We live within a culture of spending more than we earn. Most of us have savings goals, but find ourselves unable to commit to them because we simply don’t have enough money left when we get to the end of each month. More than that – in some cases, our incomes don’t even cover our bills. More and more people are slowly slipping into deeper credit card, overdraft, and loan debt each month, without a clear path to balancing the books again. Debt is now at epidemic levels in the United States of America.
When you’re in debt, it’s natural to feel worried about the situation. Worry turns into stress, and stress turns into sleepless nights wondering how you’re going to get back into the black. The obvious answer is to cut back on spending, but if we do that, we’re impacting our quality of life. Nobody wants their lifestyle to suffer because of debt, and so it’s hard to know what to cut back on to improve our situation.
Help is at hand, though. There are a few ways we can reduce our monthly outgoings without sacrificing too many of the things we enjoy – and many of them are easy to implement.
Shop Around For Your Utilities
Gas and electricity are expenses that we can’t avoid. Nobody can go without power in their home, and so everyone has to budget for it. What you can control, though, is how much you’re spending on each bill – and we don’t mean just by making sure you always switch lights off when a room isn’t in use. The available data suggests that as many as one in three people can’t even say for sure how much they’re spending on utilities each month, let alone whether they’ve shopped around to save money on those bills within the last year. If you’ve been with the same supplier for some time, and you’ve noticed your bills slowly creeping up, you might be surprised to find out that you could save as much as 50% just by chopping and changing. You still get to use the same amount of power – it’s just cheaper.
Switch Your Credit Card Debt
If you’ve racked up a few thousand dollars of debt on a credit card, it’s not going to go away. It has to be paid off. Credit cards are a great way of making a big purchase without having to save for it, but when your credit card bills are costing you a few hundred dollars each month, it’s bound to impact on your spending elsewhere. Part of your repayment – perhaps even as much as 20% – is going on interest. If you have a good credit rating, you might be able to switch the balance onto a new credit card with 0% interest for a period of time. That means you can keep your repayments the same and reduce the balance faster, or you can pay a little less each month and have more to spend on the things you like. When he 0% interest deal ends, you can repeat the trick and keep it going.
Cut Back On Hobbies
Everyone needs a hobby, but hobbies can be a money pit if you’re not careful with them. A common hobby that people in debt have is gambling. It’s easy to see why. One good win could lift you out of debt, and solve your problems permanently. Chasing that win is expensive, though – and even more so when it doesn’t come. If you’re struggling, it’s time to stop playing mobile slots on online casinos or their sister sites. We have nothing against mobile slots – they’re harmless fun when you have the money to spend on them – but they’re not going to help you if you’re short on cash elsewhere. Mobile slots are not your route out of debt. Mobile slots are there for when you have a little extra money to play with, and you can afford to stand a loss while you’re chasing a win. Cut back on online slots and other forms of gambling if you’re in debt. You can always go back to them when your financial situation is better.
Take A Packed Lunch To Work
Often, it’s the little expenses which quietly sneak up on you. Spending $10 a day on lunch at work may not feel like a lot, but that’s $50 a week. Over the course of a year, that’s $2,600. When you look at it like that, it’s not such a small bill after all. Use the food which you have at home instead. Make yourself sandwiches, or a salad, and take that to work instead of spending in the canteen or the store down the road. Consider whether you really need a $5 coffee on your way to work, too. You’ll still be spending some money on lunch, but not as much as you would if you were heading out of the office for it every day.
Order Home Deliveries
Almost all of us are impulse buyers to some degree. Many of us make it worse by going food shopping while we’re hungry! When we’re in a store, we get distracted by special offers, or seeing products on the shelf that we wouldn’t previously have considered buying. Before we know it, the products are in our basket, and our shopping bill has gone up. This doesn’t happen when you do your monthly or weekly food shop online. You’ll find that you only buy the things you really want or need, and the impulse buys don’t happen. The net result is that you’ll find yourself saving a couple of hundred dollars each month – and when you’re in debt, a couple of hundred dollars can make all the difference.
We haven’t talked about cutting back on the money you spend socializing, because we know that socializing is probably the last thing you want to give up on. If you’re able to make a few adjustments as we’ve just suggested, you hopefully won’t have to. Lower utility bills, lower credit card payment, lower food bills, and less money spent on hobbies should save you enough money to carry on doing the things you enjoy in your own time. If you still find yourself in a hole, though, always seek professional debt advice before the problem gets any worse.