Anyone who is in debt will most likely agree that it’s a big cause of stress, and can be particularly stressful if you are married. Well, now that my husband and I have been married for a couple of years and have our apartment pretty well set up, we’ve decided it’s time to get serious about paying off our debt.
We have credit card debt to pay off, a car loan, and my student loans. All of this adds up to a pretty good chunk of money in payments each month, and neither of us want to have all of these payments hanging over our heads any longer than we have to.
So if you, as Dave Ramsey would say, are “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and want to join us on the road to becoming debt free then here are some tips to hopefully give you a little help along the way!
1. Make a monthly/bi-weekly budget.
A budget, simply put, is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went (a John C. Maxwell quote for you). You can stumble into debt, but you can’t stumble out of it.
You need to make a plan for where your money is going to go every month and then implement it each time you get paid. Making a money plan like this is your first step to getting out of debt. To do our budget I use the Dave Ramsey Budgeting forms.
2. Use the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps.
You’ll hear me mention Dave Ramsey a lot when talking about finances because we’re following his plan, the 7 Baby Steps. We chose his system because it is Biblically based, is simple and full of common sense, and a lot of people have used it with great success.
We started off by putting $1000 aside as an emergency fund so that we will not need to dip back into credit card use if there is some kind of emergency that comes up. Now we are working on the debt itself.
3. Make cash only expense categories.
As part of our budgeting we are hoping to use more cash, particularly for food. When you pull out a certain amount of money and that is all you can spend for that pay period it makes it much harder to over spend.
If you commit to only using the food money that is in your envelope for the month, you can see the money disappearing so will be more aware of the fact that you might need to cool the spending in order for it to last the whole month. Once the money is gone you know that you’re done spending.
4. Live a more minimalistic life.
If you can get behind the principles of minimalism and be more conscious about the items that you keep in your home and purchase then you will not only save money but also have a much tidier house as a bonus. If you’d like more information on minimalism and organizing head over to my post Is the Marie Kondo Cleaning Method Effective?
5. Try to meal plan.
I am working on coming up with a good, solid list of recipes that we can rotate through that don’t cost much to make. The more meal planning I can do in advance, the less we end up eating out or picking up a pizza, which saves a lot of money.
I try to keep certain things in stock all the time so that I can always throw together those recipes. It’s also good to have some cheap, minimal cooking sort of meals (like macaroni and cheese) on hand for those nights when you don’t want to do any cooking and feel inclined to just eat out.
6. Don’t pay for internet.
We decided before we got married that it would be good for us to not have internet at our apartment for a while. It wasn’t a forever thing since I do need internet in order to blog. But for our first year of marriage it was kind of nice to not worry about it and save some money. I was still able to use internet on my laptop while at work or if I made a trip to the library. Otherwise had data on my phone.
7. Utilize the library.
For a while, I was buying most of the books I was reading, even though it would have made way more sense to utilize the library. Especially since my library system is in the top 20 largest systems in the U.S.
Nowadays, even if there is a book that I am dying to read, I have to be patient and wait for it to come in at the library or use my limited personal spending money in order to buy it.
This system is also a good way to stop as much clutter from accumulating at home. If there is a book that I am considering buying, like a cookbook, for instance, I like to put it on hold at the library first so that I can be sure it’s a purchase I really want to make. You can also check out movies, tv shows, and audiobooks.
8. Just say no to paying for entertainment.
While paying off debt we are trying to do activities that don’t cost money. So, for instance, instead of going out to eat with friends we might invite people over for dinner. For some great board game recommendations check out my post The Best Board Games For Any Type of Gamer!
If you are in the middle of paying off debt the best way to get through it quickly is by first planning your budget and then finding areas of it to cut even further. Devote as much of your extra income towards the debt as you can by using these tips. Stay the course and you will be on your way to financial freedom!
What ways have you found to save money while you’re paying off debt?
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.