As you know, we’re frugal. We were especially frugal in the first couple years of marriage. Because we had goals and dreams that required scrimping and saving, we HAD to be frugal. The things we did in order to dump LOADS of debt are not necessarily for everyone, but they were pretty painless, and they worked. Here are a few of our debt-destroying secret weapons.
1. We became a one car family.
If you want to really get ahead, I’m sorry, but you’ve got to dump that car payment. Was it the most convenient thing ever, no. Did it save us BOAT LOADS of money, yes! We made it work because it was worth it. Not paying car payments allowed us to put hundreds more a month towards other debt.
2. We sold both our vehicles!
This was later, after we were a two car family again and had two car payments again. We were throwing $450/month at one car payment on a really nice vehicle we didn’t need, and another $250/month or so on another vehicle. That’s $700 A MONTH!!! Am I the only one who thinks thats a ton of money? This simply would not do… so we put our vehicles on Craigslist, sold them privately and got more for them than we owed. We took some of the “profit,” went and paid CASH for nice, quality, used vehicles, and had money left over to off other debts.
3. I worked like 6 jobs at one time.
When we first started dating I was working full time as a realtor, worked for a home-builder two days a week, worked in a model home one day a week, worked part time at an insurance company, one night a week hostessing at a bar & grill, and was selling things on EBay. It was a time in my life when I had LOTS of bills to pay, and I did what I had to do to meet our goals. Because that’s life…you do what you have to do!
4. I sold my stuff.
Once upon a time, in another life, I was, I guess, what you could call, “materialistic”. As I grew older and my values, lifestyle, and priorities changed, the fancy stuff I had spent my hard-earned money on no longer mattered to me. I accumulated quite a bit of stuff that had monetary value. So I got rid of it. Jewelry, high-end clothes, Louis Vuitton bags, a tanning bed…lots of big ticket items all went on EBay and Craigslist. And the money went into our bank account and towards paying debt. Being debt free feels so much better than carrying a $1,000 bag on my shoulder does. That’s just not my life anymore. I don’t need those things. So they’re gone and I’m “richer” for it.
5. We stayed (and still stay) home. A LOT.
Part of it is because we have kids, and the logistics just make it nearly impossible to get out much. But another big part is because I cook better and make better cocktails than most restaurants, and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper at home, too…so why waste the money on someone else’s overpriced crap when what we have here at home is awesome?!
6. Cheap is good, but FREE is BEST! Accept handouts!
I scavenge the free section of Craigslist for household items, books, clothing, even dog food! There are so many people who hate to throw out a perfectly good item that they just can’t use, so onto Craigslist it goes. And let me tell ya, I am NOT too proud to take it off their hands. I also scoop up cool items my friends and family are getting rid of, do exchanges with friends and with my mom, and scavenge through the “free” bins at garage sales.
7. Prices are negotiable.
If you’re at a department store and you see a slightly dented or chipped item, you can frequently score it at a deep discount if you just ask. At garage sales and estate sales, there’s no harm in asking if they’ll take less, especially in the last few hours of the sale. They figure it’s better to make some money on a sale than none at all and be left with items to pack up. Just be brave and ask! All they can do is say “no,” (and guess what, you’ll live!) 🙂
8. Use coupons, sometimes.
I say SOMETIMES, because most of the time I can get a better deal shopping at the discount grocer, (aka Aldi) but there are some magic times when coupons get you free stuff. Pair a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon, and stack it with a great store sale, and BAM…you may have just gotten a free item! I’m no Extreme Couponer, but I’ve scored free dental floss, toothpaste, candles, deodorant, beauty products, gum, and baby items…all by stacking coupons and sales.
Looking for even more ways to save money? Look no further than your KITCHEN! I’ve put together a super-saver monthly meal plan for you, complete with recipes and a shopping list! Check out 1 Month of Dirt Cheap Dinners today! 🙂