No one looks forward to receiving bills, but it’s even more difficult if your bank account doesn’t have enough money to pay them all. Do you ever find yourself making a partial payment, being a couple of weeks late, or skipping a month on a large bill? Are you just paying the interest on your credit cards?
The key to paying down debts quickly is to develop the right plan. The plan involves developing good financial habits for managing money by learning about the basics of personal finance. When the plan is put into action, you’ll find it’s 80% behavioral (money habits) and 20% book knowledge.
A plan for getting out of debt is actually quite simple mathematically; make more money and spend less money. Seems like common sense, but it’s the behavioral part where many people fail, and that’s essential to make a plan for getting out of debt.
Use the following money saving tips to get a head start on paying off your credit cards and loans.
Sell Stuff and Get A Side Hustle
Sell all the “stuff” you haven’t used in months or years. Have a yard sale or use one of the new phone apps to sell things such as sports equipment, older electronics, previous cell phone, clothing you don’t wear, gifts you never used, bicycle, furniture, cds, dvds, and almost anything that is sitting unused in a drawer, closet, or garage. (Who knows, you might even decide you like selling things and get into flipping!)
Then, consider getting a side hustle to help bring in some extra income. A side hustle is doing a gig like Lyft, Uber, Thumbtack, Blogging, Freelancing on Fiverr, or even working a part-time job in the evenings.
Get Rid Of Cable
Get rid of cable. The average user is already paying about $123 per month, and that is expected to rise to $200 a month by the end of 2019. With Internet only, you can pay for Netflix and Hulu for about $20 a month. Free movies can also be watch on YouTube, Crackle (ad supported), IMDB (ad supported), the Internet Archives (mostly old black and white films), and Pluto (add supported (movies and television).
When you need a gift, make it yourself. Go to Pinterest for thousands of craft ideas. You can also bake a dozen brownies for $1.00. Banana Bread for about $1.25 a loaf, muffins for $1.50 a dozen. Purchase an inexpensive frame, insert your favorite photo of you and your friend or relative, and place with your baked item into a gift bag.
Stay At Home More For Entertainment
Instead of going out, invite friends over for an evening of movies or games. Ask everyone to bring some snacks and beverages. You’ll have lots of fun and spend far less money. If you’re friends play instruments, have a jam fest with pizza and beer that everyone pays for. You’ll spend about $20 instead of the $75 it will cost you for food and drinks at a bar.
Stop Ordering Take-Out Food All The Time
Stop picking up fast food or Chinese take-out on your way home from work. Stop at the grocery store and pick up ingredients to cook at home. Some people choose one to prepare several meals at a time so they can just heat them up quickly after a long day at work. A meal for two at an Italian restaurant can cost $50 plus drinks. You can make chicken Parmesan for two at home for $15 plus the cost of a bottle of wine. You may even have enough leftovers for the next days lunch.
Take A Lunch To Work
Take lunches from home and you can save a lot of money. The average purchased lunch is $8.00 (sandwich and pickle) plus a beverage for $1.00. That equals $2,340 a year, and if you add two cups of coffee from a coffee shop, add another $1,170 (lattes cost even more). That totals $3,510 in one year.
Get A Roommate
I’ve lived with plenty of roommates over the years. It’s helped a lot and it brings in an extra 700 dollars or more per month (or it saves you that amount off of your rent.) Recently, I wrote an article about finding a roommate, check it out!
Turn The Lights Off
Don’t leave the lights on. Be sure you turn off everything electrical before you leave for work. When it’s winter, turn the thermostat down when no one is home. In the summer, turn the air thermostat high, so it won’t run all day burning up electricity. You can significantly reduce your energy bill by conserving in simple ways.
Your Wallet Will Thank You
You can save thousands of dollars and pay off your debt by following these simple suggestions. There’s really no secret to cutting back on expenses to save extra money. It’s just changing your money spending habits and adjusting your lifestyle to something that costs less money. It’s about being aware of good financial habits and managing your money better, you’ll learn this by practicing and learning more about personal finance.