There are items to cut from your budget when getting out of debt. Find out which ones they are and why you need to trim the budget now.
I remember the days when we were doing all we could to try to get out of from under our debt. We really worked hard to throw as much money as we could at it – as quickly as possible. This all lead my husband and I took look at our budget. I mean, really look at our budget.
In doing this, we found we could make some changes. We found categories and spending that we were able to greatly reduce or even cut out completely from our budget. Was it fun? No. Not at all. But, something interesting happened when we did this.
We did not miss it
It is funny, but when you start to spend less on something, you realize that you don’t miss it. It’s been more than five years since we paid off our debts. The funny thing is that we have not added some these items back into our budget. We do not miss them. We have increased our spending for a couple of them, but we now have the income freed up to actually pay for them.
You are probably wondering what in the world we did! Read on to find the 5 items that we cut (or reduced) from our budget when we were getting out of debt.
If you are struggling with paying off your debt, these folks may be able to help:
This was huge for us. When we were getting out of debt and even when building our emergency fund, we were extremely focused. Yes, dinner out is great once a week. For us, what was even better was seeing that money going towards our debt and then our savings.
That doesn’t mean we never ate out. I would be lying if I said we did. We actually just had dinner out once every 7 – 8 weeks (at the most). And even then, we selected a location that was reasonably priced. For us, it was our reward for the hard work. We actually would use the money we did not spend at the grocery store to pay for our meal. If we paid off a debt, we would celebrate and head out to dinner.
Now that we are out of debt, we did make a change here. We now budget for our family to dine out once a week. However, there are times that we skip. We also usually do not even use the entire amount we budget for our dining out category. The added benefit is that we eat healthier by doing so. We also don’t miss all of those meals out.
Read More: How to Save Money When Dining Out
I know it is impossible to eliminate food from your budget. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t reduce the amount you spend and what it is you purchase. Instead, it means being smart with your shopping. It also means cutting out the pre-packaged snacks or even meals and create them yourself.
The first thing we did was make a menu plan. That helped us determine what we would have for our meals and snacks for the week. To start our plan we would use the foods we had on hand. Then, we would see what was on sale. This helped us create our meals and reduce our food budget. This assisted us in creating a shopping list (and don’t forget your print your coupons).
Read More: How to Create a Menu Plan That Works
We never actually eliminated cable completely, but we did cancel the top tiers and had a pretty basic plan. If we wanted to catch movies, we would check out Redbox. We would sometimes use our Amazon Prime membership to watch free movies (which is one of many perks you’ll score with your paid Amazon Prime fee).
The great bonus of not having so many shows to watch is that we had more family time. We played more games, went on walks and just did more family things together. Even now, while we have cable, it is not always watched. The kids would rather do something other than sit and watch television.
TARGET or WALMART VISITS
It happens. You run to Target to get one or two items and walk out with a cart full of treasures. Then, if you make more than one trip to Target or Walmart a week, you might find you are doing this time and time again. I forced myself to make one trip to Target every TWO weeks. That was all I allowed myself to do.
What I would do when I had to make my run was create my shopping list and would stick to it. I did not allow myself to deviate, unless I saw the toilet paper and remembered I grabbed the last roll this morning). This mean avoiding the end caps and staying away from the clearance items.
One other trick that helped me was to go when I only had a limited amount of time. So, rather than go when I had hours to walk through the aisles, I would go when I had only 20 or 30 minutes of time. Knowing I could not wander around and had to get the things I needed only helped me stay focused.
You really can’t eliminate this from your budget, but you can easily find a way to really make sure you stay on track with your spending.
Read More: Why You Keep Overspending
Going to the movies can be a lot of fun. It can also be enjoyable to get out to the concert or comedy show. However, these are such a huge hit to your budget. It is nothing for a simple trip to the movies to cost $30 or more (by the time you get a ticket and snacks).
Instead, you can stay home and grab a RedBox or Netflix movie (for much less). You can even check out all of the awesome movie found on Amazon on Demand (some of which are even free with your paid Amazon Prime membership). Pop your own corn and you are set! If you ask my kids, they would much rather to movie night at home than go to the theater. They get to wear jammies and sprawl out on the floor. Best of all, we can pause the show for the often needed bathroom breaks!