Trekking through a journey to payoff debt takes a lot of things – patience, money, diligence, and also being intentional with what the goal at hand is. It’s not going to be paid off overnight, and so there have to be certain lifestyle decisions made to keep the cash flow going, and to bring in extra cash to put towards the debts, in order to reach that goal faster. Here’s a list of things that our family does not pay for in an effort to minimize our lifestyle and have greater cash flow for this purpose.
This might seem like a strange item to place on here, but bottled water adds up! We used to have a water dispenser in our kitchen that held 5-gallon jugs we would have to take to the grocery store or the water store to have filled. Since moving into our current home we have a fridge that dispenses filtered water and so we sold the water dispenser and the jugs. We don’t buy bottled water. We have several good quality reusable water bottles that we take with us. Our son takes a filled water bottle to school everyday and we each take one to work with us. If you live in an area with decent quality water, there shouldn’t be a reason that you cannot drink the tap water that comes into your home. That is water you are already paying for on your water bill.
- Gym memberships (or any memberships for that matter)
Our family gains exercise in ways other than a structured gym routine. We play together, play outside, go on walks, go to parks, and do workout routines at home. And everything from our local zoo to the children’s museum has a free day once a month or so.
- Pricey car insurance
It actually made more sense for us to have a lower liability on our car policies and then take out a separate umbrella policy for additional liability coverage. Our car insurance for two vehicles is now down to under $100 a month and the umbrella policy is about $100 per year.
- We eat out less
We used to really think nothing of heading to a restaurant for a meal, but it’s truly a treat now, and we save a lot of money by not going out as often. We budget for restaurants in our envelopes. My recently diagnosed autoimmune disease has also caused a need to eat more whole, real foods, and so I’m taking the time each week to properly meal plan, budget accordingly with store sales and coupons, and cook meals at home from scratch. This also forces me to purposely make extra portions for us to use as lunches at work too.
While it took my husband awhile to convince me, we finally cut the cord last year. Now, we just pay for internet, and we purchased our own router too so that we don’t have to lease the router from the cable company. We have an Apple TV streaming device, and have signed up for several streaming options so that we have a wide range of things to watch (Game of Thrones, anyone?!). We now only pay about $25 per month in the subscriptions that we like for streaming, and haven’t missed cable a bit. On that same token, we don’t have the TV on as often, because it’s not as easy to just flip it on for some background noise. This has prompted some much better family time and conversation in our household.
Going to the movie theater is a real treat for us. Not only because we have a three year old son, so getting to a movie while we have a babysitter to watch him isn’t our first priority. But also because we do subscribe to things like Netflix and HBO on our Apple TV and a lot of the popular movies to make it to those platforms eventually. It’s rare that there is a movie we want to see urgently that we cannot wait for it to come out on HBO or Netflix to see it then.
- Extended warranties
This is a Dave Ramsey concept also, but we’ve been practicing this long before we’d ever heard Dave’s name. Point is, we take good care of our things, and we don’t rush out and buy the latest and greatest gadgets just because. Chances are, if you truly bought a defective product, it’s going to go out on your when you are within the manufacturer’s warranty period anyhow. So save yourself the money about “what if” your $500 laptop takes a dive in three years? If you can’t pony up the $500 to replace it to a similar product (which, let’s face it, at the rate that technology advances these days, it would probably be superior to what you bought in the first place) then you would simply save until you could replace it.
And, not to mention, sometimes warranties are not the all encompassing protection that we feel they are. For instance, some mattress company’s warranties charge you a deductible to come and look at the mattress, and then decide if they are going to do anything about it, and then charge you to send you a new mattress, that is of a lesser quality than you originally had to begin with. Not my idea of a good deal.
I simply don’t spend money on mobile apps. Free apps, absolutely, I love to check out new apps for my device! But I figure there’s probably not something super miraculous that’s on an app I would spend money on, that I couldn’t simply do on my laptop.
I used to diligently download songs from iTunes and put them on my iPhone and play them in the car, or while I’m getting ready for the day, etc. And then I realized one of the perks of my Amazon Prime membership is the Amazon Prime music app. And now I play songs from carefully composed playlists of music that I actually enjoy, that also has no commercials and allows me more than 5 skips. Woohoo!
What are some things you quit spending money on to get ahead financially? Share in the comments below!