When we complete our debt management plan we'll have a significant increase in money available each month ($2489 extra to be exact). Surely we'd be able to afford a car payment, right? That may be true, but one of the things I've learned while traveling the debt management program highway is to value every dollar, and financing a vehicle is just throwing money away.
My goal was to identify wasted money that could be rechanneled into savings rather than released back into the somewhat fickle waters of the checking account.
Have you ever had a gift certificate you were able to make money on?
But that savings account will actually bring on a new set of problems that you probably haven't had to deal with before.
That being said, we do not choose to sit around in an empty room! We do choose to have a great time together in super cheap ways because we are totally broke!
Naturally the goal is to try to spend as little as possible, so maybe we find some things on sale, or maybe I turn that body wash container up side down, or push every ounce of toothpaste towards the end of the tube to make it last a little longer.
Living on a fixed income as a retiree AND being enrolled in debt consolidation have made me very creative when tackling expensive activities. Here are some very simple money saving ideas that I continually use when traveling and am amazed at how they seem to stretch my money.
One of the common threads I've discovered when talking to people about changing their financial habits is that many times the already know what they need to do in order to change, but they're just not doing it.
But just because I'm not a coupon clipper it doesn't mean that I'm not interested in getting the best value for my dollar at the grocery store, though. While I don't penny-pinch the way I did when husband and I were both in school, I still try to be conscious of the grocery bill.
Today's experiment isn't about consuming; it's about saving. We'll compare two different saving strategies - you'll try each for one to two months - and you can employ the one that works best for you in the end.
It's even more fun to go with a group of people, so we normally pair a trip to the comedy club with hanging out with our friends on the deck at home before and/or after the show.
Stretch your newspaper subscription dollars by finding novel ways to put that paper to work for you.
The extension of this strategy is anytime I get some extra cash from taxes, birthdays, or some other treat, I stash it away in that savings account. Depending on the amount, I might treat myself to something, but the majority needs to go where I can't see it.
When you have all your money in one lump sum it's hard to really remember what you are saving for. Sometimes it even feels like it doesn't matter if you spend a little. It's easy to rationalize that purchase. But when your money is broken up into accounts with names each with a job to do it makes you realize what you are giving up when you make a larger unexpected purchase.
New year, all new clothes, backpack, lunchbox, notebooks, pens, pencils, I felt like the possibilities were endless!
As a charcoal loving, spatula flipping grill lover I enjoy cooking for other people, but sometimes I want to enjoy being with my friends and not have the pressure and responsibility of cooking everyone's main course.
Some people, today, may not even know what a life shattering event it was or how people learned to cope with virtually having nothing to live on. Having to cope with such adversity means you either become a survivor or you just give up all hope.
As you can see, there are so many ways we can be creative about saving money.
Buying something on credit is still buying something!
There was a time, though, that I didn't really think about my priorities and I spent money on things that weren't all that important to me. It took a few years to realize this, but one of the best savings strategies is to prioritize, and then stop spending on things that aren't important.
I have had to leave the accoutrements of home with only a bag in hand a few times; these experiences have been enlightening, and they've a played a significant part in my minimalist - and inexpensive - lifestyle.
We have a creditor that does not participate in debt relief plans and therefore we could not add that account to our plan. We have been pouring all our energy and effort into successfully making our way through our program, so the balance of that account has been falling very slowly.
Now, that I am off that endless merry-go-round of credit card payments that went nowhere, I have been learning to LIVE like a debt free person. OH, I know I've still got many thousands of dollars to repay through my program, but the freedom of that monster is my goal and I'm practicing now for that time of being debt free.
Even when I exclude student loans from my definition of debt (which you pretty much have to at my age to have any chance at finding a debt-free person), it's pretty rare to find someone who has shed themselves of all debt. I've decided it's not entirely impossible for me to get there myself.
You just have to admit your mistakes and be willing to change, stay positive in the face of failure, and be different from everyone else you know. Easy!
In addition to the blogs, be sure to check out the new CareOne Groups:
Are you finally out on your own and figuring out how to balance your finances? If so, this is the group for you. In Starting Out, you can talk about the challenges you are dealing with in a group of like-minded people.
Do you feel like you are finally understanding what being a "grown-up" is all about and are settling into your adult life? If so, this is the group for you. In Settling In you can connect with others who are just like you.
Struggling to balance all that an established lifestyle has to offer? The balancing it all group is for you. Discuss the challenges you face when your responsibilities at work, at home and with family and friends all compete for your attention.
Are you currently retired or planning on retiring very soon? If so, this is the group for you. Times have changed and so has retirement. Learn how others are redefining retirement.