Ever since getting out of debt became our number one priority, the hubby and I have made quite a few financial sacrifices which has resulted in us saving money to go towards the debts and has also enabled us to live within our means.
And you know what? It hasn’t been that difficult changing our lifestyles and sticking to our plan. Some people might think we’ve given up too much and some might think we could give up a whole lot more. What do you think?
Here are some financial sacrifices we’re (quite easily) making in order to get out of debt:
1. Eating out is a thing of the past
Gone are the days that the hubby and I are eating out four nights a week. Truth be told, this all stopped after my daughter was born because of the added expense of having to get a babysitter! I did really enjoy restaurant trips beforehand, but it’s a sacrifice we’ve had to make because we were spending way too much money in this area previously.
We’re not missing out though on having fun because we invite our friends around for dinner instead or go over to their house. It’s even cheaper than getting hold of coupons or vouchers for a meal out. Surely a good meal is about good food and good company, right? Well, the hubby enjoys cooking more than me so he takes pleasure in knocking up a culinary treat now and then for us.
2. Spending money on gifts is no longer an option
Both the hubby and I used to spoil each other rotten at Birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions. We loved treating our friends and family with gifts but this is another area we’ve had to cut back on significantly. Splashing the cash on gifts isn’t necessary expenditure for us because we have the good old debts to think of instead.
We’ve realised since though that we don’t need materials things to make us happy, it was more the gesture of doing something nice for each other and our friends and family that we enjoyed more than anything. And we can still make a effort to do ‘something nice’ for others. So nowadays, we prioritise who we spend money on and try to hand make gifts wherever possible.
3. Going to gigs and concerts is distant memory
We both love music and used to regularly attend music festivals and concerts each year. This has probably been one of the hardest financial sacrifices that we’ve had to make. But this little hobby of ours was setting us back between £40 to £200 each for every gig ticket we bought, not to mention accommodation, food and drinks on top. So we knew that we would have to limit this if we are ever to succeed in getting out of debt.
To make up for this sacrifice, we go to as many free outdoor concerts in the Summer months that we possibly can. Sure, we can’t choose the artists that we want to see and some of free gigs are showcasing unknown bands. But we might just get to see the next big talent well in advance of them becoming famous and widely known… Ok, who am I kidding, this is one sacrifice we don’t really want to be making, but we do anyway.
4. Our wardrobe has taken a big hit
I personally used to have a different outfit for every special occasion and most nights out and so not spending money on clothes and shoes was pretty difficult for me at first. The hubby and I were fairly fashionable at one time and we both liked to look good (we even got into debt to look good can you believe?). Nowadays though, the only new clothes that we buy are just ‘new to us’ i.e. from the charity shop or second hand from eBay. We make do with what we’ve got and try to look at least presentable.
This doesn’t bother us too much. On second thoughts, that’s a bit of a white lie – it does bother me when my family and friends innocently comment on how long my ‘favourite’ clothes have lasted for. But the honest truth is that the clothes we own are fine and once we’re debt free, we’ll allow ourselves a bit more leeway with spending money in this area. (Roll on debt freedom.)
5. Expensive beauty treatments have been put on the back burner
I do love pampering treatments and I used to spend a little money each month on a massage or facial as well as getting my hair done in an
expensive good salon. Nowadays, I’ve found myself a great mobile hairdresser (who incidentally won the lottery) and I go without the pampering. I still allow myself my favourite make up foundation but that is a teeny tiny luxury that I’m not going to give up. I even managed to get my GHD hair straighteners replaced for free instead of going out and buying a new pair (which I would definitely have done a couple of years ago).
Has cutting back on this stuff taken its toll on my appearance? Debatable! I don’t know – I often think how much I would love a massage and a bit of pampering but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I look terrible or anything. Honest.
Getting out of debt involves making sacrifices
The hubby and I have managed to cut back on all of the above so that we can save money to pay off our debts. We’ve also cut back on other things like Sky TV (although we still have Netflix for sanity purposes) and we went from having two cars to one between us.
I know there are other PF bloggers who’ve cut back on a lot more and others who do really well with making extra money so that they don’t have to give up such things. I guess financial sacrifices are personal in that some people might find certain things easier to give up than others.
Another sacrifice that the hubby and I have made which isn’t to do with saving money exactly, is time. The time we used to spend in the evenings watching TV and chilling out has been cut back on too. That’s because I use my free time trying to make money on the side like with this blog or doing freelance writing for example. And the hubby is also on the case with his own money making ideas!
I often feel as though there’s never enough time in the day to do all the things I want to do to increase my income and get us out of debt faster. But I try to manage family time and working time as best I can. I quite like the perspective that getting out of debt has given me – I now make every moment count to try to improve our situation!
Getting out of debt requires some kind of sacrifices, that’s for sure. But they’re not all difficult sacrifices, or so I find anyway.
Have you made financial sacrifices to get out of debt? If so, what are they and do you find them easy sacrifices to make?
*Photo courtesy of Flickr
You’re a great example of what truly needs to be done to get out of debt. Thanks for sharing what is working for you. On the clothes front, I am fortunate to get hand-me-downs from my big sis. She buys good quality clothes and me and my little sis get the benefit when she cleans her closet annually! We love it!
debt debs recently posted…Worth it Wednesday ~ Dear Debt Letter
Thanks Debt Debs! Your sister sounds great! That’s a great way to save money. Have a lovely weekend!
You’re doing awesome, Hayley, and we have made many of these same sacrifices. It can be tough sometimes, especially regarding clothes and the beauty stuff, but I work hard to think long-term and to find beauty routines that are natural and cheap that I can do at home, such as DIY manicures and pedicures and eyebrow tweezing, and the like. It helps make me feel better about myself but I’m still not spending much of anything in the way of cash.
Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…Hitting Rock Bottom: A New Blogger’s Story
Thanks Laurie and likewise, you and Rick are doing great! Going to salon makes us feel pampered and great but I think it’s possible to achieve almost the same kind of treatment at home, as you say by doing it yourself. I’m going to look into homemade facial remedies I think!
Although not specifically related to debt and more to the fact that my income is way lower than it used to be, I’ve sacrificed a lot of the same things you did. I would LOVE a new wardrobe right now. Even if I replaced pretty much everything that needs replacing from a discount clothing store, it would still cost me maybe around 1k, since that’s how old everything is in my closet. I do miss eating out with friends too. I feel like a hermit sometimes.
Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Heat, TV, and the Neighbors, Oh My!
I hear you Tonya… sometimes it’s nice just to eat out now and then to get out and about somewhere different. My wardrobe cost would be similar to yours too! For what it’s worth, I think you look fabulous in the photos on your site so your wardrobe is doing you proud! 🙂
That is so mean that your family comments on your clothes! I’ve had some shirts and pants in my closet for five years or more. If they still fit and are in good condition, why would I toss them? I’m not really into fashion trends, though, and I also don’t really like shopping! I feel the same way about not having enough time. The days have been absolutely flying by since we moved, and even when I wake up earlier than usual, I feel like I get nothing done.
E.M. recently posted…Apartment Tour!
Hi E.M. moving house is a very busy time I’m not surprised that you’re feeling squeezed right now! I must defend my family as genuinely these are innocent comments – they’re not superficial in anyway. It’s just the way I feel about myself inside which is what bothers me! I need to give less thought and value to the wardrobe issue.
You’ve made some big sacrifices to get yourself out of debt as quickly as possible, Hayley. And I know it wasn’t easy to do. Here’s the good news, you’re rocking your debt repayment and soon you’ll be able to mindful choices about what you want to add back to your life. You love music – great. You and your husband can set aside money for concerts. You may not be able to go to as many as you did before, but you can pick the ones that mean the most to you.
Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted…Blog Round-Up: Week of May 12, 2014
Thanks Shannon for your encouragement! 🙂 There is one particular music festival here in the UK that we will save up to go to when we’re debt free – Glastonbury. A four day music event – fabulous!
Good work, though be careful that you don’t suffer from burnout by depriving yourself too much. I always think that in cases like this, you can swing from one extreme to another, and that going ‘cold turkey’ can be just as harmful in the end as overspending. Many people will go ‘cold turkey’, then when they miss the things they gave up too much, they’ll just go hog wild. For those people, cutting back significantly but allowing maybe one meal out a month or something like that, will often yield the best overall success. It keeps the pressure valve from bursting, so to speak 🙂
Money Beagle recently posted…Be Optimistic Yet Realistic When Setting Big Goals
Thanks Money Beagle and good point. We do allow ourselves the odd lunch out but still try to keep the costs down by going to a cheap cafe rather than a full on meal at a restaurant. I know what you mean about burn out – keeping this up can lead to failure. But we’re nearly there now, so I think we’ll be able to keep this up until the end goal is reached!
I haven’t done the best job of making “sacrifices” to get out of debt. I maintain my second job to help make up for some income so I can continue to enjoy life, but still pay off debt and do a bit of saving as well. There are lots more things I could cut, but I don’t really want to… Is that bad?
Shoeaholicnomore recently posted…Budget Check 5/16/2014
No that’s not bad! You have a second job so that you can enjoy life whilst paying off debt, nothing wrong with that and you’ll need that to keep you sane. 🙂
Our gift buying has definitely gone the way of the past and I don’t really miss it. When you make financial health a responsibility, “stuff” just doesn’t have the same meaning. Good for you guys for making so many great changes!
Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Top Ten Money Saving Choices
Thanks Shannon! I agree that ‘stuff’ doesn’t have the same meaning anymore!
This reminds me of Dave Ramsey’s quote “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” Whether people like Dave Ramsey or not isn’t the point, the point is you can live a disciplined frugal life now to live a financially free like in the future. I can tell you from experience, it’s worth cutting back like this to get out of debt. My wife and I paid off well over $20,000 in debt by living a similar lifestyle. It’s worth it!
Kalen @ MoneyMiniBlog recently posted…3 Ways to Start Investing for Retirement With $100 or Less
That’s great that you and your wife paid off all that debt by making sacrifices – I do like Dave Ramsey although I still haven’t read his books yet. (On my reading list). I know of his debt snowball method, which personally we do follow and it’s working great for us.
When we were on a push to pay off our mortgage, we got rid of cable TV (among many things). My husband has a nice office and when the custodian came by he said “Did you see the football game this weekend?” and my husband had to say we don’t have cable! Also, in this period my daughter thought every balding older man was Dave Ramsey :). It was all so worth it. Debt free for 3 years!
Jen @ HealthfulSaver recently posted…Near Disaster… Read and Learn
That’s great Jen! Congratulations! There was a time when I couldn’t live without cable TV but these days, it’s not an issue. I’ve cut down on TV time quite a lot and I’m quite pleased about that!
I could not agree more that getting out of debt involves making sacrifices but I had to learn this the hard way. Still, I am glad that I learned and continue to learn from success stories such as the one you shared.
Jen @Sprout Wealth recently posted…Make Money Series – How to Sell on Craigslist
Thanks Jen! Learning the hard way often makes the lesson longer lasting I think! 🙂