I know that sometimes I seem like a broken record to my family and I am sure they get tired of hearing me say that we need to watch our spending, but really, it’s reality. I’m sure it is for you too.
Even for me, it is HARD to refrain from buying certain things here and there. Such as a candy bar in the checkout line at Walmart. Or stopping for a Ham and Cheese Croissant at the donut shop right before my work. It seems little at the time because it’s just a couple dollars, but I am here to tell you, it ADDS up and quick at that.
I know that I am the one that got myself to where I am today. Credit card debt, student loan debt, the list can go on…so coming to the reality that things need to change in order to get out is sometimes hard to get used to, but has to be done.
So, choosing things that need to be cut out of the budget is a necessity if I ever want my family to be debt free. And, believe me, I am not a master at these yet..but we are getting there.
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- Magazines, books, etc.
So, I used to get a Cosmopolitan every time there was a new one that came out. It was HARD having to stop buying those. I am a big reader, and love books too. But, if I have other priorities that need paid, then these things have to wait. I can resort to internet, I suppose. Or, re-read the books that I already have. (I have literally read the Twilight Series 10 times). Shhh…..
You can also resort to going to the library and getting a book for FREE. Unless you forget to bring it back, in which you will gain more debt in the form of overdue fees. You can also look for free E-books, or teasers, is what I call them. The money you save, put towards a debt you have.
2. Bottle Water
I know you have heard this one before. But, it is seriously a waste of money, unless you are taking a road trip somewhere or going camping. But, really all you need is a water filter or a filtered pitcher and drink it old fashioned way..in a glass. I know this may not work for everyone, but this has really helped our family. We do have a fridge that dispenses water though, so it was an easy decision.
3. Movies, music, cable TV
It is probably no surprise that I am going to tell you to cut cable. It is really the most unnecessary thing that anyone can have. And this is coming from a TV junkie. But, in all reality, it is so expensive! My Husband is a HUGE sports fanatic, so we compromised and got the lowest plan available. We were one of those people that went to Redbox probably every weekend and sometimes throughout the week. Although movies are only $1.50/night, that still adds up!
So, again, we compromised and we decided to opt for a Chromecast. This is a media streaming device. You hook it up to your TV and wireless network and can literally stream TV, movies, games, youtube etc. Also there is Firestick, and Roku in addition to Chromcast. You buy the device and then opt to subscribe to Hulu, or netflix or any other network with movies and TV. So instead of paying $100 or more a month for Cable, you can choose to purchase one of the three devices, and then pay a monthly fee of $7-$14/ month for Hulu or netflix. Seems like an easy decision to me.
4. Eating Out
I’m going to be completely honest. We still have a huge problem with this, but I gotta say, we have drastically cut down. I’m the first to say how hard it is to not drive through a drive-thru real quick to save time. We are super busy family and sometimes it is unavoidable. But, there are smart ways to eat out. Find and join email programs for your favorite restaurants and they will send you coupons or gift certificates. If you have kids, like us, find restaurants where they eat free at kidseatfree.com. Anywhere you can cut, do it. You can also earn gift cards with Swagbucks and use those. You can also look on Groupon for coupons and promotions going on. Win, win.
5. New car, toys, phones, clothes etc.
Really, this should be a given. If you are in debt, don’t get another loan for something that you don’t need. It is understandable if your car just up and quits and you have to get a new one, but if you have a car that is in good working condition, don’t go and add more debt.
I hardly buy new clothes for myself. I do have a slight problem with getting my kids clothes however. But, I try to be smart. I love to shop second hand stores like Swap.com, and Once Upon a Child and even Walmart, when they have good deals. They have just as good of clothes as JCPenny or Kohl’s does. Doing this saves me tons of money in the end.
Also, it’s no surprise that I am a huge advocate for Ebates. Ebates gives you cash back for literally everything you purchase online, so don’t wait to sign up..do it NOW if you shop online for anything, not just clothes.
6. Getting your Hair or Nails done
Not going to lie, I love to get pampered, but when I have tons of other expenses that needs to be paid, this has to be put on the back burner. You can do it at home, yourself. If you do do it, do it with a gift certificate or coupon that you find. Ask your relatives for gift cards during holidays or birthdays…then you have the means to get that done. If you are anything like me, I wouldn’t enjoy it as much anyways if I knew I was paying for something I didn’t need over paying a bill that needed paid. Who wants to feel guilty? Not I.
7. Things around the house
Don’t go into a big reno on something that can wait. Makes no sense to gain more debt or spend more money on something that could wait until your other debts are paid first. I get it, if you have something go wrong and it needs repaired pronto, but just be realistic.
Believe me, I know that saving money is HARD. Not being able to spoil yourself is HARD. We work hard for our money, and it is OKAY to splurge on a meal out here and there. Just don’t go overboard. Really think about your wants vs needs here and things should come to light.
I’m still learning how to do all these things as well as my family. We are in it together though, and we have come a long way. We have had emergencies years ago that we are still paying off, and we have car trouble out of the blue. I have student loan debt out the wazoo…but, we manage by doing things like I have mentioned above. Putting any extra money that you save towards debts really works, I am here to tell you that first hand. Just prioritize and figure out whats the most important to you.
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