Here are 16 practical ways to get out of debt starting today.
1. Stop eating out. If you take a look at your bank statement over the past 3 months, most of your hard-earned money is probably going to your favorite happy hour location or the bomb breakfast diner you go to every Sunday morning. Eating out is a silent killer to your bank account because it’s convenient and easy to justify. Do yourself a favor, eat at home and begin to plan your meals each week – you’ll thank yourself 3 months from now when you’re out of debt and have hundreds if not thousands sitting in your savings account.
2. Start pre-funking at home. Have you ever wondered how $90 dollars can fly out of your wallet or purse in a single weekend so easily? If you want to save a ton of money each weekend simply buy a 1/2 gallon of your favorite alcohol at Costco and ride the month out at home.
3. Stop drinking bottled water. Buying bottled water these days can add up quickly and can extend the time it takes to get out of debt. If you get yourself a reusable water bottle not only are you saving money by filling your own water, you are also helping the environment! My favorite type of water bottle is a Hydroflask. You get to have cold or hot liquid any time of the day. I’m serious, this water bottle is amazing and you should ask for one at Christmas.
4. Wear sweaters in the winter. It may sound crazy but wearing more layers when it’s cold can help you save on your energy costs because you won’t need the heater blasting day and night. Energy costs can get ridiculously expensive if you’re not keeping an eye on your use – especially if you have automatic payments coming out of your bank every month. You can also turn your heat off before you go to bed. Between the covers and layers you have on, you should sleep like a baby. Let’s face it, your place doesn’t take that long to heat up either.
5. If it’s not obvious from number 4, simply just turn the heat down when you have layers on or use a timer to regulate your use. $400 per month on your gas or electric bill is never fun.
6. Turn off lights that are not in use. Like numbers 4 and 5, you can save a ton of money by being a little more aware of the energy you are not using. Watching a movie? Turn the kitchen lights off. Hanging out in the backyard? Turn the lights off. It’s simple to do and at the same time, it’s simple not to do.
7. Turn off your monthly subscriptions. I already know this will be hard because as a society we’ve come accustom to instant gratification. However, each one of these convenient services cost you money – monthly. Between our apps, delivery services, car washes, shows, and apps, there’s almost nothing you can’t get instantly or delivered nowadays. Knowing this, you need to be extra vigilant on the money going out every month. Take a look at your bank statement and look at how much is actually going out. It may surprise you how much you are spending. At the end of the day, you don’t actually need any of it. It’s a service that was sold to you.
8. Buy in bulk. Where you can do your best to buy the things you know won’t go bad on a shelf. It’s nice to fill up salt from your pantry rather than go the store each time you run out. Same goes for your soaps, tissues, toilet paper, etc.
9. Get the clutter out of your life. Have you ever done a spring cleaning or moved out? Isn’t amazing how much you throw away or give away? This is because we buy stuff to feel good – not because we need it. When you clear out the clutter in your life you’ll be reminded to only buy what actually matters. It will help you refrain from old shopping habits that got you in the hole in the first place.
10. Reward yourself in new ways. Instead of going out to dinner because you landed a client at work or you lost 10 pounds, go play volleyball. Do anything else that doesn’t require you to spend money.
11. Shop at the thrift store. This is hard for some people because pride can easily get in the way. However, if you are serious about getting out of debt and doing it as quick as possible, you need to find ways to lower your expenses. If you do some digging you can usually find great quality items for a fraction of what you would pay retail.
12. Limit your organic foods. Shopping organic is fine when you have money to spend. But when you’re in debt, every dollar counts. Shy away from those smaller avocados and buy the cheaper ones. Then again, is every meal you eat organic? I don’t think so.
13. Budget your money. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to getting out of debt. Simply stop spending more money than you make. A simple budget can help you stay on track and help you put money in savings. Dave Ramsey has great tools to help you get started. Check out his free tools and resources here.
14. Take the bus or bike. It’s a great way to get exercise and save on gas and car maintenance. It may be a bit inconvenient at times but you have to remember, it’s not forever and you are getting out of debt. Once you’re out of debt and have healthy savings, go back to your normal routine.
15. Cancel your expensive CrossFit gym membership. No matter how great of a workout you get from a gym, it always feels better when you have peace of mind at night knowing you are debt-free and have money in the bank in case of a rainy day.
16. Pick up some extra work. With the number of Uber-type companies out there today you have many options. Walk dogs, drive drunk college kids around, do something your good at for someone on Fiver. It doesn’t matter the work – just find it and do it. This will help accelerate your goal of getting out of debt.
These are 16 practical ways of getting out of debt. If you think this will help someone else be sure to share it with them!
Said Hamood is an expert digital marketer helping local businesses attain new clients and customers using proven marketing campaigns and strategies.