Debt is real. People all across the country, hell the world have debt. This isn’t a secret. My husband and I are not immune to debt. Partially my frugal self started being more frugal to help us dig out of debt. Many people live beyond their means. Bigger house, better car, name brand this name brand that. Keeping up the the Jones syndrome. Yes I believe it’s a problem.
Over the years we’ve scratched the surface of getting out of debt and still continue to do so. Of course there will be set backs. That emergency you didn’t have saved for, but you had a credit card to charge the incident on even if you just paid that balance way down. Sure that is a feeling of defeat, but remember you paid that balance down before you can again.
I want to help you with some tips that have helped me and are still helping me.
Do you REALLY need that?
Ask yourself this question when you’re out shopping or if an offer presents itself to you. Do you really need that item? Season tickets to a sport you enjoy? That expensive meal out?
Chances are that NO you don’t need that, you WANT that. So many people fall into debt because they want, want, want, and not need. You need to learn how to identify what you NEED and what you WANT.
What you need is a roof over your head, food in your mouth, clothing on your back, a car to get to work, and safety. That is all you need. Everything else is truly a want.
Make a list with two sides. On one side list the needs, like above. On the other side list the wants in order of most important to least. Once you make this list you might shock yourself at how many items are wants and how many when you think long and hard about them aren’t that important in the end.
Does the food you buy NEED to be name brand?
Seriously. Does it? No. I hardly ever buy name brand anything. I might if I have a coupon or the item is on a serious sale. Otherwise its generic. 99% of the time the generic tastes exactly like the name brand, but costs half as much. I don’t coupon much (I’ve expressed this before). Now and again there will be some deals that just make sense. If i purchase an item already and there happens to be a coupon I can save some extra bucks. Make sure when you’re out food shopping you also check the top and bottom shelves. Most of the time retailers will place the more expensive name brand items at eye level. Look down and look up for savings.
Name Brand clothing?
I’ve noticed this with my kids, and I get it. You don’t want to be the kid in school with the knock off Ked’s or the knock off Lucky Jeans. Who however can afford to continue to buy their kids Lucky Jeans as they grow out of them, not me that’s who. Kid’s are wrapped up in name brands. I bought my girls some kick around shoes for weekends from Old Navy, not the dollar general for Christmas the shoes haven’t been touched, once. If they said Vans or Ked’s on them they would have been put on immediately.
Name brand clothing is not a necessity, clothing is, name brands not so much. You might not be able to get away from some name brand purchases for your kids, and if you can’t like me, make sure you get the items on sale at least. The other option is buying those items second hand. Don’t winch at me, STOP. Second hand isn’t bad, it’s helpful to everyone. Think of the second hand store as an indoor yard sale. You’ll buy crap at a yard sale without blinking, but a second hand store makes you question? I’ve found many good deals at the local good will.
Quick example of a few: Doggie door insert for sliding glass patio door at good will for $17.99 got it 50% on sale. Paid $8.99 for a doggie door purchased new would cost to the tune of $150-$200. Bad deal? I think NOT. Another one. Large dog crate, I got this from the good will for $`12.99 after the 50% savings were applied. Again, another $200-$300 average cost at a retailer for new. I bleached and scrubbed the crate out and we are good to go. So I spent $21.98 for what would have cost me close to $400 at a retailer!?! Insanity. Anyway get clothing second hand, dog crates, camping plates, and hell cute decor also.
STOP spending MONEY
Yes. I mean that. Now don’t go all “but Cara I can’t just stop spending money, I NEED that.” I’m sure the milk is needed, maybe the three gallons of ice cream you could do without? That’s what I mean. You don’t need so much.
Go through your house and think about items you have that you haven’t used in let’s say, 6 months. If you haven’t touched something in 6 months (winter excluded for summer clothing currently). Put that in a pile for a yard sale or donation. Once you’ve created your realistic pile of what to chuck you need to take a look at yourself. All of that stuff is just that stuff you didn’t need, but wanted. Now it’s trash. Think to yourself when you pick up an item at the store, do I NEED this, how OFTEN will I use/wear this, and can I LIVE without this?
Go. Now. Look through your closets, pantry, garage, storage, hall closet, under your bed. Collect all of the items you do not use, want, or wear and get real with yourself. The sooner you admit you don’t need all of those wants the sooner you can work on being debt free.