When it comes to frugal living, I’m often a mixture of a tightwad and a frugal living person. I’ll scrimp on some things to have more money to spend on other things. Usually if it’s something that needs to last or be of a better quality, I’ll spend more, while scrimping on things where quality isn’t as important. It helps me to get things we need and some of what we want, without breaking the piggy bank to do it.
This year, finally, we are starting to get out of debt. Over the past three months, we’ve paid off quite a lot of bills and are about to pay off four more. So far, we’re saving $440 a month. Well, not really saving – because we’re putting the money we’re saving from paying off bills towards paying off more bills. Once these next three bills are paid off, that will bring us to a total of saving $675 a month (to put towards paying off more bills).
In the long run, it saves even more money because we don’t have the interest fees if we would have if we kept paying the minimum due each month on each bill.My Frugal Living Tips – Getting out of Debt Click To Tweet
It’s been a long road to financial recovery after Hurricane Rita made our paid for home unlivable back in September of 2005. Our home was pretty much destroyed. The roof was off on parts of the house and the rain had ruined the walls, the floors, the furniture, the washer and dryer, etc. The house was paid for so we didn’t have a mortgage note. We had taken our computers when we evacuated because that was my way to make income.
I knew when I walked out of the door that we’d never live there again – it was a bittersweet feeling as I walked out the door and turned back to look at the place we called home one last time, while it was still home.
The silly FEMA man that came out to look at the place decided that the house was livable as it was, which was about the most stupid thing we’d ever heard of. I would have liked to see the FEMA man live in in like that. But, of course, it wasn’t his home and he didn’t have to worry about it, so it didn’t matter to him that he just put us in a big financial mess by making that stupid decision.
And then we had a mortgage note again. We went from a $0 mortgage note to over $600 a month, not to mention the insurance note. For some people, that’s a small sum for a mortgage note. For us, it was huge. Some of our furniture and appliances were ruined, so we had to replace those also – more debt and more bills.
Add to that our vehicle (also paid for) finally giving up the ghost on us, so we ended up with a vehicle note of about $330 a month. The one we got, it turns out, had been in a wreck, unknown to us since it wasn’t on the vehicle records (figures). When we took it in to have it worked on, it was going to cost at least $2500 to fix it, and that was just for starters.
Needless to say, we didn’t have that kind of money. Oh, but we could trade it in for another one. Fine – great – lovely. So we get another vehicle, which by the way I really like, but the note jumped up to over $450 a month because it added what we still owed on the other one.
When it rains, it pours. There didn’t seem an end to the bills and the debt.
It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re getting bills paid off and we’re on the road to getting out of debt. We do without a lot to get out of debt.
We’ve been in this house now for more than eleven years. If all keeps going according to plan, and so far it has, we’ll have everything paid off by in less than six years, the house included. That will have us saving over $2000 a month.
Sometimes we have people ask how we’ve managed to do this and get out from under so much debt with no more income than we have coming in. It’s simple really but it does require commitment.
Here’s just some of the things we do to save money and live on less:
2. If we don’t need it, I don’t buy it – unless it’s on sale and/or I have a coupon or a coupon code (when shopping online).
3. I use Amazon Prime so that I get free shipping when I order from Amazon. If you shop on Amazon a lot, this can pay for itself in a short time. I use Amazon a lot because they pretty much always have what I need or want, whereas my local Walmart store rarely has in things in stock anymore that I want or need. Plus if you search you can usually find a good price.
4. When I shop online, I always look for a coupon code for the site I’m using. Lots of sites have free shipping deals at various times and that can save a load of money. You can use coupons on Amazon also. Look for the available coupons on Amazon that you can apply to your order.
5. We don’t have any sort of cable TV or satellite TV. We do have NetFlix. It’s less than $16 for four people to watch it at the same time. It’s less than $11 if you just want the basic plan for two people to watch at the same time.
6. We don’t go out a lot. Yes, I like going out as much as the next person, but I dearly hate the cost of going out. You can spend a load of money in a very short time. There’s plenty of things to do that don’t cost or don’t cost much.
7. I reuse a lot of things. The old saying of “waste not, want not” still holds true today. I often keep TOO much stuff, thinking that surely there’s got to be a use for this or that, sooner or later. If you think you might have a use for something, keep it. Think of the money you’ll save by using what you already have instead of going out and spending money.
8. We seldom use our central air to cool our house. It stays on 85 to 90 – topped out. It runs on a 220 and that costs more. We used to have portable air conditioner units in our bedrooms and in my office. We now have regular window air units in our bedroom, my office, and in my son’s bedroom. Since they run on a 100, it costs less to cool the rooms with them. And our home stays nice an cool. Our summer power bills went from $350, $400, (and more!) to $158 for the highest one in the heat of the summer. That’s a savings of at least $200 a month (and more!) by not trying to cool the house with the central air. The same applys for the winter – we use little plugin heaters and they warm the house just fine without running the big central heat unit… again the highest power bill has been $158.
9. We use Straight Talk for our cell phone service and for our home phone. This saves a load of money! The Straight Talk Home Phone service is only $15 a month plus tax. It works great, uses your regular phones, has caller ID, etc. You can pay by the month or longer, your choice. The Straight Talk cell phone runs off Verizon towers and is only $45 a month for the unlimited calls and text and data.
This is just one example of my frugal living tips. My point in sharing this is that you can do this, and probably even better than me, if you commit to saving money and living on less. To get out of debt, you just have to make your mind up to commit to making a get out of debt plan and sticking to it. It doesn’t matter what you income is (ours is not a lot!), you can do this.