Photo courtesy of Free Digital Photos
Exactly a month ago I lost my job. Yes….”canned”….”nixed”….”given the boot.” Call it what you will (you can read the announcement in a previous post). But something strange happened in these past weeks:
I had a financial awakening.
There’s nothing like the loss of your steady “I-know-it’s-getting-deposited-every-two-weeks” paycheck to put you in check real quick. What losing my job did was expose all the ugly truths about how non-thrifty I really was, and that something more could have been done to pay off my credit card debt. just because you’re frugal in one area of your life (e.g. decorating) doesn’t mean you’re a Frugal Franny in other parts of your life!
At the beginning of the year, I had drafted a bunch of goals, one of which was to pay off my credit card by at least half by the end of December 2015. Now that I’m not pulling a full-time income, it’s going to be more challenging to meet this goal, but I’ve got some things I can do. Now that I am fully awake and financially alert, here are 5 things I can do today to help me stick with my financial goal of paying off my credit card debt.
5 Lifestyle Changes That Can Save Money
Change #1 – Shopping Your House!
I’m tempted pretty often to shop at the thrift store, discount retail stores, or at my local hardware store. I love me some deals and DIY supplies! But what I realize as I was putting together a basement home office for my 30-Day Junk-Free January Room Challenge is that I CAN SHOP MY HOUSE! I’ve got more crafting supplies, paint, and home decor stuff already here! Why spend the money? Save what I can and apply it to my credit cards!
Change #2 – Rounding Up to the Nearest 5
This tip is actually pretty cool. The idea is to use a check register to record your transactions (remember registers??). And for every transaction, found up to the nearest $5. So if you buy groceries for $92.38, enter $95 into your check register. You then stop for gas and spend $38.00, enter $45 into your register. You get the point.
Be the end of the month, you suddenly have an extra $2o0 of hidden money that you’ve fooled yourself into saving.
What better way for me to save some of it, and to send some of it to those pesky credit card companies!
Change #3 – Saving My $5 Bills
I don’t always use cash, but when I do, I have this compulsion to save my $5 bills. It’s something I started doing last year for a tip I learned on a popular financial blog. It resonated with me. I would quickly amass $60 or $70 in a short period of time just by saving the $5’s. I’ve started to do this again, dumping them into a shoebox and will count and deposit them later into checking to pay off my credit card (or, in a pinch, use for petty cash).
Change #4 – Open Up a Digit Account
Digit Account is a site that you link to your regular checking account and skims a little money every few days off of that checking account and puts it into a it into a separate account for you.
They withdraws are so small, you don’t even realize it. But they add up quickly!
I started using Digit early in 2015 and I’ve saved hundreds. Here’s a screenshot of my savings when I started. You’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up!
Change #5 – Simply Saying NO!
I’ve rarely told myself no. I always had a reason I needed something. My biggest expense categories were food and DIY supplies. I could always justify a new paint brush or the frozen convenience foods because I was soooooo busy, who had time to cook?
Now, however, I tell myself NO pretty frequently now. The money I save will be used for bills and getting the credit card balance down to at least half by the end of the year. I love feeling in control of my money even though I have much less coming in!
I can’t tally up for sure how much these little financial tweaks and credit card debt services like PayOff.com will save for me and allow me to pay down my credit card debt, but I feel pretty confident that our financial future is going to be okay!
So what small things have you given up in order to plan for a better financial future and pay off credit card debt? Add your comment below!