Debt is a major problem throughout much of the developed world. In fact, it has become so rampant that many people do not think much about having thousands of dollars of debt on credit cards or student loans that are going to take years to pay off completely. Approximately 80 percent of Americans are currently carrying debt, and nearly half of those people have consumer debts, such as on credit cards. Some are coming to realize what a burden debt is and how it holds them captive to their loan managers, credit card companies or banks. To gain much-needed freedom, you must fight back purposefully by cutting spending, raising income and putting as much money as possible into paying down debts. These 9 tips are among the best ways to not spend money while paying off debt and can help create a pattern of less wasteful living as well.
1. Start with a Budget
The first step to curbing spending is to know what you are spending. While it may seem basic, a solid budget can go a long way to showing you what you are spending your money on and whether your spending matches your income. Next, make a zero dollar budget, by assigning a use to every dollar of your income.
2. Leave Credit Cards at Home
When shopping with credit cards in hand, you may have a hard time resisting the urge to swipe them for impulse purchases. Leaving credit cards at home will give you a chance to reassess whether you actually want a product and can also dramatically slash your credit card debt by forcing you to rely on cash.
3. Stop Window Shopping
While window shopping is fun and harmless for some individuals, for others it is merely a temptation to spend. Window shopping may suck you into believing that you need the latest and greatest merchandise and can cause discontentment that leads to major purchases. Instead, stay at home and use the belonging that you already have.
4. Shop Used When Possible
When paying down debt, you must acknowledge the fact that you cannot buy the newest technology or fashionable new products all the time. Instead, you will need to learn to live with what you have as much as possible. If you must buy something for your home or closet, try to shop used by heading to consignment stores and thrift stores or by shopping on local online freebie or used merchandise sites.
5. Grocery Shop with a Plan
You already know that grocery shopping when hungry can cause you to overspend. However, the same holds true for shopping without a list. If you do not shop with a list of needed foods in hand, you may overbuy some products, not realizing that you already have plenty in your pantry. You may also forget other key products, causing you to have to waste time and money by running out to the store later in the week.
6. Give up Overpriced Restaurant Foods
However, grocery shopping can work well for you if you do it with a menu plan and a shopping list in hand. Groceries combined with home cooking is far cheaper than restaurant foods are. Also consider other overpriced items that you can make at home, such as your daily coffee or smoothie.
7. Cut Your Entertainment Budget
Now is not the time to be heading out to the amusement park every weekend, seeing all the latest movies at the theater or spending extra on girls’ or guys’ nights out. Instead, spend time at home with your family or friends playing board games, watching movies or having a picnic.
8. Cut the Cable
Today, there are many ways not to spend as much money on cable and Internet. Consider cutting the cord altogether by watching only your local channels, or go to a cheaper plan through one of the many movie streaming services.
9. Choose a Lower Cellular Plan
If you have a smartphone, you may be spending huge amounts of money every month on your plan. Ask your provider about how you can lower it. For example, if you have rollover data, you may be able to lower your monthly data plan. If your provider will not work with you, switch to a cheaper provider that will buy out your old plan and phone.
Of course, the goal of this decreased spending is to help pay down debt. For some, these changes may not be enough, and they may need professional help. Debt consolidation and debt settlement are great options if you feel as if you are mired so deeply in bills and loans that there is no way out of the mess. With debt consolidation, you can get all of your debts combined into one neater package, typically paying a far lower interest rate than you had been. By working with Christian Debt Counselors, you can also find out if debt settlement is another possible option for you. With a settlement, you and your creditors will agree to a reduced debt balance that can be more easily paid.
If you are struggling beneath large loads of debt and are having trouble finding a way out of it despite working on new ways to not spend money, contact Christian Debt Counselors today. They can help you find new ways to tackle debt, give you encouragement along the way and let you know about special debt repayment options that may be available to you.