Before sharing these recommendations, I suggest that you have a way of tracking your expenses. This will give you a clear picture of what you spend daily, weekly and/or monthly and aid you in reducing expenses where needed.
1) Accept the fact you are in debt and forgive yourself. If you are in denial, you are more likely to repeat the pattern.
2) Reduce monthly expenditures. For example, once the price of gas increased, our monthly gas costs went from roughly $200 to approximately $450- 500.00. In an effort to reduce our gas costs, I stopped taking miniature trips every day. Also, my husband would drive my car on the weekends because it costs less in gas.
3) If you’re a person that makes several trips to the grocery store during the month, reduce the number of trips to once a month except for fresh vegetables. This will reduce the number of times you have to put gas in the car. Today, it costs more just to leave the house to get groceries as well as going to work.
4) With the increasing utility bill, begin making repairs to your home now such as getting a programmable thermostat and set it to a certain temperature so that it will automatically come on.
5) As an option, temporarily get a second job for supplemental income. If married, this should be the person that has the ability to generate the most income. I do not recommend any Multi-level Marketing opportunities.
6) For a single person in debt – if you are off on weekends, temporarily get a weekend job and put those funds towards the bills along with your regular income.
7) If you have a cell phone and a regular phone that both have long distance, re-evaluate having both phones. It can get expensive to have both with long distance. Maybe you can remove the regular phone and just use your cell phone if most people call you on that number.
8) If you are a stay at home mom, in my opinion the kids should not be going to daycare. This is an unnecessary expense.
9) Be sensible about your expenditures when it comes to your children. For example, a six month old baby does not need name brand clothing. They need to be clothed. Suggest getting into ‘mommy group’ where you and your friends can swap clothing based on gender and age. I have a couple of moms that I swap clothes with and this saves all of us from having to shop at the store.
10) Grooming expenses for adults: do you really need to get your nails done every week? Could you put that money towards a bill? If you are getting your hair done whether it is a weave, perm, braids or tinting every week – do you need to go to a high end salon or could you go Great Clips for the same thing? I am not saying do not pamper yourself; however, as times get tougher what is the necessity?
11) Maintaining your vehicle is a necessity, but going to a car wash every week is not. You can wash your car at home. Re-evaluate how you are spending your money.
12) If you are a person that likes to go out to eat, reduce the amount of times per month you go out to eat. Begin cooking at home since you are buying groceries for the month.
13) Entertainment – whether it is going to the movies, bars or happy hour – these expenses add up. For example going to a matinee is $7.50 a person (for the two of us is $15.00 before we even get food, which would cost us another $15.00) do you really need to see the movie now or could you wait three months and see it on DVD. Netflix is an option.
14) Add up how much you spend at a vending machine per week when you are at work if you work outside the home. Consider taking snacks from home.
15) Health insurance – if you had a job and are using COBRA for health insurance until you have secured another job, seek an alternative health insurance to the COBRA payments. I remember when I first stopped working at the law firm, we utilized COBRA for almost eighteen months and the price increased two times. Prior to the second increase, I located a shared insurance plan and saved us lots of money.
** There has to be some structure during these difficult economical times. However, these times do not have to be so hard that you cannot enjoy life.