When Dustin and I decided we wanted to change our family tree and get out of debt, we knew that sacrifices would need to be made. We were trying to figure out anything and everything that we could cut back on or eliminate from our budget (and our lives) that could help propel us to reaching our goals.
Where do we start?
We first had to review absolutely everything we were spending money on. This can be rough. It is an eye-opening task, but one that must be done. In reviewing where every single penny goes, you gain clarity on the wants vs the needs in your life.
Starbucks > Summer Moon > Nerdvana > insert local coffee shop here
Savings varies week to week
I was never one to go to Starbucks every single day, but I did go 2-4 times per week. It really depended upon how stressful my week was or whether I wanted to get out of the office (lol). One of my favorite drinks is an iced chai latte. Bolthouse Farms has a bottle of vanilla chai tea that is available in most grocery stores. For $5.99 for the big bottle, I can have a morning pick me up every single day versus spending at least $24/week on a coffee shop coffee.
Savings varies week to week
This one was kuh-illing me! Seriously. Panera bread for their cheddar and broccoli soup, Tacos 4 Life for the best shrimp tacos, Chick Fil A for some amazing, well-done fries and a sweet tea. You name it. Yes, I still indulge every now and again. But not every day. One thing that has helped tremendously in this department is grocery shopping with intention. If I know that I am going to crave that cheddar and broccoli soup at least twice per week, why not make some soup? I told my husband my plan of making the soup and he jumped on that bandwagon. He’s an amazing cook and always likes to try new things. Then, I buy a bottle of sweet tea to keep in the fridge for the days that I’m craving it. The amount of money saved each week is insane!
Savings of $61.32 per month
This one took a little bit more of persuasion, for both my husband and I. We were paying about $110/month with DirecTV. After a year promotion, that cost would go up to about $175/month. How could we ever justify spending that amount of money when we are trying to eliminate debt? We had previously tried YouTube TV and had a good experience, but we hated…. I mean, hated, the whole “casting.” We decided with the amount of money we would be saving, we would buy an Xbox One. Best. Decision. Ever. We cut the cable and went with Hulu Live TV. We are now paying a whopping $48.68/month for Hulu. Yes, there are commercials. No, you can’t always fast forward through them. But, you can record everything. And, you’re bound to find some awesome movies and TV shows that are on Hulu only.
Savings of $9 per month (or more!)
Now, hear me out. Have you heard of sites like Gift Card Granny? You can get, say, a $50 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card for $39. Or insert retailer/restaurant here… Occasionally, when we have money set aside for something specific, we will scour those sites first to see if we can come up with any amazing deals. Now, my favorite gift card deal is on eBay. I found a couple different sellers that will have a $30 Netflix gift card for $12 or $15. I’ve bought two so far, and have loved the experience. They send you the gift card code almost immediately via eBay message. You then enter that gift card code into the billing/payment section on Netflix. It will then deduct from the gift card before running your debit card. I understand I was only paying $14.06/month to have Netflix, which isn’t a ton of money; however, I now get 2+ months of Netflix for $12 versus $28+. That to me is a phenomenal deal!
Savings of $27 per month
Part of our debt snowball were our iPhones we had financed through T-Mobile. Now, most of the time people do not see this as “debt.” But it is! It is a monthly bill that once paid off is gone forever. Once we paid off our phones, we eliminated our insurance. We were paying $14 and $13 per month for cell phone insurance for two phones. We had used the insurance once in our 10 years together, but yet had been paying this fee monthly. What are we going to do if something happens to our phone (fingers crossed that nothing does!)? We are going to cash flow a new phone. And by new, I mean one that we can find used on eBay or something.
Savings of $54.12 per month
Eliminating the gym memberships was a tough decision. We both enjoyed going to the gym. But, we didn’t enjoy the fact that we paid over $50 for a gym we weren’t using that often. Afterall, I have access to a gym at my office building. We both have our apartment gym, and then there is being outside in the good ol’ fresh air. At some point we might bring this line item back into our budget, but not until we have less debt!
It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn.B.C Forbes
The above references ways my husband and I have been able to save an average of $175 or more each month during our journey to becoming debt free. That is over $2100 per year in savings. It also equates to the total amount of our first five debts we had. It might seem small at a month’s glance, but over time, it really adds up!
I also wanted to share additional ways that others have saved, based on posts I’ve read in the Dave Ramsey Facebook group that I stalk on the daily.
- Mowing their own grass
- Doing their own nails
- Eliminating monthly subscription apps
- Turning the A/C off or up while at work or away from the home
- Stop buying books and only go to the library
- No more hair salon
- Drinking less alcohol
- Moved to a more affordable location
- Shopping less for clothes
- Not going to Target (<< LOLOLOL)
- Hanging clothes to dry
Now that you’ve read the specific ways that Dustin and I have cut back each month to save money, along with an additional list of ways others have saved, I want you to tell me other ways you have been able to save money each month.
I’m always down for a good deal, and more importantly saving money which helps us to get out of debt faster.