For many of us making more money and getting out of debt is a top priority. Just take a look around at all of the Personal Finance blogs that talk about saving and spending money, as well as making more money so that they can pay off their bills and get out of debt.
My husband and I have a considerable amount of debt which honestly feels quite overwhelming at times. To combat that we work on following these simple steps so that we can still enjoy life, while we work towards becoming debt free.
Think about How Much You Need to Work
When you’re lining up work or contemplating a new job, think about your expenses and make sure you can earn the money you need to live comfortably. Keep in mind how many hours you can work while still having time for the things you love to do.
- Consider if you’re eligible to work overtime. A few extra overtime shifts a month could make a considerable difference in paying off some debt.
- Consider starting a side hustle doing freelance work based on something you enjoy and are good at.
How Much is Your Time Worth?
When you’re considering a job or a commission, you need to think about making sure you’re getting paid what you are worth. If you are worth more money, don’t take jobs that pay significantly less unless there is a compelling reason to do so.
- Try negotiating with your employer for an increase in salary, a higher hourly rate, or a performance bonus structure. If you have experience in a highly specific field it generally earns you a higher salary.
Use Public Transportation
The price of gas is high and it’s only going to go higher. Think about alternative means of transportation and think about what you can do to reduce the wear and tear and the gas consumption of your car in general.
- Check out the local bus or train schedules and if they meet your needs, consider selling your car to pay off some debt. Selling a car will eliminate a car loan, gas costs, maintenance fees, and insurance premiums.
When you’re looking to buy produce, take the time to buy from local vendors. Not only will the food taste better, but you won’t be billed the extra transport costs and you’ll be supporting local business.
- Visit the local gift shop for that birthday gift rather than heading to the mall. Or have dinner at a local restaurant rather than a chain restaurant. You’ll likely save money on gas while supporting your local businesses.
If you work close to home you’ll have lower transportation costs and more time to spend with your family. This can make a job worth keeping.
- Working locally also allows you to run errands during lunch breaks so you have more family time on the weekends.
Avoid Late Charges on your Bills
Avoid late charges on your monthly bills by setting up automatic payments for the monthly amounts.
- Set up online banking so each month your bills will be paid automatically. No more forgetting to mail the cheque or going into the bank!
Budget Your Money
Make sure you know how much money you earn each month and exactly where it’s going. Don’t forget to figure in small costs like gas, dry cleaning, and snacks. Every dollar matters when you’re trying to get out of debt.
- Call your utility companies and ask to be put on their budget plans. Paying the same amount each month for electricity or oil is much easier than paying a $600 bill during the cold winter months.
Ask Yourself: Do I Need It?
Impulse buys can take a real toll on your cash flow. Before you buy anything, give it a second thought and discuss it with your spouse or friend. Can you get it cheaper elsewhere? Do you even really need it?
- Walk away for a day and think about whether you really need to spend the money or ask the salesperson if the item will be on sale soon. But chances are you really don’t need it in the first place.
Keep the Thermostat at a Reasonable Temperature
When you want to keep your bills low, you will find that one of your heftiest bills will be the heating bill if you live somewhere cold, and the AC bill if you live somewhere hot.
- Learn to wear layers of clothing and agree on a preset temperature with your family. Installing an electronic thermostat allows you to program the times and the temperatures so no one has to touch the thermostat.
- To help deal with warmer temperatures make sure your blinds and draperies are closed all day long to block out the heat. Try using fans to circulate the air, and of course wear lighter clothing. Of course when it hits 100 degrees as it has recently in many parts of the world, nothing beats turning on the AC. You might just have to eat less next month.
Buy Good Quality Items
It might seem counterintuitive, but buying more expensive things that are of a higher quality can be useful when you’re looking to save money. Quality things break less frequently so you don’t end up buying the same items over and over.
- This doesn’t mean you have to shop for designer clothing that’s out of your budget range. Simply look for higher quality items and buy fewer clothing pieces this season.
Being conscious of how much money you spend each month is critical to getting out of debt, but that doesn’t mean you have to live like a hermit without any entertainment. Choose some of these easy ways to save money and enjoy living your life simply!