Most people, even those already on a budget, could find a few places here and there to cut expenses. When I got serious about paying off my debt earlier this year I went through my costs and found several things that were being automatically deducted from my account that I was never or rarely using.
The great thing about a budget is that it gives you permission to use your money as you want and know that it is all assigned to something. I’m not an advocate for totally stripping away anything that brings you joy. To me, this whole budget life is about balance and still enjoying things. I still include $25 every pay day to get my eye brows waxed because it makes me feel good about myself. I also decided to spend a little extra money this weekend to get a few new clothes for work. Again, this makes me feel better about myself and makes me more productive. The key for me is not charging things on my credit card. If I can work it into my budget and pay cash then it’s fine by me.
However, these things below didn’t really bring my value to my life and I felt I could cut them to put that money toward debt.
Canceling my Netflix subscription ($10/month): We pay for basic cable plus HBO with our internet, so having Netflix added in just didn’t make sense right now. We watch a lot of HBO and they have a ton of movies and shows on demand, so to me it was worth it to cut the Netflix cord for now.
Lowering my cell phone data plan ($15/month): If given the chance, I will use every last drop of data that is given to me. However, I looked at the difference between the 4 gig plan I had and the 2 gig plan and it was $15 less. I figured I could try to be more diligent about only being connected to wifi. So far it hasn’t been a big deal.
Paying off my phone ($20/month): Like most people, I financed my phone when I bought it two years ago. It was an extra $20 on my bill each month. I finally paid it off and I’m so glad to own my phone free and clear now.
Canceling my gym membership ($10/month): I always have grand plans of how I will magically become the kind of person who goes to the gym. I’ve signed up and then canceled memberships so many times. I’ve accepted it’s just not going to happen. Now that spring is almost here and I can get outside I will just try to make an effort to do that instead. Plus I prefer to work out alone without all of the annoying people at the gym.
Eating out less (~$100/month): I have been eating more meals at home in an attempt to not only save money, but also save calories. Some weeks are better than others, but overall I’d estimate I save about $100 each month by doing this.
So, overall I found about an extra $155 in my budget to put toward my debt. I’m happy to report I have nearly paid off my first credit card. I only have a few hundred dollars left and then I’m on to the next. I’m looking forward to that satisfaction!