Reducing Your Debt By Simplifying Your Life

For centuries, people have bought into the popular (and false) belief that possession—material wealth and stature—was synonymous with happiness. But now minimalism is on the rise, and for good reason: it works.

If you’ve gotten to the point that you’re constantly stressed due to overwhelming debt then one of the first things you  then you might want to take the time to step back and reevaluate how you are living your life.

I must review about 20 budgets a week when preparing bankruptcy petitions and it still stuns me how much clients spend on things like cell phones, cable, and eating out.  Below are ways that you can not only simply your life but save yourself some money as well:

Coffee

I know, I know, I know. We all need out coffee and the hip cool experience that hanging out at our favorite coffee shop delivers.  However spending $5-$8 a day for coffee is silly.  Invest in a decent coffee machine and make your coffee at home.

Credit card interest

If you are paying the minimum balance each and every month then you need to break the cycle and pay off your credit card debt so now.  Thing of what you could do with all that interest! Pay the balance in full each month and never pay interest.

Cable

Cable is one of those things we tend to feel an attachment towards. We look forward to our favorite shows. The reality, however, is that cable is probably one of your largest utility bills and most likely, the least necessary one. Cutting cable could end up saving you thousands of dollars a year – money that could be better spent elsewhere. It may be a difficult decision to make, but once you get through it and discover other options, you’ll be glad you did.

Cell Phones

The cost of a cell phone plan is dropping, but you may still be paying more than you need to, especially if you’re with the big four: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

Smaller and prepaid carriers such as Cricket, Boost and Metro PCS have upped their game in recent years and several of them have become good options. Especially for the price.  Switching to a prepaid carrier can cut your monthly phone bill in half without sacrificing coverage.

Gym memberships

At an average cost of $42.55 per month gym memberships don’t come cheap. If you belong to a gym but are considering quitting and opting for jogging, cycling or other free fitness activities instead, experts say it can be done. There is a growing movement in fitness and training to ditch the gym and work out at home. With so many free fitness channels on YouTube and other online sites you can easily work out at home and save money and time.

DIY your manicure

A manicure can cost anywhere from $10 at a budget nail salon to $45 at a fancy spa while pedicures run between $15 and $45. You could easily spend several hundred dollars a year if you’re getting your nails done once or twice a month.

To save money, consider scaling back your visits or only getting pedicures in the summer months, when people actually see your feet.

Stop Eating Out

Eating out everyday for lunch at work can kill your budget.  Prepare your meals at home and brown bag it.  Not only will you probably make healthier choices but your wallet will thank you as well.

Haircuts and coloring at the salon

Salon visits can run at least $150 a pop. To save money you can space our visits or switch to a a cheaper stylist (many fancy salons have a training salon).

You can still enjoy those things that truly make you happy. But you need to thoughtfully decide if the time it took you to earn the money you’re spending is worth the joy you get out of that experience or product. Simplifying your life won’t happen overnight but just starting down the pathway can lead to less stress and more money in your pocket.

 

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