Almost everyone has some debt, whether they’re paying off a car, student loans, or credit cards. But you’ve probably noticed when you ignore your debt and continue to spend money or use credit cards, debt can become insurmountable.
The only way to get rid of your debt is to face it head-on, take tangible steps to eliminate it, and start saving money. In this article, we will be discussing several steps to help you get out of debt and start saving your money. The best news, these ideas are easy to implement. In other words, they won’t completely disrupt your life.
Decide to be Done
Like all critical choices, getting out of debt starts with a decision. You need to face your debt head-on and decide to be done with it. Until you do this, your debt will overwhelm you. Stop ignoring how much money you owe to companies, people, and banks, and start taking actual steps you need to take to make your debt lighter.
Many people would rather push their debt to the back of their minds. Usually, this is because they are afraid or feel shame. But millions of people like you are also in over their heads, so you’re not alone. Don’t feel bad about yourself or your choices. Focus on the present. And above all, don’t pretend it’s not there. Just make a matter-of-fact choice to be done with debt.
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Cutting coupons might seem old-school, but couponing is actually a great way to save money in some of your most expensive areas: groceries and household items. This tip is especially great if you have kids, because food, diapers, and household items can become increasingly expensive as your family grows. Checking out your local couponing websites, newspapers, and even emerging couponing apps can be a great way to cut down your grocery bill in many different tiny ways.
Break up With Cable
In recent years, you may have already done this tip, but breaking up with cable television can take a massive chunk off your monthly expenses. And, of course, that will allow you to pay off more debt.
So instead of having an expensive monthly cable bill, invest in one or two high-quality streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or HBO Max. These services can cost significantly less than cable and give you more than enough content to watch leisurely.
And don’t forget if you’re already an Amazon Prime member, you can watch hundreds of movies and series for free.
See also: Effective Ways To Save Money on Your Electric Bill
Stop Going Out To Eat and Ordering Takeout
This tip is perhaps one of the most important ones for saving money. Going out to eat can be one of the most expensive parts of your lifestyle. Everyone knows that it’s cheaper to cook at home instead of eating out, especially if you have kids.
It’s tempting to avoid the chore of preparing meals at home. And if you work, it can be tiring to cook for your family after a long day. But feeding everyone at a drive-thru or fast-casual restaurant can significantly strain your wallet.
So instead of meeting friends or family at a restaurant, invite them over for a group dinner or potluck. The same goes for takeout. While often slightly less expensive, it still adds up. If it’s the convenience that keeps you in the habit of dining out, plan some easy meals. There’s nothing wrong with having a quick sandwich for dinner or eating up leftovers.
Make Your Coffee at Home
For those dependent on your Starbucks or Dunkin, break up with your barista and stop buying coffee on the go. As we mentioned in the last tip, going through a drive-thru in the morning might seem convenient, but coffee expenses add up fast, especially when it’s $4 or $5 every day.
Instead, buy a fun coffee machine to make your coffee at home. You can purchase Starbucks to make yourself for the cost of two or three coffees. And it will last you for weeks. Even if you spoil yourself with fancy creamers or syrups, you’ll still be ahead financially. After a few days of this, you’ll become addicted to your own coffee and save yourself a pile of dough.
Plan Grocery Trips Carefully
Instead of going to the grocery store every time you need something for dinner, try only going to the store every 1 or 2 weeks. Some people even stretch that out to once a month. This allows you to get everything you need for your meals in one trip.
Plan out your meals before you shop rather than brainstorming what you will make for dinner every night. Create a menu of meals and a grocery list of every item you need. Then, you will always know what’s for dinner and have everything on hand to prepare it.
Related: 21 Budget Friendly Foods to Always Have in Your Kitchen
Get Rid of Your Gym Membership
Many people pay for a gym membership that they don’t actually use. If your gym is far away, has odd hours, or is difficult to get to, you probably don’t get all of your money’s worth out of your membership.
Do you want to keep paying a monthly premium on your gym membership and go further into debt? Cancel your membership and instead opt for free fitness. Run outside, go for a swim, or go on hikes to meet your daily exercise goals.
Start a Side Hustle
This tip is not about cutting down on what you already spend. Instead, it’s about creating another income stream to start saving and paying down your debts. There are so many side hustles these days that you’re almost guaranteed to find something that works for you.
For example, taking surveys for money can help you earn some extra cash every month to help pay down your car or credit card bills. While it isn’t a massive amount of money, your earnings can build up. So then, if you want to buy something frivolous, use your survey cash instead of dipping further into debt.
There are plenty of other ideas for a side-gig too:
- Driving for Uber or Lyft
- Delivering food or groceries
- Selling digital products online
- Make money with paid online surveys
- Tutoring kids online
- Pet sitting
- Becoming a Youtube influencer
- Starting a blog
Cut Up Your Credit Cards
One of the most straightforward solutions to stop yourself from going further into debt is to cut up your credit cards. Get rid of your cards so you can’t spend any more money on them before you take steps to pay them off.
Of course, it has become increasingly difficult to get rid of your cards altogether with apps like Apple Pay. So when you cut up your physical cards, make sure to also remove them from all of your devices. That way, you won’t be tempted to use them impulsively.
Use the Envelope System
If you deal primarily in cash, you can avoid getting further into debt with a budgeting method called the envelope system. With this method, you divide your money into envelopes according to your spending categories: gas, house, food, etc. Then, you are only allowed to spend what’s in the envelope.
The envelope system is great for anyone, especially those who lack discipline with the monthly budget. That’s because people tend to spend less money overall when they use cash. Cash represents a more physical and concrete separation between you and your money.
Ask for a Raise
One creative way to try and get yourself out of debt is to ask for a raise at your job. However, if your request is granted, you must pretend like you never got the raise. Instead, take the difference between your old and new salary and put that money directly into savings or use it to pay off debts.
This idea won’t feel like you have altered your lifestyle at all. Yet you will actually start to pay off your debts quicker. This pain-free way of paying off debt is probably the easiest one on our list.
Tell Your Family You’re Budgeting
This tip is especially great if you have kids. Children don’t have a concept of what it means to save money. As a result, your family might not be aware of your struggles with debt.
This is a great time to educate them about what it means to budget and save money. It may make them less likely to tack on additional expenses in your life. And hopefully, it will also teach them a great lesson about budgeting and saving for their own futures.
You don’t need to go into detail about your financial woes. But letting kids in on your financial goals and concerns can help them feel like they are a part of things. And the next time they ask for something expensive, they will understand better when you have to turn down their request.
Get Out of Debt for Good
Debt can be incredibly overwhelming. However, the first step to overcoming your debt is accepting that you have it, and that you’re not alone. There are always ways to triumph over your debt, and with time and hard work, you can become debt-free!
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