For those who are not quite ready to go full extreme,sell everything and start over in a paid for little human habitat of some kind, there are still quite a few things you can do to at least get started in the right direction toward debt elimination. Here are twelve;
- Coffee – Stop buying coffee at coffee houses and even fast food drive throughs. Instead make your own and put it in an insulated travel mug with a lid and take it with you. That will save some people as much as $15.00 to $20.00 per week, and correspondingly $60.00 to $80.00 per month. To get your actual figures, add up what ever you are currently paying for coffee each day, week and month. This is real money that can be reapplied toward real elimination of actual debt, especially credit card debt for one example.
- Breakfast – Make your own and get up earlier so you can eat it at home instead of in the car. Eat oatmeal with a little honey on it – and if that’s still not tasty enough then put a few raisins in it and maybe a little granola on top too.
- Lunch – Stop eating out and start making and taking it with you. This habit is so programmed and normal because almost everybody does it – that we seldom even think about it. It’s just what people do at lunch time everyday. Hit the drive through, or fast food joint or the buffet or call for takeout. Add your own bills up for an average month – now multiply that by twelve. That is what you can be using to pay off debt instead or meet what ever financial goals you have. Yes it will still cost something to make and take your own – but nothing compared to what you spend going out and the gas money you save not to mention the wear and tear on your car will probably more than pay for your lunch that you make anyway.
- Restaurants – Expensive and eliminateable. Until you have met your financial goals – skip eating at restaurants and make quality meals from scratch at home. Yes you can actually cook…believe it or not. Watch some videos and follow the recipe and the directions and you can make whatever you want to make – better and cheaper than any restaurant ever can.
- Pizza – delivery and take out cost a small fortune, not to mention the tips on top of that over the course of a year. Instead learn to make your own at home – or even if you get a frozen one from the big box grocery it will save you some bucks.
- Movies – Watch videos and streaming movies instead. Skip the movies and the expensive junk food they sell too.
- Hair – Cut your own hair or have a family member do it for you. It is not rocket science and you don’t have to look like someone put a bowl on your head and cut around it either. Watch some YouTube videos and practice, and you will do fine – and save a lot of money over the course of a year.
- Manicures – skip them. They are very expensive and not having a manicure won’t kill you. Instead just take care of and paint your own nails.
- Gym – Far more people have them than ever use them. To be fit you do not need any gym memberships at all. Its more of a social thing for others than it is a way to work out anyway, and there are plenty of other ways to be social. Skip the gym – go on Craig’s list and to local yard sales and garage sales and buy some simple dumb bells to start with. Walk, run, bike and lift dumb bells, and eat properly and you will be in better shape and so will your wallet.
- Landline Phone – Why have both a cell (or multiple cell phones) in your home and a landline? Decide for yourself – we got rid of ours many years ago and have never regretted it for a single day. If you decide to get rid of yours that is money you can reallocate toward what ever you want it to go to.
- Cable – It’s absolute garbage and societal programming BS almost entirely – so get rid of it and save your money. Use online Netflix and Hulu and other things where you select what to watch and when to watch it. Cable is dead – at least as far as I am concerned.
- Walk or Bike – How far away from home is your work? If its under five miles or so you can easily bike to and from work – really. Try it on a weekend or two just to make sure you can handle it and see how long it takes. I decided I was tired of paying crazy gas prices when it cost me over $80.00 bucks to fill up my vehicle one time – so I started riding a bike to and from work – a little over 4 miles each way. After a few days it became very easy – and was enjoyable to me. Funny how the same things you see in a car look so much different when there is nothing between you and it. The smell of flowers in the spring, or bread baking as you pass a bakery or restaurant… If you live close enough you may be able to walk. I tried running, and actually made it believe it or not even though I was in my mid to late forties at the time, but it took a bit too long and just wasn’t practical for me on a long term basis. You? Well you have to decide what works and what doesn’t – try it and see.
For those just looking to free up some cash for what ever reason – this will do it.
For people looking to get out of debt, if you do these things you will immediately have a significant amount of money available to you that you can begin using to make real and permanent progress toward becoming debt free. You probably already know my philosophy on debt, but just in case this is the first article of mine you have ever read, to me ALL debt is bad debt and should be eliminated. There is no such thing as a good debt. By getting rid of your debts you gain back your freedom and independence.
So what to do with all this newly available money? If you are serious about getting out of debt, then attack your credit cards first, smallest balance to largest balance in order. Then start on your other debts, systematically and one by one. If you stop incurring any new debt and systematically pay off existing debts and close those accounts, then eventually you will be debt free. How long it takes depends on how diligently you choose to work at debt elimination.
The process of getting out of debt is very simple – not easy – but simple. First decide you want to do it – then stop borrowing. Don’t charge another thing, sign another credit application, finance anymore cars or houses, or order any more TV sleazy pay crap. Just stop.
Next start paying off the existing debts you already have. This is where it gets more interesting and there are different paths to get there. I like the extreme path – the short explanation of the extreme path is sell or otherwise get rid of all your crap as fast as possible and start over completely. I realize that is a bit much for most people, so the next best thing is what I call the moderate path – which is what we are talking about here. Stop borrowing, eliminate as many expenses as you can at least temporarily, and reduce all others and then use that money to get out of debt with.
The third path is the normal path. It seeks to manage debt, and maybe to reduce it but not necessarily to eliminate it. I have no interest in the normal path, and it simply won’t work for most people. So I will leave others to write and talk about it on their own because it is an utter waste of time to me.
Suit yourself and decide for yourself. After all, in the end it is your life, your results and your responsibility.