Frivolous spending can make it difficult to pay for the important things in life like a roof over your head and food on the table. As the bad habit manifests, you offset your spending by increasing your income. You apply for extended credit including credit cards and personal loans. If you continue down that path, it’s only a matter of time before you max out all forms of credit and face the reality that you’re in over your head. Thankfully, you can pull yourself out from under by paying down debt and learning to live within your means.
Credit Card Debt
One of the worst debts you can have is a credit card. If misused, you can end up paying two, three or even four times as much as the original purchase. That’s because credit card companies only require a small payment monthly and most have high interest rates too.
If you have many cards and can only pay the minimum, the balance keeps growing. For this reason, reducing your credit card debt needs to be a priority.
So what is the best way to consolidate credit card debt? If you own a home and have equity, refinancing the loan and using the extra money to pay off the credit card debt is one way. You can also borrow from your 401(k) and repay yourself with interest or take on a debt consolidation loan through a trusted lender.
Save at the Grocery Store
Weekly shopping trips for food can cost hundreds of dollars. The good news is there are several ways to save money on each outing.
First, it’s important to plan meals and then make a list to include the ingredients you need. Once complete, check the weekly flyers of the supermarkets in your area. They don’t always have the same items on sale. Write next to each item the name of the store with the best price. Having to visit a few stores on the same day will consume extra time, however, the savings is worth it. Clipping coupons and using store brands versus name brands are a few other ways to save more money.
Bring Your Lunch
Whether heading off to work or a day at the park with your family, bring your lunch. Eating lunch out is costly. If you buy lunch daily, 5 days a week, on average you’ll spend $50. That’s $200 a month and $2,500 a year.
Apply the same formula for things like coffee and snacks away from home. Over time, it’s a lot of money.
Get Take-Out Once a Month as a Treat
You work hard Monday through Friday and at the end of the week don’t feel like cooking dinner. Unfortunately, you immediately place an order for pickup or delivery. Ordering takeout each week will consume $300 or more monthly. Instead, make takeout a family treat you do once a month.
To make life easier for the remaining three weekends, use a slow cooker or prepare and freeze a casserole dish the week before.
Buy After the Season
You can score some pretty good deals a week or two after a holiday or post-season. Things like wrapping supplies and home decorations often have a price cut of 50% or more. This lets you transform your home into the holiday spirit for short money. Clothing and complementary accessories are in need constantly. After each season, you can pick up name-brand items for a fraction of the original value. This is because of stores needing the space for new items.
Eliminating bad spending habits will allow you to reduce debt and keep more of your hard-earned money. Thankfully, there are many ways to stretch each dollar without reducing your quality of life.