UPDATED: December 22, 2020 – You were only trying to see your dreams come true, but now you’re thousands of dollars in debt. Maybe even tens of thousands. Perhaps it’s student debt, or it’s from a loan for something else … or, you just haven’t been able to pay your bills.
How are you supposed to get out of this mess?
Don’t panic, because that will not help. There are many ways to get out of debt, but it takes a little ingenuity, and a lot of tenacity. Here are a few top ways to start digging yourself out of that pile.
Set a Daily Per Diem
If you’re trying to save up money so that you can start paying off debt, you CANNOT spend more than you earn. It takes a lot of self control, but try setting yourself a spending limit of ten or even five dollars a day.
One thing to help you out here is to stop buying unnecessary daily luxuries, like coffee and take out lunches. Buy sandwich items at the start of the week and pack your lunch daily (or make extra dinner every night, and bring leftovers with you for lunch,) and make your own coffee at home to bring to work with you.
We know … it’s not espresso. But did you know that purchasing espresso will quickly add up to a monthly cost of anywhere from $30 – $55, depending on how fancy your daily java jolt is? We know it’s nice, but you can’t afford it.
Plus, when you’re deep in debt, saving that amount each month instead of spending it will add up and help you pay off bills.
Same goes for alcohol … I mean, really; daily booze is completely unnecessary. Yes, it is. If you’re arguing, then face the facts: you’ve got a drinking problem. ESPECIALLY if you buy a six pack a day. A few social drinks a month with friends is a different story.
Exercise for Free
Know what’s a lot cheaper than we make it out to be? Working out. You do NOT need a gym, no matter how nice the air conditioning is. All you need is a sidewalk or a path to jog or walk. If you’re into weight lifting, maybe consider finding secondhand barbells (and sterilize them real good.) If you’re trying to bulk up anyway, well, stop … Because you’ll only have to spend extra money on high-protein food.
Can’t do that when you’re in debt. Stop paying for a gym membership, right now!
Save on Gas
Pick a close-by grocery store that has an associated gas pump, like Safeway, and buy everything there you’ll ever need – clothes, food, anything. You’ll thank yourself later when you see how much those gas points are saving you at the pump. Also, try to plan your errands efficiently, so that you’re not wasting gas to get everywhere you need to go.
Be Smart About Grocery Shopping
Go to your Department of Human Services website to see if you qualify for food stamps … These will help a lot with budgeting, especially if you manage never to spend money on food if it’s not using your stamps.
If you don’t qualify, never fear. Buy in bulk at Costco. Don’t buy boxed cereals – get oatmeal in bulk instead, and add fruit, nuts, raisins; it’s way cheaper, and more nutritious. Your grocery store awards program that you use to save at the gas pump should also give you discounts on many items.
Always check the discount rack – there’s everything from slightly expired bread, to barely squashed granola bars, to shampoo in dented bottles there.