Before my husband and I could begin to reform our financial situation we first had to give up. That sounds kind of contradictory, but we had to give up in order to get ahead. It’s actually how a lot of things work in life. To lose weight you have to give up eating foods that aren’t good for you. To become better at something you have to give up your time to practice. In order for us to get out of debt we had to give up the I earned it complex. As a result, of the “I earned” it complex that so many of us have we found ourselves spending money on things that we didn’t need so that we could feel accomplished or look the part. Now you may say I’m not flashy, I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes, but if you take a look at your finances you may find that while your not spending on clothes your actually spending on other things that you could very well do without. So, after making our budget, we decided that we needed to give up and let go of the unnecessary categories that we had our money going to so that we can focus on paying off as much debt as possible.
To start, we gave up on the big cable packages. We were paying over $160 for cable and internet access each month while half of the time the TV was never even on. Honestly, we only have one TV in our home. Call us weird, but we honestly see no reason to have TV’s in our other rooms and I am a huge proponent against TV’s in the bedroom so yea. We’re a one TV family. I mean we’d tune in to catch our most watched shows, but with Marcus traveling so much and my focus being on working to establish a solid rebranding my other site (BeingMelody.com) we just never watched TV. So I called up the cable company, put on my best southern accent, and negotiated a deal that gave us cable and internet access for 50% less than what we were paying saving us $960 a year. Sure we lost some sports channels and Bravo, but I felt like I could handle not watching the housewives if it meant more money to throw at our debt.
The next thing we gave up was our penchant for dining out. We loved to eat out on the weekends. It just made things “easier”. It was like it was against all things holy for us to cook on the weekends, but once we sat down and created a strict budget we realized that spending over $400+ a month on having the convenience of someone else cooking for you wasn’t going to cut it. So we gave up our extravagant dining out and chopped the amount in half allocating $100 for miscellaneous eating like fast food and $100 for date night. Yes, you can do a really good date night on a budget and I’m not talking dinner and a movie. I talk all about it in this Date Night on a Budget post.
We also gave up travel. This was probably one of the hardest things we had to do as the hubs and I have not had a proper vacation since we got married almost five years ago. While everyone around us was taking trips all around the world we were dealing with life you know, buying a new car, dealing with a layoff, and then buying a house. We just never had it in our budget to go on a trip, but oh this year we had it planned out. We were headed to Aruba! That is until I realized that the money we’d were saved to go on this trip to Aruba was the same amount we needed to pay off my car. So we gave up our trip to Aruba for to become full fledge owners of my car paying it off 5 years earlier than it was due to be paid off!
We’ve I mean I’ve also given up shopping. Like any woman, I like nice things. I like to wear nice things and I like my home to have nice things, but those nice things were part of the reason why we were in debt. So I gave up shopping. While I didn’t completely go the frugal lifestyle I had to ask myself If we had everything we needed why continue to spend on more? Let me tell you it’s been over a year since I stepped into a Homegoods #progress. At the end of every month I ask my husband if there is something we need for the house, usually the answer is no, but if there is something and we have money left over in the budget we get it.
So by giving up and making changes in our lives Marcus and I were able to get ahead. Even though we have a long ways to go to before we’re debt free we’ve learned that the small changes we make now we turn into big results later. So what are you willing to give up to get out of debt? Share with me in the comments.