In our last Debt Discussion, we talked about Deciding on a Debt-Free Date. Now that you’ve nailed down a specific date or time-frame that you’d like to have everything paid off, let’s look a little closer at the “how” of reaching your goal.
Assuming you aren’t still adding to your debt, paying it off is simply an equation of spending less + earning more + time. You might already have some plans for how you’ll cut your costs and earn extra this year. Unless you have already optimized your budget and cut out any fluff, chances are you have some room for improvement.
If you want different results you’re going to have to do something different.
If you’ve been at working to tackle your debt for a while, you have probably trimmed some excess from your budget already. It’s normal to start by giving up things that don’t matter very much. Depending on the depth of your debt and your own motivation to get out of it, to make real progress, or sometimes to get any traction at all, you will have to give up things that matter.
It’s going to take sacrifice.
By definition, a sacrifice is giving up something of value to gain something of greater value. Since we all value things differently, sacrifices are personal. Sacrifices will be different for each of us.
For example, we have never had a TV. Neither my husband nor I have ever been interested in having a TV. For us, not having cable is not a sacrifice. It’s the norm. For others giving up cable would be a huge sacrifice.
It’s okay to have things you aren’t willing to sacrifice. For example, even though we are nearly Six Figures Under in debt, I have no plans to work outside the home. For us, my being home with our young children is more important than getting our debt paid off faster. The things we aren’t willing to sacrifice also vary from person to person since they are based on what we each value.
What are you willing to sacrifice to get out of debt?
- Eating out?
- Buying new clothes?
- Movies in the theater?
- Upgrading your phone?
The list could go on and on. Only the very basics are non-negotiable.
A few things to keep in mind:
- You don’t have to give up everything. Just choose something.
- If you are married, be sure to make decisions together. Cutting cable on your sports fanatic spouse probably won’t net you “something of greater value.”
- Your sacrifice can be temporary. Setting a time limit on hard things will make it easier. Give up fast food for a month. Cut your own hair for a year.
It’s your turn…
What sacrifices are you making to get out of debt? What things are non-negotiable for you?
Linked to Thrifty Thursday
Fantastic and Fabulous.
BPBAZ, Janice says
I’ve noticed shifting the mindset from “How/Where can I save money?” over to “What could I give up?” really shows that someone is truly dedicated to improving their financial situation, and this is usually the point where they make the change and make things happen. Such a great way to think about it 🙂
As a military family, we certainly do not have a ton of money to work with month to month. Given that my husband’s employment is our only income, there can be struggles now and again. I am a homeschooling mother who is going to school herself, so there is no option for me to earn a little extra. We recently purchased a home and our first year in the home was very difficult on us financially. We had just moved back from Germany and the enormous amount of expenses seemed more than we could handle. We didn’t have an option to live on post for free at the time, and all the rent in the area was more expensive than a mortgage. With much prayer, we decided to purchase our first home. In addition to the home, we also have one used vehicle payment (the other vehicle has been paid off for years), credit card debt, a loan at interest free school loan (non traditional school). Our goal is to have everything but the house paid off by December 31, 2016. In order to accomplish this, I had to get pretty creative and take all the fat out of our budget.
1) With our refund, we paid money down on the loan, paid a bill off, got out of our contract with directv, and purchased our food for the year in bulk (Sam’s, Costco, and Zaycon Foods).
2) Since I homeschool and this can be a huge expense, I decided to find a public funded co-op that gives us a stipend per child to use on resources and to borrow from their curriculum library for free. I also have researched many websites and free resources that I can incorporate into their schooling to meet all the necessary requirements without spending a penny. I have also found a set curriculum that can be used over and over again for K-12. No more purchasing expensive curriculum!
3) We went from T-Mobile cells and service to StraightTalk, but are seriously considering Republic Wireless or just getting me a prepaid cell phone for emergencies now that we have a MagicJack for the house as the main phone (can’t beat $35 a year!).
4) I make everything homemade and know how to incorporate the food in the pantry as to not go to the store for those “missing items”.
5) I look for military PCS sales where I can score those needed items for dirt cheap.
6) I know which foods will regrow from scraps, so I don’t spend money on repurchasing those produce items. I also compost for my garden and for my future vegetable garden that I will be turning my backyard into this summer.
7) I have Netflix and Jelly telly for the kids for us to watch educational documentaries and family movies.
8) We find free things to do for our family but will take occasional paid trips once we have set money aside.
9) I do use coupons, but they are not a staple now that I purchase in bulk for the year. I usually feel compelled to spend more so that I can use the coupons, so I just purchase in bulk.
10) I shop around. We have the commissary, King Soopers, and Sprouts that I can find my organic items for very inexpensive. When KS has 10/10 sales, I jump on them and stock up my house of those items we use often.
11) I shop at the Dollar Tree first. A lot of times, we find what we need or can use there before going to other name stores.
12) I make my own shower wash by using bar soap (I use ivory and incorporate coconut oil and olive oil) and although the consistency is not desirable (looks boogerish lol), it works like a charm and is super cheap.
13) I pluck my own eyebrows, color my own hair, do my own pedicures/manicures, facial masks etc
14) My mom shops at all the name brand beauty stores, so she gives me makeup she doesn’t want, and all her samples for free. I don’t have to purchase makeup anymore…lol…there is literally that much.
15) I called my internet provider and they lowered my bill down to less than $20 a month for another 12 months. That is a savings of $54 a month.
16) I pay an extra $10 a month to my mortgage to cut down interest. We also got a letter in the mail from our lender (and an email) for us to receive the reduced new rate for VA loans. That saves us an additional $26000 over the course of our mortgage! Instead of taking the money back into the account, we are keeping our payment the same since we are doing well with the payment and will increase the savings over time!
17) We do not eat out, I cook at home. I use freezer meals for our “convenience meals” for those nights that I know we will be busy, I just take one of those out and bam! Dinner is served. I am also learning how to can and can make my own pasta sauce, jam and salsa right now. I am learning some new recipes to help keep us stocked throughout the year and for it t “roll over” into 2016.
18) One of our favorite past times is to share meals with the homeless down town. We love to do ministry together. It is great for bonding as a family in the name of our Lord, but also benefits these precious people and gives them hope. Other than the cost of a few materials. It is an inexpensive way for us to do something worthwhile and make a difference.
19) If there is anything that we do not use, we sell it on yard sale sites. If it lingers for too long, I often just donate it to a family in need. It feels good to be able to give back. It isn’t doing us any good sitting around, at least someone else can benefit.
20) Before we make purchases, we see how we can utilize what we already own first. I love repurposing! I don’t purchase organizers. I save cardboard from food items (boxes) and cut them to be little drawer organizers for those junk drawers. They also make good filers if cut correctly.
21) For books, we download free kindle books or go to “Gutenberg.org” or “booksshouldbefree.com”. No expense, just great books!
22) We shop clearance racks, 2nd hand shops, and yard sale sites for our clothing. It is rare for us to purchase new. (Exceptions are: shoes and headgear)
23) We used to spend $200/month on groceries and household items. That included meat at every meal (but I portioned well), but now we are looking to do more soup/Panini nights, breakfast for dinner (mainly eggs since I can get 15 dozen for $18.50 at Sam’s) and vegetarian meals. When I purchase meat, I usually purchase a whole chicken or turkey for me to boil to get the broth, and shred the meat into 5 meals (chicken) to 10-12 meals for the turkey. It is not used as a star of the show.
24) I can make my own cleaners using every day things such as lemon juice, olive oil, rubbing alcohol, baking soda, peroxide, and salt.
25.) To prevent getting sick and to rid the onset of colds, we drink lemon water throughout the day. It keeps us well and keeps costs at bay for medicines. I am going to school to be a naturopath so food is our medicine 🙂
There are so many more things that we do, but these are the biggies.
With all of this, we are funding a trip to Disney (we are driving and using the military resort on the property that includes our meals, gratuity and 7 night stay) and visiting family on the way back. We are also paying off the rest of our debt by the end of next year, and then working on our mortgage. My husband retires from the service in 10 years and we would like our home paid in full and to not owe a dime to anyone to make the transition a pleasant one. I love reading all the things ya’ll are incorporating…great for encouragement!
That’s quite the list Jessica! It looks like you’ve thought everything out well. It’s amazing what you can do when you have a goal and put your mind to it. Best wishes!
We have been doing some cutting back as well. We got rid of cable a while ago. cable here is pretty pricey, it’s rediculous. Gas prices have skyrocketed in our province, so we travel into USA and fill up the gas tanks there (thank goodness we live close enough to do this).
We’ve cut eating out from our lives unless we’re out for an entire day running errands we will use a coupon to eat. I always use coupons every groccery shopping trip. I’ve even started meal planning to lower food waste, because that really is throwing money in the trash.
My husband isn’t buying his monthly CD’s anymore for a little while. He’s been working lots of overtime shifts. This last month we managed to save $3,500 from cutting back and OT shift contributions we’re so proud of ourselves!
Great job! Way to work hard and cut back! $3,500 is a nice chunk! Gas seems so expensive here, I can’t believe it’s worse in Canada! That’s nice that you’re close enough to the border to have that as an option!
Eating out is a weakness because it is so convenient. I have gone to the farmer’s market a few times. I love to deal locally whenever possible. When it is possible I will borrow materials from the library. I watch U tube a lot as well. I buy generics a lot because I don’t always have a coupon for certain items.
We sold our car and lived with 1. Out family of 5 squished into a honda fit. And since i cannot drive stick, we were stuck at home all week. But it was worth it. In 5 months we paid off the debt (that was done with the sale of the car), saved 10k, and purchased a used second car debt free.
That’s awesome Jerilyn. Definitely a sacrifice, but it definitely paid off! Thanks for sharing!
Great article, thanks for sharing! My partner and I recently went self-employed – much lower income < higher quality of life. We've definitely made some changes…
We sold his truck and went down to having 1 car – a Prius! We don't have cable or even own a tv! We rarely buy things new, instead we get stuff like clothes, kitchen stuff, furniture, etc. from Craigslist, garage sales, Goodwill, or second hand clothing stores. We don't buy paper towels – instead use washable and reusable towels. We eat out WAY less than we used to and cook nice meals at home. Instead of buying new books, I borrow them from the library… Nothing too hard or rocket surgery 🙂 But it all adds up!
It does all add up! You’ve made some great changes to account for the lower income. It’s refreshing to see that your choice to be self-employed resulted in lower income AND a higher quality of life. It seems that too often people think that’s impossible (that lower income automatically means lower quality of life). Best wishes Heidi!
I just graduated with an M.S. degree earlier this month and have been actively seeking full-time employment in my field of study. Grad school has definitely done an excellent job in terms of helping me master the art of budgeting and frugal living! In terms of extras, I have never had cable, don’t have Netflix, and spend little outside in terms of entertainment (there’s always something free and fun going on in town). I am on a family cell phone plan with my parents, rarely eat out, and don’t have a car payment or mortgage. I am single with no children.
I do, however, have credit card and student loan debt. Although I don’t have to worry about my student loans just yet, I am already thinking of small changes I can make to help the transition into debt repayment go more smoothly. My weaknesses: new clothes and coffee shop coffee! I am working on this, and am really focusing on better understanding my feelings and mindset when I go to grab that $5 coffee or pretty new top that I might actually never wear. I am willing to give these things up in order to better manage my debt, but I also won’t make myself feel bad if I mess up once.
The one big thing I refuse to give up – even though this is usually at the top of the typical “things you should cut from your budget” list – is my gym membership. I pay a very reasonable $20 a month, no contract, for unlimited group fitness classes at our local rec center. I am a bit of a fitness addict and at the gym at least 4 times a week! To me, the benefits of health, friendship, and feeling of community far outweigh the cost of membership.
Great job learning to live on a budget during school! And now, I think knowing your weaknesses and being careful is key. I love that you don’t beat yourself up when you mess up though. I think a lot of people who really benefit from (and use) and gym membership opt to keep it even when things are tight. That’s perfectly fine, especially when you have analyzed your situation and made a conscious decision about it. I can tell that you’ve weighed the cost and benefits. Thanks for sharing Candice!
A few more that I thought of –
I know this sounds crazy – but we also switched our laundry detergent to those pods instead of powder or liquid. Neither my husband or I could get past not using the full scoop or cap in the load, no matter what size load we were running. But we have no problem putting only 1 pod in the washer. Crazy, I know, but we actually get the recommended number of loads out of the pack now, which we never did before.
But this is probably the more practical one. We stopped using paper towels and paper napkins. I invested in a roll of reusable paper towels from Etsy, and the only time we use paper towels now is for drying fried foods, like taco shells. I also realized we had a drawer full of cloth napkins (not the fancy linen ones, but the regular cotton ones) which we were never using, so we started using those for our every day meals. I got a plastic dish bin and put it on our dryer, and the used towels and napkins ones go in there. We wash everything on cold anyway, so we just throw them in with whatever load of laundry we are currently washing. My kids do that as part of the clean-up routine at the end of dinner. That has saved us a lot in the last 2 years, I’m not doing an extra load of laundry just to wash the towels and napkins, and things that were not being used for many years (the napkins) are actually being used now!
We are battling trying to get out from under multiple law school debts without having the high-end jobs and started economizing. We gave up cable and just have internet feeds for our television. We stick to a grocery list religiously. We each have an “allowance” for our socializing budget – complete with separate accounts and debit cards for each of us so there are no questions. I buy all of the kids clothes from consignment. I have a 16 week calendar of rotating dinners that we stick to for week nights and I do the cooking on Sunday in about 3 hours (I love my double ovens) and we reheat on week nights so there is no temptation to eat out and food doesn’t get. Ought and go bad.
I switched jobs a year ago and now we carpool whenever we can which saves on gas and saves on wear and tear on our second car.
Unfortunately we have both lost significant amounts of weight this past year (we needed to), so we have tailored clothes when we could to make them last longer and only replaced when absolutely necessary.
Our current mantra is, “is it a want or is it a need?” Our kids, preschool and elementary school aged, are even in on the game. We are only focused on needs not wants, right now.
Next up – finding ways to bring in extra income!
Oh Betsy! I know exactly what you mean about law school debt without a high-end job. That’s us for sure! It sounds like you are making lots of sacrifices to live on less. I love that your kids are involved. I think struggles can really bring a family together when you are united in your goals. Thanks for sharing!
La Tejana @Debt Free Tejana says
Oh I need to join in the card creation club! I love to write people letters or little notes of encouragement, so I find myself using stationary quite a bit!
My non-negotiable is CrossFit. It’s expensive, but I need the structure of working out with a group. Plus- it is a such a good release for me!
Liz S says
P.S. I would be interested to know what other people feel they save on air-drying laundry, just because I’m curious. I faintly remember a post on Money Saving Mom (?) where Crystal or someone else talked about it only saving 40-ish dollars a YEAR and how it costs just cents to run the dryer. I have no clue if this is true or not, but would love to hear more about it. Because I am a dryer snob, lol, I make sure to run the dryer loads back-to-back so the dryer doesn’t have to heat up every time. So usually I just do laundry once a week on Mondays, and I end up having 2-4 dryer loads that I keep going.
I will have to look into that. There are lots of factors to consider. When we were in the midwest, we chose an electric plan where the rate changed depending on the day of the week and time of day, rather than just having the standard rate. You could just check the current rate on the internet. It was a motivating way to save on electricity.
I would to the laundry at non-peak hours and it saved tremendously on our bill. We used A/C very minimally, so laundry and cooking were the big electricity drains. I had other friends who did not want to be bothered with scheduling laundry at odd hours.
Liz S says
That reminds me: I first heard of that when I watched and episode of Extreme Cheapskates on tv…this lady was doing laundry and mowing the lawn after midnight because it saved money on electric…I had totally forgotten about that until you mentioned the time factor. 😛
Oh I feel bad for her neighbors!
One of the most frugal bloggers I read (The Prudent Homemaker) dries her clothes in the dryer.
To give you an idea of how frugal she is: she completely turned her yard into a garden and has only spent $10 on groceries some months
So if she uses her dryer in using mine. You can always cut electricity costs by putting everything in power strips and flipping off the strips when you are leaving the house
Can you imagine hanging clothes for a family of 9!? That’s a lot of laundry and a very long clothesline! 🙂 I would surely use my dryer too!
One of the main reasons I hang my clothes (weather permitting) is because my mother-in-law does and I live in her house and she pays the utilities. It’s more of a “when in Rome…” sort of thing. It used to seem like a chore to me, but now I just enjoy the chance to take a break and go outside.
By all means use your dryer and don’t feel bad about it 🙂
Denise Stathatos says
I like the idea of using power strips and turning them off when not in use. I saves energy and money at the same time. energy is expensive.
Liz S says
I love how God designed us all uniquely, and how what works for one person, might not work for another. For instance, I used to make my own laundry soap but found that my clothes did not smell good and it left a gritty texture on them. I gave Swagbucks a fair shot for about 6 months, and found it was a completely waste of time and constantly stressed me out (just my personality) because I always felt nagged to waste time by turning on a tv video just to get points or whatnot. To me, it seemed like I was only getting compensated 5 dollars for 3 hours worth of work, so for me, it just didn’t make sense. As for hanging laundry to dry–I avoid this at all costs because a lot of the clothes that my children and I wear NEED to be dried on high heat in order to shrink (or at least not stretch out) so that they fit properly and don’t fall off. Air drying seemed to make my clothes grow bigger and stretch out. But I love how it works for some people. 😛
Here are some things we do at our home to save money. I don’t know as if I would call them ALL sacrifices, because most of them we don’t even think about, but they are ways we save money, so here they are:
1. I only get my haircut in the salon about once a year. I will get my eyebrows plucked at the salon twice a year, and in between I will use tweezers and do my best job myself.
2. My husband has always buzzed our son’s hair from the time he was a baby until now and he is 7 years old, so we’ve never paid for a haircut for him. My husband also does his own hair.
3. We do not own smartphones. My husband is a pediatrician and needs a cell phone for when he is on call, otherwise he wouldn’t even have one. But we only pay about 36 dollars a month for the cheapest plan. We both have “dumb” phones and we block incoming texts so we aren’t charged. I use a prepaid plan so I basically just have the phone for emergencies. When my kids are at school and I am out doing errands, I need to have it turned on.
4. We have never paid for a gym membership and never will…so much you can do at home inside or outside. (Anybody got stairs?)
5. We do not own an ipad/kindle/wii/etc…
6. When I do wear makeup (rarely do I have time for it), I buy cheap makeup from Walmart that lasts years.
7. I buy shampoo/conditioner/etc… at Walmart for cheap.
8. I have my kids make birthday/get well cards/etc… If I need to send one card from the whole family, I either spend 10 cents and buy a photo of the kids to put on the front of a homemade card or else I buy a card for 50 cents at the Dollar Tree.
9. As a general rule, if I am giving someone a gift, I don’t give a card…just put a label on it. If I am NOT giving a gift, then I will do a card instead, but I don’t feel that both are necessary.
10. I sometimes do surveys on Survey Savvy because I feel they are worth the compensation. But I stopped doing them on My Survey because I felt that wasn’t worth the time and headache.
11. I buy as much of our kid’s clothes at the consignment store.
12. I try to buy our kid’s clothes out of season and on clearance racks, if I can guess ahead the right size. Just this week I bought my 4 year old daughter a winter coat in the next size up at Carters. Because it was such a good deal, I ended up getting her TWO winter coats in the next size up plus a pair of sweatpants and only spent 38!
13. This may sound silly, but keeping our house clutter-free (as much as possible–it’s like laundry and constantly needs to be done because by the time you are done, it’s time to start over again) and having a “home” for everything, means less trips to the store to duplicate items we can’t find.
14. I buy gifts MONTHS in advance for people so I can get a great deal…plus, I feel like people who buy gifts at the last minute tend to spend more.
15. There are lots more, but I will spare the yawns for anyone who actually made it this far in reading my response. 😛
Great list Liz! We never buy cards either. The kids (and I) love to create .
We are in the dumb phone club too 🙂
I love that you mentioned being organized and clutter-free. For me, taking time to keep things clean is a real sacrifice (there are so many other things I would rather do), but it really does save money (and sanity). When you’re organized you pay bills on time, don’t have library fines, can find the things you need, etc.
Sacrifices and priorities are definitely personal, which, like you said, is great! What works for some doesn’t work for others and vice versa.
robert @ moneybulldog says
I think this is the area of debt management which most of us shy away from Stephanie. We all want to be better off but few of us want to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve this
I think you’re right Robert. And it’s not only about getting out of debt! It applies to any financial goals (or any goals really).
What we have given up (or modified):
– I make my own laundry soap. $30 worth of ingredients last 6-8 months.
– I cook a lot at home and have cut down the eating out to one treat per week. I do a lot of freezer meals and adore my deep freezer.
-Both of our cars are paid off. I drove a car that had 200,000 miles on it and NO a/c in south Louisiana for 2 YEARS while I saved up the money to buy my current car. I have luckily NEVER had a car note!
– I don’t wear makeup or dye my hair. My husband and I go to the barbers for haircuts. I wear a pixie.
– I’m pretty strict on the food budget… I keep the meat purchases under 2.00/lb. I don’t buy junk or convenience foods.
– Our biggest helper is that we don’t have human kids, but we do have fur-babies. Kids cost a LOT of money.
Things I WON’T give up:
-My eyebrow appointments every 3-4 weeks
– Good food for my dogs and a good vet
-My gym membership
-My cable package. I’m one of those crazy sports people.
CeCee that’s awesome that you drove a car with no A/C for 2 years while you were saving up! Our van has 219,000 miles on it now. The A/C died at the end of the summer and will cost over $1,000 to fix. We are holding out until the summer hits and then we’ll decide what to do about it. It gets super hot in the back since only the front windows open.
Kids can cost a lot of money, but you can also do the parenting thing frugal-style, just like anything else 🙂
We actually aren’t having kids for other reasons, but you have to acknowledge the frugality of it ;).
I also had a $1000 estimate to get the a/c fixed and the car wasn’t worth that much. One of my windows didn’t roll down in the Honda. It was miserable, but SOOOOOO worth it…. I actually bought a fan that you can plug into the car lighter thingy. It helped a good bit most of the time, except for the dead hottest part of summer. I think the fan was under $20 and I got it from auto zone.
I figured your decision wasn’t just a financial one 🙂
Our van situation is similar. I don’t want to pay $1,000 to fix the A/C then have the whole van die. It is running fine, so if it is still going strong when summer hits I imagine we will fix the A/C. Maybe we’ll look into the fan!
We are not currently in debt (that was paid off a few years ago), but our income was cut significantly when I switched jobs late last year to pursue a different career path, one I’m very passionate about and know will yield great dividends on multiple fronts.
To prepare for and adjust to this change, we’ve done the following things:
1. Built up our savings with every extra penny found/earned
2. Cut cable and reduced internet package. (This alone saves us close to $100 per month!)
3. Cut grocery shopping to two weekends a month instead of the weekly trips we were doing. (One store doubles on Saturday, the other on Sunday. Fortunately, both stores are in very convenient locations that match up with other planned excursions on those dates.)
4. Purchased Easter basket goodies during before and after Christmas sales. (We have 6 children, so things get quite expensive very quickly!)
5. Use Swagbucks every day.
6. Enter codes for all promotions. (i.e. Huggies, Pampers, Kelloggs, Coke) The plan is to redeem the points earned for Shutterfly gifts for Christmas 2014.
7. Drop off cans at the local metal recycling center and deposit money in the Fun Fund. (It’s amazing how quickly this adds up, especially since we live along the route the elementary, middle, and highschool aged kids walk to and from school!)
8. Be content and thankful for what we do have every day. When we don’t focus on what we don’t have, can’t get, or won’t visit, we choose to ignore God’s provisions. He gives us what we NEED. This refocusing of priorities and thankfulness has made it so we don’t really notice the change in income.
9. Utilize our area’s free events. The usual sources offer a lot of free programming (Libraries, Museums, the Y) but with just a little digging, and asking around, a lot more can opportunities are found. And we’re discovering a lot of great hidden treasures in our backyard.
10. eBay. We have a long-planned vacation coming up. The money for this vacation was saved up over the course of 5 years, and as a reward for that diligence, and ability to remain on our current budget, we are still moving forward with that vacation. But we know in preparation for that vacation, we’ll need some car maintenance. We are selling quite a few items on eBay that is bringing in more income that I thought. All of that money is going into its own account for the specific use of Car Maintenance. It will be used before we leave for the vacation, and anything leftover (and from ongoing auctions) will be earmarked for that same purpose going forward.
These are all great! I’ve never turned in cans for money, but that’s a great idea and I’m sure it keeps your area cleaner too! Having the money go to your Fun Fund is a perfect way to get the kids involved and motivated! I love your plan for Christmas. That’s great to use all the rewards programs for a goal like that.
I love what you said about contentment and gratitude. It’s so true that when we focus on being grateful for what we do have we don’t notice the hard part of the sacrifices so much. Thanks for sharing!
Wow! What we gave up!
Eating out & Cable were the first things to go . We still do carry out from the grocery store. Whole Foods has a wonderful hot bar and eatery in their store near us. it has become a treat!
Cell phones – We ditched our contract phones for prepaid. Purchased used phones on ebay. I often have to charge my phone a couple times a day. But it’s getting me by. My husband is on his second used phone in the last year that we’ve done this but we took his old phone to Best Buy and got some money for it (no, we didn’t buy it from Best Buy…but they were kind enough to buy it from us).
I haven’t bought any new workout DVD’s (trust me, there’s no shortage in my house) since May and have been utilizing Jessica Smith TV on Youtube and the park where the horses board to get out of the, OMG I need a new video.
I no longer buy cleaning products but make them from scratch. I do have to buy homemade Shampoo & conditioner online at Etsy. Haven’t perfected hair products yet….but my husband absolutely loves my laundry soap and that’s important because he is the one that does the laundry for the most part.
We hand our laundry to dry. It saves us about $40 a month.
I use reusable famine products and no longer buy paper towels.
Clothes shopping has been done at consignment stores or goodwill type places. But for the most part, I haven’t bought much new. A couple shirts, Capri’s this summer…but that’s it.
When my laptop and desktop died, I purchased a refurbished desktop and we share. Since it’s how we watch TV…we use our phones and i have a kindle fire that I bought used.
What I won’t give up
My horses, my dogs, organic/grass fed foods. my smart phone, my truck and Coffee (I do make it at home!)
Thanks for sharing Celeste! You are doing a lot- that’s great! It’s really motivating to see what others are giving up and it helps others get ideas.
We hang our laundry to dry too (except in the winter when it’s too cold), but I had no idea how much money it saved since we live in my in-laws basement and they pay the utilities. It’s just the way of life around here, so I follow suit.
I have been making my own laundry soap for a while, but I would be open to a new recipe. It sounds like yours is great!
I live in a one bedroom 740 sq foot condo. I have a rack that I bought at the Amish market that we hang stuff that can’t go on a hanger. Hanger items go on the shower rod in the bathroom.
This system works all year because it’s against condo regulations to hang clothes outside.
Powdered Laundry soap (I prefer it because it’s easier to store in a small space)
1 Bar Soap(2 Cups) Any bar soap as long as it’s not moisturizing. I prefer Dr. Bonners and Tim loves the Lavender smell.
1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Washing Soda (Not Baking Soda)
Grate the soap, then place in food processor to make sugar like granules. Add Borax and Washing Soda in with the soap mixture. Process until evenly mixed, and soap bits are very small (like coarse sugar).
1 Tablespoon per (regular size) load. 2 tablespoons if it’s really dirty. Most of my barn clothes wash well with one tablespoon.
I have always made liquid laundry detergent with those same ingredients because it seemed to make more. I stored part of it in an old laundry detergent bottle and the rest in a 5-gallon bucket. It made a weird gel-type consistency, but worked well. Maybe I will try powder this time! Thanks!
That’s great that you dry your clothes indoors year-round. I did dry cloth diapers on a wooden rack inside all year, but we’re done with diapers for now. With three kiddos (one recently potty trained, so we still deal with some accidents), I do quite a bit of laundry, so I don’t think indoor drying would work for us now, but that is awesome that you can save so much by doing it!!