young children. Other events could include knitting, stitching, games, group walks, lego club or other craft activities.
Check your local library for upcoming events.
4. Attend a free seminar or event
Websites such as Eventbrite.co.uk are a fantastic resource for finding free events you could attend. From business seminars to wellbeing workshops, there’s pretty much always something going on in your nearest town or city.
Free events are often put on by organisations wanting to raise awareness.
You could attend a business seminar on marketing and learn something new to help you in your career, or you might go to a food festival or a green-fest and discover some new eco-friendly tips and tricks for more sustainable living.
Another way of finding free events near you is to do a quick search on Facebook or Google to see what’s on in your area.
Attending a seminar or free event won’t just get you out of the house; it’ll expand you horizons, too.
5. Make Plans with Friends
One sure-fire way to avoid isolation is to get some social events booked in on your calendar.
Get together for dinner with friends and get everyone to bring a dish and/or a bottle. You might be surprised to discover that others are often in the same situation as you. They perhaps don’t have the funds to go out and yet would love an opportunity to catch up.
You could have a themed night like Mexican or Chinese, and each bring something to the table.
Parents with young children will understand the struggle when it comes to getting out socially, but it doesn’t have to cost anything.
Get in touch with some of your children’s friend’s parents and set up some play dates. You could either visit each other’s houses or go down your local play area, armed with a picnic and a blanket. As well as getting out of the house, a good old natter will do you the world of good.
6. Join a Book Club
Or something else with like-minded attendees. Being a part of something where you have similar interests can really expand your social circle. If you love reading, being able to talk about the book with a group of people can bring it to life.
If you love writing, what about joining a writing circle for feedback and critique on your work? Engaging with others who love the written work can get the creative juices flowing and push you outside of your comfort zone.
Alternatively, consider other hobbies you could join a group for. As mentioned above, your local library would be a good place to start; either for a craft group or similar on site, or they may know of other local groups.
7. Become a Mystery Shopper
Did you know that you can get paid to shop? There are a few different types of mystery shopping jobs you can do, from checking stock in a supermarket, to reporting on a service you received during a dining experience.
As well as getting out of the house and interacting with people, you’re earning money, too. Not only that, but it’s a great confidence booster. You could earn anything from £3 for a quick task check to £8 for purchasing testing (and keeping) a product. I like to time these so that I can do them together with my other shopping.
Alternatively, you might pop into a mobile phone store and behave as a mystery shopper enquiring about a contract. Another day, you could be going to a luxury boutique and be paid to try on clothes, as I did.
Sometimes it can be a struggle fitting it all in, so you might find it helpful to read the post I have on how to smash mystery shopping.
8. Start a dog-walking business
If you love dogs, you could look into starting your own dog-walking business. It’s a great way to get you out of the house, earning extra money, and you get exercise, too.
You would need to understand dogs and their behaviour, so basic obedience training skills would be a requirement. If you have a dog, or have had dogs before, you’ll know that no dog is the same and they all need different handling. If you feel you need more experience in this area, you could look at volunteering at your local animal shelter first as mentioned above.
There will be other things to consider, too, such as any other qualifications you may need (animal first aid, perhaps?). This article provides a comprehensive guide in starting a dog-walking business.
If you want to start your own business, you could look at any number of little, or low-cost, opportunities. An idea that starts as a way to get you out of the house and avoid isolation could well become the catalyst for your future.
These are just a few ideas of ways to expand your social situation, which I hope will help combat feeling lonely when you’re in debt.
The only limit is your imagination.
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