Photo: Courtesy of Cait Flanders

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A Strategy to Avoid FOMO-Fueled Brunches

Cait Flanders, personal finance blogger and co-host of Budgets and Cents podcast

Amount Paid Off: $30,000 (CAD; or $23,000 USD) of consumer and student debt in two years

Her Debt-Busting Strategy: Trade in an $81 habit for a $5 alternative

Money writer Cait Flanders, based in Victoria, B.C., says that she was able to pay down her debt by wiping her social calendar clean. "Much of my consumer debt was created by going out for meals and drinks that I couldn't afford," Flanders says. The average "nightlife enthusiast" spends $81 per outing twice a week, according to an Eventbrite analysis of more than 10,000 events.

Cutting back doesn't have to mean skipping your weekly catchup with friends. Suggest a $5 coffee date when pals ask to go out. "On a monthly basis, it worked out to $1,700 on average that I was paying off," says Flanders, who budgeted around $50 each month for coffee dates.