Getting Out of Debt/Finding Ways to Save

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My husband and I have been thinking a lot about debt lately. Specifically, we’ve been thinking about ways we can speed up the process of getting out of debt. We’ve heard it said that if a person makes one extra house payment a year, they can pay off a thirty year loan in fifteen years. Our goal, therefore, is to make at least one extra house payment a year, if not more.

In light of this, my husband and I have committed to tracking our money for the next few months. We’re documenting everything we purchase, and how much we’re spending. We don’t want to embrace a poverty mentality, but we do want to make wise financial decisions and part of that is deciding whether what we’re spending our money on is really worth it. In the words of Oral Roberts, we’re asking ourselves: “would I rather have this, or would I rather have the money I’d be spending on this?” Sometimes we’d rather make the purchase. We needed a computer, and wanted a laptop. My camera is broken, and I have my heart set on a high-end SLR camera. These are choices that we’re making. They’re personal decisions and there is nothing right or wrong about them, so long as they’re prayerfully considered. In other areas, however, we would rather have the money to put toward our debt.

As we have been tracking our money, we have discovered several places in our budget where money is flexible. Do we need full coverage on our van? Do we need two cell phones? Can we cut back on the amount of electricity we use? One of the first places we have found that we can make cuts and save money is on our grocery budget. I’m embarrassed to say how much we spend on groceries each month. Suffice it to say that my cooking skills leave much to be desired, and I often opt out for what is easiest. We also spend quite a bit of money on impulse, buying things that aren’t on our list, and aren’t needed for our meal plans. So this year, I plan to make a concentrated effort to learn more ways to cook healthier, more inexpensive meals. I plan to start making my own bread. I plan to purchase cloth diapers. I plan to make things from scratch and buy in bulk. I’m seriously considering using washcloths instead of toilet paper (don’t worry, we’ll put out a role of “guest” toilet paper!), reusing my ziplock bags, and making my own soap. And I plan to think before I spend. As I discover new money-saving ways to do things, I’ll be posting them here on a special Frugal Friday’s thread.

If you’re also looking for ways to save money or get out of debt, you might want to consider keeping your own money journal to find out exactly where your money is going, and what kinds of changes you can make. And be sure to check out other frugal tips each week by joining me here each Friday, and checking out what others have to say here.

Related Posts:

Paying Off Our Mortgage in Half the Time




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6 Responses to Getting Out of Debt/Finding Ways to Save

  1. Brooke says:

    i am a lazy cook and probably only spend $80 a month on groceries!! (that’s an average of May – December spending).

    you don’t have to make everything from scratch to do it, but youdo have to look for meat on sale, and learn to like hamburger helper!

    • Rina says:

      Thanks for your comment, Brooke. Do you have any resources for ways that we could lower our grocery budget? We do try to stay away from processed foods and pre-packaged meals, but I know there are lots of ways we could save money and still eat fresh fruits/veggies and whole grains, etc. and I’d love to learn more about that.

  2. Mrs. Parunak says:

    These are some great ideas you’ve shared here. I need to be more creative, especially about thinking ahead so we don’t eat out. For me that means, if I’ll be out all afternoon, I should pack snacks to eat in the car instead of heading for a drive through and have dinner in the crock pot waiting when we get home.

    Another option for weeks don’t have time to make your own bread (or if you’re like me and can’t cook much when you’re pregnant) is bakery outlets. The bread isn’t quite as fresh, usually you’re buying it the day before it expires, but if you eat it or freeze it right away, it’s fine, and you can get a loaf for 30 to 60 cents. Homemade bread is much yummier, though, and can easily take the place of more expensive snack food because it feels so special to slather butter on a slice still warm from the oven. We splurged a few years back and bought a grain mill, and I LOVE it, LOVE it, LOVE it. The wheat gets ground so fine that I can make things that are 100% whole wheat and they don’t taste nearly as heavy as things made from store bought w.w. flour (even cakes and cookies). Our basement is full of forty pound buckets of organic red winter wheat, and it’s been a great delight for me to cook with.

    • Rina says:

      Mrs. P, I’ve never even considered a bakery outlet. We usually freeze our store bought bread, anyway, so that wouldn’t be a problem. What kind of grain mill do you have? I’d really like to have one, but haven’t yet convinced my husband that it would be worth the investment. I’ll have to show him your comment! 🙂

  3. Sildah says:

    As you consider making your own bread, a good investment up front is a breadmaker. I haven’t bought anything but the occasional specialty loaf for years and it is so nice to just dump all of the ingredients in and walk away. Most of them can do all sorts of types of bread–not just your average sandwich loaf. A third cup of wheat germ in every batch is a tasty way to add nutrients and fiber as well.
    I hear you on the impulse grocery shopping. My solution is to send my husband with the list. I may get three phone calls with questions but we don’t spend the extra money on things that catch my eye.

    • Rina says:

      Sildah, Thank you for your suggestion, we’ve been considering getting a bread machine… do you have any suggestions on a good one? My husband is acually worse about impulse buying than I am, and because he’s in town more often, he does most of the grocery shopping. But we’re both hopeful that by keeping track of everything we spend and by seeing how one or two dollars here and there really DOES add up, it will motivate both of us to change some of our spending habits!

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