Top Ten Ways to Cut Credit Card Spending and Still Have a Life
Does this scenario sound familiar? You went a little crazy with your credit cards. You charged up a few thousand, or maybe even a few tens of thousands, and now youíre sitting atop one impressive mountain of credit card debt. Those credit card payments are getting bigger by the month. Then there are those annoying and even downright nasty letters and calls from collections departments and agencies. So does any of this ring a bell?
If so, this Top Ten list is for you. You have to stop living beyond your means (thatís so last year anyway) and start paying down those credit card bills. It's time to bite the bullet. This is going to hurt. Or is it?
Who says you canít be hip, have a life, and dig yourself out of debt at the same time? If youíre trying pay off that mountain of credit card debt, then youíre going to have to find ways to cut back on your spending. But you still want to be able to go out, have fun, and have a life while youíre paying for your past over-spending, donít you?
You need to get creative. You have to examine your spending patterns (those credit card bills make this so easy to do), and you have to look for places you can make cuts without reducing your social life to rubble. Thatís where this Top Ten list might come in handy. Consider it a starting point to help you brainstorm on ways you can make cutbacks without making painful sacrifices.
So with that preamble, letís get on to the list.
10. Get Out Your Walking Shoes and Get Of Debt
Gas prices are sky high and forecast to go even higher for the foreseeable future. You could buy a hybrid and go even deeper in debt, but that seems a bit illogical. You know there are many times you could walk and you donít, even if itís just down the block. Or maybe you could hop on public transportation now and then. Leave your car at home and watch for the savings at the end of the month.
9. Turn Up (Or Down) the Thermostat and Pay Down Your Credit Card Debt
Turn up that thermostat a few degrees in the summer or down a few degrees in the winter and youíll save more off your utility bills than you imagine. In the winter, slip on a sweater and turn down the heat even more. Energy costs are at a premium and theyíre not going down, so make these adjustments and start reducing credit card debt.
8. Install Ceiling Fans for Debt Reduction Help!
Notice an energy savings theme with this list? Well, energy costs are eating up more and more of our personal budgets. This suggestion works in conjunction with number 8. Ceiling fans can really cool down a room and allow you to either turn the a/c way down or shut it off altogether.
7. Fill Your Tires and Save Money on Gas
Okay, maybe you canít get yourself to actually walk places. If youíre a fellow North American, youíre probably too attached to your car. So if you canít kick the car habit, at least make sure your tires are full. I filled my tires and my MPG literally increased from 19 to 23. Project that over course of a month, and youíd be surprised what youíll save, given current gas prices.
6. Skip Starbucks and Get Out Your Mr. Coffee.
Pull that old coffee maker out of storage and start brewing your own java once again. After all, do you really enjoy waiting in that line each day to shell out .95 for a double latte? Go retro and get a travel mug. If youíve been going to the fancy coffee shop even 4 days a week, youíll net a cool a month in savings buy making it yourself, even after you pay for that can of coffee.
5. Wash Your Car Yourself and Watch Your Debt Disappear
This one is especially relevant for my fellow Californians, but everyone else feel free to try it too. You know you shell out bucks a week to wait 40 minutes while other people make your car all clean and shiny. Hereís a radical thought: pick up your hose and do it yourself. Then spend the time you just saved surfing the internet for more money saving tips.
4. Brown Bag It to Work and Send Debt Packing
Brown bag it just like mom used to prepare lunch for you, only substitute a Caesar salad for that peanut butter sandwich she would always give you. Seriously, you can probably pocket five bucks a day if you bring your own lunch. Thatís like 0 bucks a month, even if you cheat one day a week.
3. Rent a DVD and Reduce Your Debt Even More
Instead of going out to the movies, watch one at home. Youíll save on the tickets, the popcorn, and you wonít have to get up to let the guy with the small bladder run to the bathroom six times. Rent some great old classics, and enjoy. Maybe by the time you get out of debt, the new movies wonít be as crappy as the ones in theaters lately.
2. Switch to Basic Cable and Avoid ďCredit Card BankruptcyĒ
Do you really need 289 channels? Do you ever watch anything above channel 99 anyway? You can save bucks a month easily here. Cable prices are up there. Get a cheaper package and save!
1. Pay Less for Insurance and Pay Off Debt Once and For All
Odds are, you are paying too much for any or all of your insurance policies, be it car insurance, home owners, or health. I switched my car insurance recently and saved 0 a year. Use a comparison site. Do a little research and find the lowest price for a well rated company. Then when you send in the check, figure the savings and send a check for that amount to your credit card company.
About the Author: Scott Miller is editor of Get Me Out of Debt!, a free guide to credit card bankruptcy alternatives , which offers information on debt management programs and counseling.