What is perhaps the most terrible thing about debt is how it consumes every other aspect of your life. You may have the most loving spouse on the face of the earth, and have a job that you love going to every day, surrounded by co-workers who know you, love you, and laugh with you. But if you’re in heavy debt, all of the blessings in your life shirk away to nothing, as they’re enveloped in the dark cloud that is debt.
Whether or not the debt you’ve incurred was through negligence on your part, or doing what you had to in order to provide for your family, there’s no easy solution when it comes to debt. You’re going to be in for a tough road ahead, and you’re going to make many sacrifices along the way. It’s going to require you to change not only your spending habits, but potentially, your entire lifestyle.
With that being said, there are some simple things you can do in your day to day routine to start saving money that you can use to pay towards your debt. The best part about these suggestions is that none of them are particularly difficult – anyone can implement them easily, you just have to commit to them. While it may take a long time to reap the benefits of your savings, if you practice discipline, and stay committed to your course, you’ll gradually start to get your finances, and your life, back where you want them to be.
Prepare Your Own Meals, and Opt for Off Brand Groceries
One of the best parts of modern living is how easy it is to get access to food. In America in particular, we’re blessed to the degree that even people who are considered poor often don’t have to go hungry. Fast food, delivery pizza, and fancy restaurants are all available, and all incredibly easy.
For those in debt, this can become a trap that will severely slow your progress towards financial recovery. Normal American households spent over $3,000 on eating out in 2015, so I can only imagine how much that amount has gone up in the past three years. And further – that’s in addition to the $4,105 that American households spent on groceries. If you’re in debt, you can’t afford to go down this road.
Use your Sunday evenings (or whatever day of the week works best for you) to do some meal prep, and lay out your meals for the week. You’d be amazed at how many calories, and money, we consume, that we don’t really need. When you prep your own meals, you’re eating healthier, physically and financially. You also need to look at using the off brand products that retailers like Kroger, Walmart, Costco, and Sam’s Club offer to save even more.
Cut Your Entertainment Bill
The last few years have been a golden age for television, with shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead entertaining millions of viewers all over the globe each week. But when it comes to cable and satellite TV, we’re often paying, not only more than we should, but for channels we’ll never use. That’s not even factoring in premium channels, like HBO and Showtime, that you have to add on.
To help cut your entertainment costs, use switch to streaming services, like Amazon Prime, that you can subscribe to one at a time, eliminating the expensive package deals. You can even buy an Amazon Fire TV Stick, which is easy to unlock for different regions, that will save you money by only accessing the shows you really want to watch.
Cut Back on Gas Costs
This is probably the trickiest of the three suggestions on this list, but it’s a suggestion that will go a long way towards saving you money. We spend thousands of dollars on gas each year, and while it’s often for essentials like driving to work or picking up the kids from school, often, there’s plenty of places where we could easily walk, or ride a bike.
If you like in a big city, or in a concentrated suburban area next to a shopping center, take a walk whenever you can, or invest in a bus or subway pass. You’ll not only save money, but you’ll also be healthier, and help reduce pollution, all at the same time.