How would it feel to be debt-free? We’re guessing you’d feel pretty darn good. There’d be no more the stress of dealing with creditors, no more trying to remember which payments to make on what day of the month, and most important, your entire paycheck would be yours – no more sharing it with your creditors.
If you’ve been trying to pay off your debts, you may have already done the big stuff like selling your house and downsizing, or getting rid of that travel trailer. But have you forgotten some of the small, simple things you could do to become debt free? Or maybe you’re stuck. You have a few ideas but just can’t get those creative juices flowing.
Well, take heart. Here are 11 almost ridiculously simple things you could do to get out of debt.
1. Begin couponing
If you have a favorite supermarket, be sure to sign up for its emails. You’ll then get a steady stream of money-saving coupons, some of which will actually be for stuff you buy on a regular basis. There are also sites like coupons.com, dailycoupon.com, retailmenot.com, zulily.com, and shopathome.com, where you can download printable coupons. Then, build your meals around them.
2. Cut that cable
If it feels like your cable bill just gets bigger every year, that’s not your imagination. America’s cable companies just keep increasing their fees. Technology has gotten to the point where there’s just no reason to subscribe to cable anymore. You could get an antenna for less than $50 that will get you all your local stations – free. Add a couple of subscriptions like Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video, and you should be able to should get all the programming your heart desires and for less than $25 a month.
3. Quit eating out
How often does your family eat out? Let us say you eat out just twice a week, and that you spend $40 on a meal. That’s $320 a month. Eat in those two days you’ve been eating out and that’s $320 a month you could use towards debt reduction.
4. Learn to love the word “no”
When it comes to saving money there’s just no word more powerful than the word “no” when it comes to your money. It’s one you need to learn to love. Make it a critical part of your vocabulary. Embrace it. It’s a word you’ll be saying very often when it comes to your spending. No matter how much you want that new blouse or that new billfold, just say “no.” Ditto 23that new fishing rod or smart phone.
5. Avoid expensive hobbies
Do you have an expensive hobby like golf? That can easily cost you $200 a month. Do you collect expensive football or baseball cards or antique greeting cards? Then, stop playing golf, or sell all those cards. Use the money to either pay down debt or to help fund your kids’ college education.
6. Sell a car
Is yours a two-car family? Maybe it doesn’t really need to be. If the payment on one of those cars is the US average of $400 a month, then sell it and bank the $400, which is really $4600 a year. We’re pretty sure that putting $400 a month towards paying off your debts would get you debt free a lot faster.
7. Freeze your credit cards
Yes, we really mean it. Freeze all your credit cards in a block of ice except for maybe one with a low limit and keep it available for an emergency. Some experts say you should shred your cards, but we prefer the block of ice method as your cards would still be there to use when you get debt-free.
8. Sell stuff
If your family is typical you have a bunch of stuff sitting in your garage, attic, or basement that’s just gathering dust. Put it on eBay or Craigslist and sell it. You might be surprised at how much you get for stuff you think of as just one step above junk. Or, even better, if you have a skill for making things, put it to use by making stuff and selling it online.
9. Merge your bank accounts
If you’re married, do you and your spouse have separate bank accounts? Merge them. There’s no reason the two of you shouldn’t be able to share one account. You’ll save money, and it will simplify your household accounting.
10. Use your local library
Do you remember libraries? They’re places where you can get books free, which is a lot cheaper than buying from Amazon.com. If your library system is like ours, you might even be able to check out, and download e-books, and then read them on your tablet.
11. Don’t invest
We understand this is a shocking one. But once you become debt free, don’t invest your new-found money in the market. Start putting 15% of your gross income into a retirement plan, instead. That could be a 401(k) if your employer offers one, or if not, a traditional or Roth IRA. Then, invest that money in something safe and sound like an index fund.