How to Budget Creatively and be Debt-Free

Debt Free

It is all too easy these days to end up deep in debt and feel like you’ll never break free, but there are many ways to improve your financial standing and pay off your bills without declaring bankruptcy.

In fact, some simple, long-term lifestyle changes can offer significant long term savings that will help you get back on your feet and stay there.

By learning to save money instead of spending credit, you will be able to reverse your debt and learn money-saving tricks for the future.

  1. Cut down monthly bills
    • Re-shop insurance plans, utilities, and services to make sure you are getting the best deal currently available to save money each month on your bills.
    • Downgrade or cancel services to save further money. Cable packages, home phones, and monthly subscriptions can add up quickly and are easy to cut back or cancel.
  2. Sell unused clothing or belongings
    • Consignment stores will often pay for unused clothing that is new or almost new, or you can have a garage sale to sell several items at once. It not only will allow you to make extra income with little effort, but will also free your home from unnecessary clutter.
    • Sell valuable items you do not need on Facebook, Craigslist, Kijiji, or in the local paper. If taking this option, always be sure to meet the buyer in an open, public area as to stay safe during the transaction.
  3. Find extra work
    • Many places will hire extra staff for their busy seasons, so look for seasonal or temporary work to add to your yearly personal income.
    • Freelance work can also be a good way to boost your income by dedicating some of your free time to an extra project or two. Since there are so many companies looking for freelance writers, it’s likely that you will be able to find something in your specialized field.
  4. Spend less on entertainment, spas, and stylists
    • Movies, eating out, and going to the pub can get expensive quickly. Stay home for dinner, rent a movie from the library or on the internet, and cut back on your entertainment spending.
    • When you do eat out, choose water instead of pop and skip the snacks at the movies. Choose less expensive meals and drink less alcohol.
    • Instead of buying books, read them at the library.
    • Give up manicures, pedicures, massages, and other expensive spa treatments.
    • Find a less expensive stylist or choose a haircut which requires less frequent maintenance. These may seem like arbitrary steps, but after tallying up the total spent on personal grooming and entertainment yearly, many people are surprised to see an unnecessary high number.
  5. Save money on groceries
    • Switch from brand names to generic or non-name brands.
    • Make use of rewards programs at local supermarkets which allow you to earn points towards future purchases.
    • Boxed cereals can be very expensive. Try switching to alternative breakfast foods which provide more nutrition for your buck: oatmeal, eggs, and fruit are all better options.
  6. Avoid excuses to spend
    • Give homemade gifts whenever possible instead of spending money on presents.
    • Set a spending limit for Christmas and other holidays. Instead of purchasing gifts for everyone, have your family draw names out of a hat so each person is responsible for purchasing only one person a gift. This will save time, effort, and most importantly, money.
    • Don’t host parties if you feel obligated to buy food and drinks for everybody. Have a BYOB barbeque or a potluck instead.
    • Make coffee or tea at home instead of buying it every day. Even if you’re only spending $2 a day on coffee, that adds up to a shocking $730 a year.
    • Don’t go window shopping if you cannot control your spending habits! The same goes for Internet shopping. If you have trouble controlling what you purchase, don’t give yourself the temptation to do so.
  7. Extra tips
    • Plan all of your errands ahead of time and choose the most efficient route in order to save on gas.
    • Find friends to trade services with: haircutting, handymen, babysitting, pet-sitting, photography, and other services that your friends specialize in can be traded for a valuable skill you have instead of for monetary value.
    • Instead of signing up for the gym, take a walk or go hiking. Alternatively, there are plenty of free instructional videos on websites like YouTube that will save you thousands on personal trainer costs.
    • Program your thermostat to save on heating and cooling during the day while you are not home.


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