Building a Budget and Minimizing Debt

Posted On: September 22, 2016
Man running from debt ball swinging on chain

Five years ago, a customer and his wife had found themselves overwhelmed by the debt they had accumulated. In many ways, they felt that their debt was controlling them instead of the other way around. We all sat down together and began making a list of the things they could change to help fix their current financial situation and begin preparing for their future. They were surprised at how quickly things fell in to place with some of the changes or sacrifices they decided to make and live by. When something like a car battery goes out, it’s no longer a minor emergency.

Minimizing Debt

  1. Re-evaluate auto, home, and life insurance to see if you can bring down your payments without downgrading your protection. Extraco Insurance has helped many local consumers review their plans to save money.
  2. Re-evaluate auto and home financing to see if you can lower your interest rate. Understand that to get to lower interest rates, you must have good credit and you must have made your payments on-time.
  3. Downsize your home or your car. Lowering or eliminating your payments with an older year model may help you get your bills under control.
  4. Downgrade your cable package, or get rid of it entirely. Many people are moving to internet TV to watch only the shows that interest them instead of paying for 200 channels that they never watch.
  5. Get rid of you home phone (landline) if your cell service is adequate.
  6. Make a list before going to the grocery store and stick to the list. Focus on buying mostly sale items or switching to generic brands to reduce your cost. Use the ExtraRewards Shopping App or other coupon apps to reduce your purchase price even further.
  7. Plan your errands efficiently to save gas. Tuesday, according to national averages, is the least expensive day to purchase gas.
  8. Pack your lunch regularly instead of eating out daily.
  9. Make your coffee at home instead of purchasing it each day.
  10. When you do eat out, skip the soft drinks and stick with water. Skip the extras too (such as appetizers and desserts).
  11. Cancel unnecessary expenses such as newspapers, magazines, manicures, etc.
  12. Find friends that you can trade services with you such as: babysitting, haircutting, pet sitting, handyman, photography, etc.
  13. If your haircut is too expensive, find a less expensive stylist or trade your look for an easier, less expensive style to maintain.
  14. Check out your local resale clothing shop(s) when you need to replace an item. You can also sell items that you’ve not worn or no longer fit.
  15. Sell items that you no longer use on Craigslist, Letgo, or host a massive garage sale.
  16. Program your thermostat for savings on heating/cooling when you’re not at home. Turn off lights, fans, TVs and other electronic devices when they are not being used.
  17. Go to the matinee movies instead of paying full price (and skip the concessions).
  18. Get temporary work or seasonal part time work to boost your income.
  19. Review your local community’s event calendar and find out what local library or other community events are being hosted. Many provide FREE events for kids.

Discipline and sacrifice are not easy when you’ve been doing something the same way for years. However, the peace and relief you will feel when you are debt free are worth the sacrifices of material items you have accumulated. As the old saying goes, “you can’t take it with you in the end.”