If you’re looking to get out of an extreme amount of debt, you’re likely going to have to take some extreme cost-cutting measures to save money and reach your debt free goal. We haven’t yet stooped to dumpster diving for dinners or making our friends’ kids gifts out of what should be in the recycle bin, but we’ve done our fair share of cutting costs. Here are something of the more intense things we’ve done to cut costs and save money in our home.
1. Make our own laundry detergent. We’ve cut detergent costs by 90% doing this and this adds up to a lot of money for a family of six. We also line-dry the majority of our clothes now.
2. Stopped paying the kids’ allowance, or, work for pay, program. This was REALLY difficult. Luckily, the kids were awesome about it and we saved $70 a month.
3. Cut charitable giving dramatically. This was another tough one. We’ve always worked to be generous with charitable giving, but we knew that we needed to be working on this debt stuff first.
4. Cut down on entertainment dramatically. Down to a goal of $60 a month. We’re thinking of reducing it even further, but we want to make sure to give ourselves some leeway in this area, in order to avoid debt fatigue.
5. Cancelled cable. It was only $45 a month or so, but again, priorities. We did recently add back in Netflix for $8 a month, for sanity’s sake, in order to survive the long winters here.
6. Cut our grocery bill in half. From $900 a month down to $450 or so a month. This wasn’t as hard as we thought it might be, but there are some days when we get terribly tired of beans and rice. 🙂
7. Cut kids’ activities. We’ve traded in most organized sports for group freebies such as bike rides, walks, hikes, etc. Maddie is now taking Krav Maga, as we see this as more of a necessity now that she’s getting close to driving age. We feel self-defense classes are very important in today’s world.
8. Cut homeschooling expenses. Dramatically, by probably about 90-95%.
9. Cut out all salon expenses. Yep, all of ’em. I now cut my own hair, and I cut Rick and the kids’ hair too.
10. Learned to grow, can and freeze our own food. This is no easy chore, but it’s been a huge money saver for us, in fact, we’ve double the size of this year’s garden from what we planted last year, and plan to can and freeze 10 times the amount of food we canned/froze last year.
It can be difficult to make such extreme cuts when you’re working to get out of a large amount of debt, but it’s important to remember what your goals are for your money. This one step will help you to decide which of your current expenses really matter to you, and will help you to reach your goals faster.
What extreme things have you done, or are you doing, to save money while paying off debt?