There are items to cut from your budget when getting out of debt. Find out which ones they are and why you need to trim the budget now.
I remember the days when we were doing all we could to try to get out of from under our debt. We really worked hard to throw as much money as we could at it – as quickly as possible. Part of the process for us was to take a look at our budget. I good, long look at it.
In doing this, we found we could make some changes. We found categories and spending that we were able to reduce or even cut out entirely from our budget. Was it fun? No. Not at all. But, something interesting happened when we did this.
We did not miss it
It is funny, but when you start to spend less on something, you realize that you don’t miss it. It’s been more than five years since we paid off our debts. And, even all these years later, we’ve not gone back to spending on these items like we did before we began our journey. We do spend money, but not like we did before. We just don’t need to.
You are probably wondering what in the world we did! Read on to find the five items that we cut (or reduced) from our budget when we were getting out of debt.
CATEGORIES YOU DON’T NEED WHEN GETTING OUT OF DEBT
Dining out is convenient and something many of us do on a regular basis. But, is getting out of debt more important than a few meals? Chance are, it is.
If you spend $50 a week eating meals out, that is another $200 a month you have for your debt. Over the course of a year, you can pay another $2,400 towards your debt! Seeing those balances going down will give you more long-term satisfaction than a steak dinner.
Never eating out may be too hard for you. If that is the case, limit your dining out to special occasions such as birthdays or anniversaries. You might also want to go out to eat as you pay off each debt you owe.
Read More: How to Save Money When Dining Out
You can’t eliminate food from your budget. After all, you must eat. However, you need to be smarter when it comes to shopping for food and cutting back where you can. Simple things such as cutting out the pre-packaged snacks or even meals and create them yourself can make a significant impact on your budget.
In addition to watching what you buy, you need to plan your meals. After all, you aren’t dining out as much anymore. Smart planning starts by using the food you have on hand and then buying items on sale. And, before you head to the store, make sure you have your shopping list and coupons.
Read More: How to Create a Menu Plan That Works
If you look at your budget, an item you may pay a lot for each month is cable. The average consumer spends more than $100 a month for service. You can eliminate cable and use an antenna to watch television. Even if you add in a couple of streaming services (such as Netflix, for example), you will pay much less than $100 a month.
If cutting cable is not an option, take a look at your bill to make sure you watch all the channels for which you pay. Eliminate premium services or tiers until you are out of debt and then you can add them back in.
Read More: Five Tips to Help You Cut Your Cable Bill
TARGET or WALMART VISITS
It happens. You run to Target to get one or two items and walk out with a cart full of treasures. Then, if you make more than one trip to Target or Walmart a week, you might find you are doing this time and time again. By reducing the number of trips to the store, you may see you spend less.
Plan a weekly trip to the store and don’t walk in without a shopping list. As you walk the aisles, add only the items you have on your list to the cart. Don’t allow yourself to get lured in by big signs on the end-caps or the clearance section.
Another trick to spending less is to only shop when you do not have much time. So, rather than shop when you have hours to spare, stop in when you have just 20 or 30 minutes to get what you need. When you have less time to shop, you will be more focused on getting only the items you need.
You really can’t eliminate this from your budget, but you can easily find a way to make sure you stay on track with your spending.
Read More: Why You Keep Overspending
Going to the movies can be a lot of fun. It can also be enjoyable to get out to a concert or comedy show. However, these are such a massive hit to your budget. It is nothing for a simple trip to the movies to cost $30 or more (by the time you get a ticket and snacks).
Instead, you can stay home and grab a RedBox or Netflix movie (for much less). You can even check out all of the movies found on Amazon on Demand (some of which are even free with your paid Amazon Prime membership). Pop your own corn and you are set! If you ask my kids, they would much rather to movie night at home than go to the theater. They get to wear jammies and sprawl out on the floor. Best of all, we can pause the show for the often needed bathroom breaks!
Review your budget to see what you can reduce or eliminate. When your goal is getting out of debt, things you thought were important, often no longer are. Remember that you are making short-term sacrifices for long-term gains. One day, you’ll be out of debt and can add these items back into your budget. But, you just may learn you don’t miss them.