A surefire way to speed up your debt removal process is to reduce your spending and increase your income.
This just might be the part that you enjoy most! This is where you have a chance to get creative.
This week and next week, we’ll find ways that you can trim your spending to make room in your budget for paying off debt or saving up for your next financial goal.
Today, we’ll focus on eliminating some expenses from your budget.
Examine Your Budget
Pull out your monthly budget.
Examine each expenditure. Go through line by line to come up with some potential expenses you can cut from your budget.
What are some expenses that you can get rid of completely?
Other than your basic necessities of food, clothing, shelter, and transportation, carefully consider each expense.
Do you really NEED these items?
Challenge yourself to write down at least ten expenses you can eliminate from your budget.
For now, these are just thoughts.
You’re not going to act on each item you list at this time, but I want you to spend some time on this and add as many ideas to your list as possible.
Don’t worry if an idea sounds ridiculous or impossible. It may lead to a better idea later.
Once you have at least ten items listed, add ten more.
No matter how big or how small the potential decrease in spending may be, don’t disregard any idea.
Small changes add up over time.
Expenses You Can Cut
Here is a list of 20 ideas to help you get started on your own list:
- Dare I say… Internet?
- House cleaning
- Pest control
- Gym membership
- Kids’ activities
- Monthly insurance fee on cell phones
- Data plan for smart phone
- Modem rental fee
- Daily espresso
- Daily lunch out
- Snack foods
- Magazine subscription
Again, these are just ideas. It doesn’t mean you have to implement every single one, but understand that the more you trim your spending now, the quicker you’ll get out of debt.
You don’t have to be as drastic as Miriam and unplug your fridge to make quick progress. My husband Mike and I paid off $65,000 of debt in 11 months on a single, middle class income, and we haven’t cut all of the expenses that I suggest.
Every situation is unique. What worked for us may not work for you.
The Point is to Be Intentional With Your Spending
I’ve stated this before, but the point of this whole process is to be intentional with your spending.
If you don’t cut an expense, then you should have a good reason for keeping it.
There are a number of expenses in our budget that we could cut, but we haven’t.
For example, we put our son in preschool last fall. We didn’t have to do that. We could have saved the expense and taught him his ABC’s and numbers at home.
But we feel that education is important, and we want him to be prepared for kindergarten when the time comes. While we’ve sung the ABC’s and worked on counting with him, he’s shown tremendous progress since September. He loves school and is already trying to read — at 3-and-a half!
Decide on two expenses that you can cut this week.
Then take action to do so by the end of the week. Make a pact with your spouse or accountability partner that you will act on these ideas by the end of the week.
Put it on your “To Do” list or add it to your calendar of when you are going to remove these expenses from your budget.
Two items is manageable for most people, and you will feel accomplished by freeing up even a little bit of money in your budget. But if you want to cut more, by all means, trim away!
Read Our Popular Articles
If you are serious about getting out of debt, read our other popular articles:
Alice and Scott Paid Off $200,000 Student Loans In Seven Years
Ron and Thu Paid Off $137,000 in 7 Years
Make Some Passive Income With Paribus
Yes, You Can Pay Off Debt When You’re Behind On Your Bills
Lastly if you are snowed under with debt, consider refinancing with SoFi. They have solid customer service and a competitive model.
What About You?
Participate in the conversation. What are some expenses you have cut from your budget to reach your financial goals? What would you add to the list? Share in the comments below.