Dump Debt: A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned

Piggy Banking Social Media Marketing Theory

Oh January. It is a hideous time when many receive their credit card bills and come face to face with the sobering realization that the reckless consumerism of Christmas finally has caught up to them.

Let’s be honest, a lot of people are in debt all year ’round. We have mortgages, second mortgages, personal loans, lines of credit, student loans, car loans, and buy things on credit card. I am curious just what the Jones’ ACTUALLY own outright.

How can we ever become free from all this debt?

The answers are easy but they do take effort. I personally respect small money so I will suggest getting rid of debt as with filling a bucket; one drop at a time, one penny at a time. Small changes will make new habits and hopefully create a more frugal friendship with your finances. Becoming debt free won’t happen overnight so be patient!

  1. Do not spend money you do not have. No more buying on credit!
  2. Shop around for the best interest rates for your savings account, not all banks give you the same amount of interest
  3. Do not buy new. Buy used, borrow or trade for items you need. Thrift stores, classified ads, and even your friends and neighbors can be a great way to get what you need
  4. If you have numerous credit cards see if you can transfer your debt to the one with the lowest interest rate and/or pay off the card with the highest interest rate first
  5. Pay off your balance on your credit cards every month
  6. If you have to buy new, shop around and buy on sale. Sometimes some stores will give you a discount or the last sale price if you ask nicely
  7. When you buy on sale make sure that you are charged the correct price, some stores will give you the item for free if the sticker price is incorrect when you are rung through
  8. I will never be a coupon queen, as there are not many items I buy that offer coupon deals. Make a list of what you buy and see if there are any discounts you can get online. (I did manage to get a coupon for milk the other day!)
  9. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss regularly. Get a good toothbrush (I prefer battery operated or electric even though it is not a green solution). If you take good care of your teeth it will save you a ton on dental bills
  10. Have insurance. Life, health, car, house, renter’s… I do not believe in taking chances, neither should you
  11. Eat healthfully and exercise. If you keep in good health you will save money. Prescriptions, and medical bills add up fast. Imagine the money saved if you no longer needed your monthly maintenance drugs!
  12. Rethink your transportation: If you lease, maybe you should think about getting a more affordable vehicle that you can purchase outright
  13. Do you need to vehicles insured all year round? Maybe you could get by with one vehicle
  14. Would it be more affordable to take transit or carpool?
  15. Look at walking or biking to run errands a few times a week. Sure it can be easier to drive but you will save a lot of money on gas and get fit
  16. What daily splurges do you indulge in that cost you money? Do you buy coffee out? Do you go out for lunch on workdays? Do you get a candy bar at the vending machine for a snack? Whatever it is you do, anticipate it and find a cheaper solution. Brew coffee at home, pack a lunch to take to work, buy chocolate bars in club packs for a more affordable price.
  17. Do you order pizza in? Buy frozen on sale or make it from scratch. Heck, make it from scratch and then freeze it! (It is easier than you think). The same can be said for most takeaway items. Plan ahead and save cash
  18. Make food from scratch. Don’t buy expensive pre-made sauces or soups. Make everything from scratch
  19. When you make food from scratch, make extra and freeze it. Making a casserole? Make two, freeze the second one for a busy night when you might be tempted to order in or go out to eat
  20. Buy in bulk. Most of the time it is cheaper when you buy more. Use  lot of rice or cereal or pasta? Buy bulk and properly store the items in your freezer or pantry. Buy with a friend and share the savings and the items!
  21. Eat in season. Fruits and veggies are expensive, buy in season to see more affordable prices. You can also find boxes of #2 produce at many farm markets where the not so pretty but just as tasty produce are marked down
  22. Buy in season fruits and veggies in bulk and save! If you learn to freeze, dehydrate or can, you can preserve bounty in season to enjoy during the winter and spring
  23. Cancel cable, internet or both. If you have a cellphone, you do not really need a home phone or visa versa. Do your children really need a cellphone each?  Get them one to share or a pay as you go version.
  24. Cancel your gym membership and go outside to get fit
  25. Cancel your magazine or newspaper subscriptions (Many are available online or at the library)
  26. Sell your clutter. Do you have belongings in a paid for storage unit? Are you living in a bigger place to accommodate your things? Maybe you should sell off the stuff you do not need and save while earning cash for clutter
  27. Eat vegan and or vegetarian meals a few times a week. Meat and seafood are expensive, Meatless Monday could be a money saving tradition that is also good for the environment
  28. Turn off, unplug or replace household items with non-electric versions. Many appliances use electricity even when they are not in use. By turning off you will be seeing savings by the time you get your next electrical bill. Choose to switch out light bulbs and appliances for more energy efficient versions. I got rid of my electric alarm clock in exchange for a wind up one and I got rid of my television and all the corresponding devices to save on numerous bills. You could even go so far as to have an “off grid” day when you unplug everything and chose not to use power.
  29. My water is metered so I actually pay for what I use. I use a bucket to catch water when warming up the shower, I catch my bathroom sink water from washing my hands and brushing my teeth to flush my toilet, I have objects in my toilet tank to displace how much water I use when I flush, I do not run the water when I brush my teeth, I catch rainwater to water many of my outside plants and I often reuse cooking water to water plants or even to make sauces or cook more than one item
  30. Adjust the temperature. Make sure your fridge and freezer is set to the appropriate temperature, turn down the hot water tank to 120 degrees and see up to 10% savings, turn up your A/C unit a few degrees or turn down your furnace a couple degrees to save as well. Getting an automatic thermostat can save even more by making adjustments so you don’t have to
  31. Get a roommate. Renting a room can afford you a tidy secondary income
  32. Get a side job. Even offer to do jobs for neighbors like mowing lawns or walking dogs; the hours are flexible
  33. Trade babysitting for babysitting to save money or babysit for extra cash
  34. Grow your own food. Even if you live in an apartment you can grow your own herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, peas, chard and more in planters
  35. Grow enough food to sell the surplus. People love farm fresh and local. I am not talking about acres of food, I am talking about a bunch of herbs or a few zucchini
  36. Don’t buy saran wrap, use reusable lidded containers like mason jars to store food
  37. Don’t buy tinfoil, use lidded glass dishes to bake in instead
  38. Don’t buy kleenex, use a washable handkerchief
  39. Don’t buy paper towel, use a rag or dishcloth
  40. Don’t buy toilet paper, use a bidet or diaper sprayer and towel off afterwards
  41. Don’t buy disposable sanitary products, use cloth pads or reusable silicone cups
  42. Forage for food. It is free and local
  43. Learn to mend, if you can sew a hole or put back on a button you can extend the life of your clothes
  44. Buy with cash and save the change in a jar
  45. You want broccoli for dinner but cabbage is way cheaper? Swap it out and save. The same is true for all your grocery shopping needs versus wants. Sometimes a small change is a big savings
  46. If you know you need something like toilet paper, buy more of it when it goes on sale. You will put out more money initially but save a lot in the long run
  47. DIY. If you can learn to do a job yourself instead of hiring someone, do it! Clean your own house, mow your own lawn, wash your own car…
  48. Many stores discount food nearing expiring. The food is still good to eat and you can save money while diverting food from being thrown out. I get baking, produce, seafood and even cheeses this way. My local store offers a 30% discount. Sometimes I get produce for FREE.
  49. Make personal hygiene items like shampoo, and deodorant, and household cleaners like laundry soap and toilet cleaner from scratch
  50. Buy books used or go to the library instead of buying new. Libraries are FREE
  51. Use a fan or check out house cooling techniques such as using window tint or awnings instead of the A/C. (Personally I sleep outside in a tent in the backyard when it gets hot)
  52. Put on warmer clothes, use a blanket and checkout ways to insulate your home to save money on heating costs in winter
  53. If you have numerous ways to heat your house, chose the cheapest way for your area. (My current home has gas and electric heating)
  54. Make a grocery list before you go shopping to avoid impulse items
  55. Rent a movie instead of going to the theatre or better yet, plan a free date night like a picnic
  56. Do you or your children really need all those paid activities? Find free ways to entertain yourself
  57. Pay bills on time. Many times companies will give you a discount for paying on time.
  58. Hang your clothes on a line or rack instead of using a clothes dryer
  59. Use solar
  60. when you drive up town, plan your trips to save gas and time
  61. Save up for purchases and pay cash
  62. Don’t just cook from scratch learn to make bread, cheese, butter, and condiments from homemade
  63. Air out your house instead of using chemical air fresheners
  64. Use appropriate bedding for the different seasons. A warmer blanket goes a long way in winter and a lighter bedspread makes a world of difference in summer
  65. Eat your leftovers
  66. Don’t buy more fresh produce than you can use. Throwing away spoiled food is throwing away money
  67. Eat down the pantry. Don’t buy new food all the time, make meals out of what you have on hand in the pantry and freezer.
  68. Make gifts rather than buying gifts
  69. Compost. It saves the environment and gives you free, fertile soil for growing food
  70. Learn to do basic repairs on your car like an oil change or checking fluids and keeping the tires properly inflated. Regularily rotate your tires and have Winter and Summer tires both on rims. It is an investment but proper tires  will last longer if used appropriately

This list is in no way exhaustive. What ways can you save?

 

 

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