There are several things that became clear after taking a close look at my personal finances. The two main ones were that I needed to cut my expenses and the other was that I need to generate more income. I did six simple things to help me reduce my monthly expenses to get out of debt faster and eventually be able to use those dollars exactly how I’d want to.
I did some research on my current provider and the prices they’ve been offering new customers, which was drastically cheaper than mine, and I called them ready to cancel my services – if needed (I was very riled up after looking at my debt, lol). The customer service representative transferred me directly to the retention center – this is the department that has the power to lower your bill, offer credits, and/or give you other “freebies” to convince you to stay with the provider. After going over how long I was a customer for and my billing concern, they gave me a $20 monthly credit, 1 year of free HBO, a $150 visa gift card, and I returned a 4th cable box saving me another $10 a month. My original bill for internet and cable (4 TVs) was $166.86 and my new bill is now $129.36 a $37.50 savings!
In my younger years, I was the one that had the latest gadgets and preordered my cell phone every time Apple made their announcement. 20 months ago I purchase an iPhone 7 and have been paying it off with the AT&T Next plan. While I was digging through the debt and digesting my numbers I realized I only owed $145.00 left on the device, I paid it this week. My AT&T bill will be going from $220.57 to apx $184 – a savings of $36.25 on my bill and another $145 closer towards being debt free.
This was harder to reduce because I absolutely LOVE coffee (I might be addicted) and I’ve formed a habit of stopping by Dunkin or Starbucks every morning before work. My weakness is lattes and I was spending apx $4 every morning. I tried to motivate myself by buying a super cute travel mug ($14) and have been brewing coffee everyday in November (10 days so far), Mon-Fri. This will save me apx $64 ($88 total savings -$14 for my mug – $10 for sbux ground coffee) this month. Another motivating factor was the start of my new Keto Diet, so I also been drinking my coffee black with some MCT oil and a dash of sugar free sweetener. I’ve lost 7lbs since 11/1/18, read more about it here.
This is a no brainer but requires some time to plan in advance and some discipline. Its soo much easier simply going out for lunch and buying something yummy. I prepped food on Sunday for Mon-Wed, preparing for the whole week made me a little disinterested in my food and less likely to stay disciplined. I love having meals I can look forward to so I prep food again midweek to ensure I know what I want to eat Thurs and Fri. Again, this one was also motivated by my new Keto Diet so it helped stay on track because I’m doing it to be debt free AND be healthier. On average I was going out to eat 3 times during the work week and my average meal was $9.74. This helped me save apx $116 and was a HUGE factor in me losing 7lbs, the Keto diet REALLY works.
I have very high auto insurance due to my vehicle being financed and a car accident I had a few years back. My previous annual premium was $3,294 – EXTREMELY high. I shopped insurance because my previous policy expired 10/31/18. I was able to received additional savings because my University offers 20% discount with liberty mutual for all alumni. In additional to the University alumni discount, I also qualified for 5% savings for paying it in “full” (broken down in two payments within the year) and another 5% for having a defensive driving certificate . My new annual premium is $2,448 – still high but way better than before. An annual savings of $846 or a $70.50 monthly savings!
I love going to the movies and treating myself to something small every now and then helps me stay motivated with the debt payoff. My AT&T plan offers a Free Ticket Twosday, which means you get two tickets for the price of one! I took it a step further and purchased a movetickets.com discounted gift card. I found one at 17% discount, I paid $6.49 for a card value of $7.42.
So, I went to the movies with my husband and paid a final price of $4.76 for the both of us. We are also able to register the sale on movietickets.com on our AMC stubs card which gives you $10 for every $100 spent for concessions or movie tickets. If we would have paid a full retail price for the movies it would have been $24.36. This took a bit of effort to figure out but I had fun. We saved $19.60 by doing this.
In the journey towards financial freedom, two critical goals often take center stage: paying off debt and building savings. Whether you’re dealing with student loans, credit
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