Oftentimes, we create a lifestyle that we cannot afford i.e. “Keeping Up with the Joneses.” This causes our expenses to exceed our income, which makes us rely on credit cards and loans to get by from month to month.
After you have created a budget and determined that you simply cannot afford to live off your income, you feel as if you have hit a wall. On the journey to debt freedom, you should only focus on the items needed for survival – shelter, food, clothing, and transportation (if applicable). Everything else is extra. The first place to start is to see how you can eliminate some of those unnecessary expenses.
Cut the cable
Nowadays, you can find your favorite shows online or via your favorite streaming platform, which is probably less than a fourth of the cost of cable. In some instances, you can even watch live television. If you want to completely cut the plug, utilize sports bars or a friend or neighbor’s house to stay plugged in.
If done correctly, you can save a lot of money by couponing and using cash back apps such as iBotta, Ebates or Dosh. Most grocery stores accept both digital and printable coupons. It does take a bit of work upfront to analyze sales ads and compare them to coupons, but every penny adds up. Be careful though because you could end up overspending and purchasing items you may never use.
Find free entertainment
Libraries, parks, outdoor concerts, and hiking. The free entertainment opportunities are endless. Get creative and be sure to check out local community websites. While most events may cost, I am sure there are a few that you and your family can enjoy without spending a dime.
Ditch the gym membership
Utilizing a gym is not the only way you can work out. Take advantage of the free gym within your community or at work. Keep an eye out for free Yoga in the park classes or walk or run in your neighborhood. YouTube also has a lot of workout videos that you can do right at home.
Cancel monthly subscriptions
Monthly subscription boxes have become a trend. Even though it may only be $10/month, at the end of the year that $120 could have done towards paying off a debt.
Learn to say “No”
Saying no to events and opportunities that you are used to attending will be hard at first, but your budget will thank you. Your friends may not understand at first, but it will be well worth it in the end.
Sell Items you aren’t using
Why hang on to items you have not used in years? Someone else may be able to use it. Ever heard of the phrase “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” Declutter each room one by one and start listing on Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, Mercari, or eBay. The options are endless. You will be surprised how quickly those dollars will add up, and I am sure you will not miss anything.
No eating out
Getting take out is so easy. You do not have to grocery shop, prepare meals, or clean up, but it is not good for your health or your budget. Trust me; your wallet will thank you!
Get a side hustle
Create a blog, delivery food or groceries, or walk dogs. The options are endless. Today, there are so many ways to make extra cash. Sacrificing your time is worth the extra cash to help eliminate your debt.
Impulse shopping is the easiest way to go over your grocery budget. Start planning your grocery trips. Make a list and stick to it. If shopping in store is too tempting, considering ordering online and picking up curbside with Walmart grocery pickup. In addition, the biggest tip of them all, do not grocery shop on an empty stomach!
There you have it! Ten things you can do right now to breathe more room in your budget. Trimming these expenses will help you and overtime, your dedication and sacrifice will pay off!