Goal toward $0 Debt
At present time I can say that I have achieved one of my goals for this year – paying off my debt. In this statement I do not include my +Student_Loans because that is a completely different animal. In retrospect I’m super excited that I was able to pay off my entire medical, dental, and credit debts so that now I have some breathing room.
Making a plan and sticking to it is one of the best things you can do for your financial future. You don’t have to make 6 figures to create a better lifestyle for yourself, but it does take an effort.
As a Nation I don’t think my generation or those after have been taught what it really means to take financial responsibility. I grew up learning to pinch pennies, shop 2nd hand, and pay my bills before I went out to play. Many of these concepts are just not applied to many of the people I know and I can see the stress and misery they have in their life.
The last half decade has been difficult on many people and those that thought their life of leisure and big money would never end were in for a surprise. I have been fortunate to keep my job through all the lay-offs, RIF’s, and general demise of contracts, but I did not come out unscathed.
How did I do this?
Here are a few things I did – this is not a “fun” thing to do – instead it is the difficult thing but something that is paying off.
1. Keep track of your Spending
Keeping track is a pain – I know! But…if you spend a little time each evening and create a list of what you’ve spent your money on, it can make you see how much you’re throwing away each day. If you stop at your coffee shop each morning and spend $5 on a coffee then you’ve spent $25 a week and $100 a month. You can reduce this considerably by brewing your own. No time? Bah! Setup the coffee maker before you go to bed and when you get up flip it on before you take a shower – it’s done before you leave the house and you don’t have to leave 20 minutes early to stand in line for coffee. This saves you money and time.
2. Reduce Spending
It may seem like a no-brainer, but reducing your spending is about a lot more than just talking about it or keeping tabs in your head. Instead make a list of ALL your bills and consider what a need is and what a want is. Your $240 cable bill is a WANT, not a NEED and if you can’t stand the idea of not having something then consider lowering the bill to basic cable instead of having all those extra channels you never watch. If you can cut your bill in half that can help you pay down another debt.3
3. Shop around
Every business out there wants your money so make them work for it. If you’ve got car/home/life insurance then consider shopping around to different companies. You can create a form letter and list all the things you have to have and send it out to several agents. Let them know you are shopping and that you want to know the best offer. If those agents know what you want they will do what they can to entice you to their company and you can benefit. It can save you a few dollars a month or it can significantly reduce your costs. I spent time shopping my insurance and thought I had a good deal with my previous company, but was surprised to find that I could save almost $600 a year with another company and with better coverage.
4. Cooking in Bulk
Batch cooking has saved me money. It might seem like an odd thing, but buying items at the bulk stores was never really a good idea with me because so much food went to waste. Instead I now buy a bulk item like chicken breasts – 6 for $12 and those are so big I can cut them in half and still have a huge portion enough to feed 2 people. This gives me at least 6 meals for 2 people and rice, beans, and frozen veggies are still cheap enough that these meals cost me less than $3. It adds up and by cooking only one day it runs my electricity less because I have several pans in the oven cooking all the meals at once.
5. Increase your Income
As I stated previously Bubblews is a site that offers me the opportunity to write about ANYTHING I want and get paid to do so. It’s free to sign up and it offers me a creative outlet, it doesn’t hurt that I make a few pennies from it. The site doesn’t pay all that much, but when the posts are small (400 characters minimum) I can create a small residual income. The reason I still do it is that it doesn’t require much effort and the extra $50-$100 (or more) a month I make is money that I can apply to bills without feeling the crunch in my regular paycheck. I’m working on other projects in my free time as well and eventually those will bring in some extra income as well.
Thanks for sticking around to read the post. I hope it has helped you realize that your financial health requires some work but the end result can lift your burdens. It takes time to pay down the bills, but the eventual success is up to you.
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