If you’re like many people, you may be in debt but just not quite sure where to cut from in your budget so that you’ll have money to throw towards debt. We were like that for many years. Even though my husband made a good income, we always felt like we were living paycheck to paycheck. We really desired to pay back this 6 figures in debt that we had, but we just didn’t know where to start!We knew we always spent way too much money on food or other frivolous expenses. Hey, we have 4 kids and that can get expensive, right? Well, I knew many other moms that did a lot more with a lot less money and I started to ask them for advice. Here are a few things that have helped us find over $2000 in our budget to put towards our debt. Who knew it was staring us in the face this whole time?
- I’m not a Dave Ramsey purist, but I do trust much of the advice that the man has to offer. He says that while you are paying back debt that you should stop your 401k contributions. For us, that means an extra $600 a month to put towards our debt. Thomas was really not fond of this idea at first, but we figure that it is going to be very temporary and after 18-24 months when our debt is paid off, we can start putting even more towards his 401k and other savings than we ever could before. Dave, I hope you’re right about this!
- Cut down on your food budget. Most of us spend way too much on groceries, eating out, fast food, and Starbucks runs. Hey, I know we used to, no judgment from me. Starbucks caramel macchiatos are my weakness! Sometimes it’s just so easy to swipe a debit card or scan a barcode on your phone that we forget that those costs can really add up in a month’s time. One way that we’ve started to save on money is by shopping at Aldi. I used to shop at Kroger, and still do on occasion, but even after using digital coupons we were still spending around $200 a week on groceries. While shopping at Aldi, I’ve been able to cut that down to around $100. I’m still kind of shocked at how much cheaper it is! Though I will admit, I am NOT a fan of bagging my own huge cart full of groceries… But I guess I’ll do it for an extra 100 bucks in my pocket. Monthly, for us, this means an extra $800 in our pockets. One other easy thing I’ve done recently is download the app Ibotta. It lists several stores like Walmart, Kroger, HEB, CVS, Walgreens, and others, and you can choose different products to buy at these stores. When you buy them, you just scan your receipt into Ibotta (don’t worry, it’s super easy!) and it gives you a little money back! When you have $10 in your account, they cut you a check. Pretty cool, huh? Many times the items are generic, like, “Buy any item, get .25” or “Orange juice, any brand, .50” so it makes it easy to save month.
- Get a cheaper cell phone plan. If you shop around a bit, you’ll find that there are several phone companies that have phone plans for much cheaper than the “big names,” some as low as $50 a phone line with unlimited talk, text, and data. MetroPCS and Cricket Phones are a few that come to mind! I would look into this myself, but my phone is through ATT, and last year I bought a phone on loan through them and haven’t paid it off yet. Yet another stupid tax we’ve paid… But after my current phone is paid off, I am going to be looking into a cheaper plan.
- Shop around for cheaper insurance quotes. Our plan is to contact an insurance broker who’s job is to do all the research and shopping for you in order to provide you with the best rates. This is usually free because they are compensated by the insurance companies. Ask your friends or colleagues, they may know of someone who can help you! This hasn’t saved us any money yet because we haven’t called around, but we’re hoping that switching our insurance providers will save us at least $100 that we can throw straight to our debt!
- Cut cable. I know, for some of us that is so incredibly hard to do. But nowadays, with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime readily available (and for usually *much* cheaper), you can watch your favorite shows for a fraction of the cost. This has saved us over $100 a month