Becoming debt free isn’t easy (though the results make it worth the effort)! In a perfect world, you could just increase your income to pay off debt, but leave your expenses alone. Unfortunately, most people only have control over their expenses, and can’t drastically change their income in a short period of time. Which means that if you’re trying to pay off debt, there are some things you’ll need to give up to have more money available to put toward your debt! To help you figure out what you may need to stop doing, here are 6 Things You Need to Give Up to Become Debt Free!
6 Things You Need to Give Up to Become Debt Free
Of course, you don’t necessarily need to give up the following things 100% to become debt free. As with most things in life, moderation tends to be the approach that works best. So instead of never eating out again, try to just eat out once or twice a month. If you keep yourself from feeling deprived, you’ll be more likely to financially stay on track and successfully become debt free! Of course, if your financial situation is really serious, you might have to cut the following things out of your life completely, at least until your situation improves.
1. Eating Out
If you want to become debt free, eating out is one of the first things you should give up! Fancy restaurants are definitely out, and even $5 fast food meals can add up quickly. Instead, make your meals at home, and take bagged lunches to work. These mason jar salads are a great way to prep your meals on Sunday for the entire week! That will save you time and money. Depending on the cost of meals at your kids’ school, it may also be cheaper to have them take their own lunch, too. Go one step further and make your own homemade granola bars, real fruit gummies and healthier homemade ranch dressing to save even more on your grocery bill!
2. Extra Stuff
Committing to becoming debt free means also committing to not having as much extra stuff. This is partly because you’ll probably wind up selling things you no longer want/need in order to get some extra cash. But having less stuff is also a result of not being able to shop as freely as before. You’ll want to stick to a shopping list, and keep that list reserved for just needs, not wants. If you’re an impulse buyer, you’ll want to stay out of stores and shopping websites until you actually need to purchase several things, to reduce the chances that you’ll buy something you don’t need.
3. Outings with Friends
While deciding to become debt free doesn’t mean you also have to become friend free, it does mean you’ll likely hang out with your friends less. Outings and meet-ups that require money will take cash away from your debt payoff plans. That means meeting up for coffee or drinks, going to sports events, seeing movies, hosting parties, shopping together in the mall, etc. all need to go away. But if you have good friends, they’ll understand, and will be fine with hanging out at your house or doing free activities with you instead! Things like taking a walk outdoors or enjoying a free local activity are great ways to meet up without spending cash.
4. Free Time
For most people, free time is fun time. It’s time to watch TV, play video games, read books, surf the Internet, and do other unproductive, but entertaining, tasks. Unfortunately, if you really want to pay off your debt, you’ll want to put every minute to good use. So you’ll want to swap out free time for something productive, like listing things to sell on eBay or doing surveys for extra cash. Or maybe you’ll use the time working on learning about how to save money, or clipping coupons. To achieve your goal of being debt free as soon as possible, you’ll want to give up at least 50% of the time you usually spend just being entertained.
It makes no sense to pay for a vacation if you have a lot of debt you want to pay off! Unless you can go on vacation for free (such as by using hotel rewards points), you may want to opt for a staycation, or just skip the vacation entirely this year.
6. Some Services
Lastly, to ensure you can become debt free without it taking ages, you’ll want to do without several services. For example, you’ll want to cancel the cable subscription, jog around your neighborhood instead of going to the gym, mow your own lawn, and so on. The less you’re paying in subscriptions and recurring services, the more you can put toward your debt! You can always start the services back up when you’re debt free! Sit down and make a list of all your monthly expenses. Ask yourself which you really NEED and which are services you just WANT. Cut out the wants and keep the needs. Remember this isn’t a forever thing and it is well worth it once you are out of debt!
What are you giving up to become debt free?