Are you working hard to get out of consumer debt? Awesome! Check out these 10 Quick Tips – ways to decrease spending, increase savings, and speed up your debt reduction –
Early and Often
After making regular monthly payments on all accounts, make extra principal-only payments as soon – and as often – as you can. This will help to decrease your average daily balance – and lower monthly interest charges!
Sell, Sell, Sell
Use eBay, Craigslist, Facebook, or have a yard sale, and sell something – or lots of somethings – this week. Use that money pay down debt. I find that kids’ clothing is a great seller on eBay.
Sort and Roll
Sort through your spare change. Look for older coins, because some may contain silver! Do a quick online search for exact dates. Then, roll the non-silver coins, take them to your bank, cash them in, and use the proceeds to pay down your debt. Only have $5 in coins? That’s $5 closer to your goal! (My son collects coins, and has a nice stack of silver-containing dimes, nickels, and half-dollars. Pretty cool.)
I used to struggle with impulse purchases. I would buy stuff, put it in the closet, and never use it. If this sounds familiar, go to your closet, gather that stuff (along with receipts) and return it. Your credit card balance will decrease – and you’ll never miss the stuff. (Obviously, be sure that you are in alignment with each store’s returns policy.)
Stop the Drip
Do you have monthly or quarterly subscriptions to various services – that you don’t really need or use. Stop them. $9 here, $7 there, and these things can add up. When we were getting out of debt, we cancelled our satellite radio service. We used the extra money to speed up our debt reduction process.
Do It Yourself
Have you checked out Youtube lately? No, not for the latest cat-falling-off-couch video. Youtube is loaded with awesome DIY tutorials. Just this past year, I learned how to replace a sink, repair an air conditioner, and build a desk. Tackle projects within your comfort-zone and save money.
Getting out of debt takes time – energy – and money. Instead of spending so much time on the go, take some time to slow down. Spend less on gas, eating out, and entertainment. Instead, enjoy friends and family. Recently, we had a neighborhood-wide party. We pitched horseshoes, played some ladder-golf, and grilled hotdogs. For just a few dollars, we had hours and hours of fun. Plus, we were able to get to know our neighbors and make new friends. $6 for a pack of hotdog buns and some lemonade surely beats $60 for a trip to the movies and $50 for supper.
I have come to believe that planting a garden – even a very, very small, fits-in-one-pot-on-a-windowsill garden – is extremely important. There is something about taking one seed, putting it in the ground, giving it a little water, some sunlight, and a little fertilizer, and watching it grow that is just plain good for the human soul. And, seeing this “one” turn into “many” is inspiring. For less than $10 in seeds, my kids and I plan to grow several meals-worth of vegetables this summer.
Check every bill. Scan every receipt. Logi n to your bank accounts. Look for over-charges and mistakes. Verify payment postings. Take the time, often, to be sure that your money, and your payments, are going where you intend for them to go. Be intentional. Debt reduction can be slow. In the down-time, check and re-check for opportunities to save and reduce.
Find someone – a spouse, a friend, someone from church – and share your journey with them. (For me, I started this blog – and it changed my life.) You don’t have to share with the entire world, but find someone who will celebrate your accomplishments, and push you when you get stuck. Seriously, this really, really, really helps.