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In our marriage, Robert and I have learned a few things about how to communicate about money. In that we’ve learned about what are our priorities in life, and what we can live without. We have also learned that living on your own (vs. living with your parents) sucks the living daylights out of you.
Ok, that may have been a bit dramatic but really, I’m not kidding. I mean think about it, if you buy your first house at 23 and 27 like we did (more on how I was able to buy a house at 23 later) it’s not until then that you realize that all the little things add up quickly.
It’s the $650 mortgage, the $200 utilities that hurts, and not to mention if you need to fix up your house or add furniture, or shoot even eat on a regular basis.
But who needs to eat anyway when you have 200 or more channels on cable tv right?
Obviously, I’m joking. But what I’m not joking about is things that we’ve learned over time that we can live without. If you can’t live without them, I’ve at least found a cheaper option.
If you’re working on paying off your debt like we are, these should be the first things to go. Because like I said, the little things add up fast. Just like attacking your debt with the little extra money you have, you’ve got to figure out where that extra money can come from.
Things you can live without while paying off debt:
Every single thing on this list is stuff that you can either cut out completely, or at the very least save money on. I’ll break it down for you and then offer some alternatives.
live without cable
When we first got our house, we decided that cable was not worth the at least $60 a month (with internet too it would be closer to $110/month) because we had better options. With so many streaming services that are out there is no need to pay anywhere close to that.
We personally have Netflix and Hulu that we stream on our Amazon Fire TV. The Amazon Fire TV was a one time payment of $99…that we purchased 3 years ago. It’s still wonderful and worth every single penny. I can’t stop speaking praises about it.
Netflix and Hulu together are less than $20 a month. Click here to start a free trial with Hulu! With that we get great movies and tv shows to stream whenever we want as well as a lot of great recent shows that we can keep up with on Hulu. Ps. Hulu just put some of my favorite 80s/90s tv shows like Full House and Home Improvement on for a bingeworthy weekend!! My house has been grunting for the past three days.
The only thing that we don’t get with our setup is sports, but we’ve figured a way around that. It might look a little ghetto but when there is a game on, we put it on a computer, hook the computer up to the tv with an HDMI cable and voila! We have the big Tennessee game on our tv at home.
live without a landline phone
I’m not sure I have to say this because the only people I know that have landlines anymore are businesses and my parents. With all the advancements in cell phones now, why do landlines even exist anymore?
I mean let’s think about it. You’re paying about $160 a month for your cell phone plan (2 cell phones, not unlimited data) and then you want to shovel out more ($10 by itself, $80 in an internet/tv bundle) for a phone that is basically just telemarketer bait. It doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. We’ve just decided to stick with only our cell phones…and I know what we pay is still a bit pricey but I’m not willing to try out different carriers and lose my service just yet. To be continued!
live without drive thrus
they are super unhealthy for you and your family, but they also add up over time. That meal (burger, fries, and a drink; $1 each) you got from the dollar menu? It may seem cheap now, but if you get it once a day every week that’s $60 a month you’re spending in that drive thru.
For a better alternative, we carefully plan out our weekly menu, get our groceries, and actually allow ourselves one night out a week to enjoy as a family. And we go to a legit restaurant that has healthier options most often. We steer clear of the fast food as much as possible…except when I’m craving a half price strawberry limeade from Sonic.
Planning out our food and then buying our groceries has been a huge money saver for us. That way, there is no “honey, what do you want to do for dinner tonight?” because it’s already set and the food is in the house ready to be cooked.
cut back on new clothes and toys
We’ve been blessed enough to have family and friends that will give us their hand-me-downs for little man. Free is definitely my favorite number and as fast as kids grow, there is no point in breaking the bank just to keep him clothed. Thankfully, I have a wonderful sister with two boys that kept everything. We haven’t had to buy any clothing or toys ourselves because of hand-me-downs. We’ve even been able to save big hand-me-downs (a play kitchen, play car, etc.) for Christmas presents and birthday presents. I mean at one or two, what kid is gonna know that their play kitchen isn’t brand new?
To anyone that turns their noses at hand-me-downs thinking that they are dirty and gross, I have one thing to say, “HOGWASH!!!” Have you never heard of a washing machine? And really, kids get dirty, it doesn’t matter how nice the clothes are, they aren’t going to be in them forever. If you can’t get your hands on some free hand-me-downs, don’t be afraid to check out yard sales, consignment shops, or discount stores. At the very least, wait for sales and buy for the next year.
As far as clothes for Robert and I go, it’s been years since I’ve bought a brand new piece of clothing. I’m a huge fan of shopping at goodwill and consignment shops. Even when I was pregnant, I found great maternity pants and shirts at goodwill for a fraction of what they would be brand new!
I even went online to this great consignment website called ThredUp. Basically, you can send in your name brand clothes, and they will buy them and sell them on consignment for fairly cheap. It’s all the glory of consignment without leaving your house!
live without new cars
So if you’re reading this, I kind of hope that this tip doesn’t need to be explained too much. But if I must, I must. If you’re not buying new clothes, why would it be ok to buy brand new cars when you’re trying to pay off debt? It wouldn’t, so let me explain how you do it.
So first off, I honestly don’t know what a new car feels like. I have always owned a used car since I bought my very first car at 16. Yeah, from the very beginning my parents taught me how to be a cheapskate because they made me purchase my first car without any of their help financially. It was tough, but it was a very valuable lesson as it helped me understand the importance of saving and working hard to reach a goal.
Well anyway, the best way to buy a car is to save up the money to pay in full in cash for the car. If that is not possible, at least have enough saved up for a decent sized down payment. Never buy a car that is beyond your financial means. There is no point in buying something that you can’t afford, otherwise you’re just digging yourself deeper into the debt hole.
live without the latest technology
One of our biggest things that we save money on is getting old phones, keeping laptops for a while, and waiting until any tech that needs to be replaced to go on sale. Whenever we’re up for an upgrade on our phones, I’m not even kidding we only look at the phones that are basically free. If it does all of the things that we need it to do, why do we need anything else? We are perfectly content with old stuff as long as it’s functioning.
I know, it may be hard for some of you tech-savvy nerds to not have the coolest gadgets but think of it this way, in a year your latest stuff will be old news so what’s the point? Even then, there are sales all the time for the latest brands. Never ever pay full price.
What’s more important than stuff
So as I close my list of what can be given up while you’re paying off debt I want you to think about what is more important. To us, it’s having financial freedom. It’s being together as a family. It’s one day being able to give to others like we’ve never been able to give before.
In the grand scheme of things, everything that you give up to pay off debt is just STUFF. It’s not going to make you happier if you have it, and it’s not going to make you sad if you don’t have it.
What other kind of things have you given up to pay off debt? Leave me a comment and let me know!