25 Easy Ways to Save Money

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We all want to make more money, but it seems like it can be such hard work sometimes. You either have to take a whole new job or spend $0 on fun things until you’ve reached the amount of money you want. However, you don’t need to make such sacrifices anymore! Here are 25 easy ways that anyone can start saving money.

25 Easy Ways to Save Money

Budget

I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it because it’s so important: Budget, budget, budget. If you haven’t, then start; if you have one, then sit down and re-evaluate. It can never hurt to go over your budget again and work out any kinks. This will help you be more accountable with where and how you spend your money.

Snowball Method

If you have debts that are gathering interest, here’s the best way to pay them off and keep that money for yourself. Instead of spreading your extra money across multiple different payments, only pay the minimum on all but one—the smallest one. From there, work you’re way up through the next biggest debt until they’re all gone.

Overpay

Like the snowball method, overpay a bit on your debts or credit cards as much as you can. This will keep the interest levels down while also helping you whittle away at the debt as a whole.

Water Meter

Invest in a water meter for your house. This will help you measure and keep track of how much water you’re using and when so that you can figure out ways to make your water use more efficient.

Pack Lunches

Don’t buy lunches for you or your family. Instead, spend some time every night or morning and make packed lunches. This saves you money (since packed lunches are cheaper than ones you buy), but it’s also probably healthier since you’ll be controlling what you and your family eat.

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Keep Doors and Windows Shut

This is especially important if you have kids or animals in the house. Doors and windows often get opened and never get shut, letting the cold air out during the summer and hot air out during the winter. This, in turn, makes you pay more to keep your home at a nice temperature.

Seal Cracks or Leaks

Besides keeping doors and windows shut, you’ll also want to check for any cracks or leaks in them that are slowly letting in cold or hot air. Even if it’s a subtle crack, it can costs hundreds of dollars to be thrown away on your utilities.

Garden

Save some money by growing your own vegetables, fruit, and herbs. You’d be surprised at how much money you spend on those kinds of foods, plus it’s a great way to be self-sufficient and get out in the great weather!

Check Offers

Before you go shopping or out to buy something, check to make sure you’re getting the best deal. This might mean spending a few extra minutes scanning online for competing prices or looking over a store’s catalogue, but it’s worth it if you can save some money!

Rebate Program

There are tons of rebate programs you can get involved in or couponing sites that save you money! Ebates is one of the most popular, but you can enroll in numerous programs with all sorts of different perks and benefits.

Buy Used Books or free Kindle books

If you love to read and have your own library, then buy your books secondhand or buy electronic versions. I’m not a fan of e-books, but you can get some great deals (even free books) if you use a Kindle or other similar product. If you want a hard copy, then buy a gently used copy that you can still read but doesn’t cost nearly as much.

Use the Library

If you like to read but don’t care about owning your own books, then consider just using the library. You usually only have to pay a one time fee (or small annual fee) to get a library card and then you can read as many books as you want.

Buy in Bulk

This isn’t always the case, but buying in bulk makes the price of each individual item go down significantly. If you have a big family or go through certain items really quickly, then this is a great idea.

For small things, don’t buy in bulk

However, buying in bulk may actually be bad for you. If you live by yourself or your family doesn’t go through things like milk or ranch very fast, then buying them in bulk may be a waste of money. If you find yourself throwing out food before it gets used, then stop buying in bulk and buy the size that you’ll actually use.

Save Spare Change

It might be tempting to just leave your change in the cash register or get rid of it, but don’t! Keep your spare change and collect it. Over time, you’ll get a pretty hefty collection of change that you can use for whatever you want!

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Turn off Lights

Get you and your family in the habit of turning off lights when they’re not being used. This seems especially difficult for kids to grasp, but it’s a good habit to start. You’d be surprised at how often this happens and how much money you can save if you can start turning them off when not in use.

Coupon, Coupon, Coupon

There’s really no reason not to use coupons. They’re easy to get, free, and give you great deals on products you were probably already going to buy. Look for store and manufacturer coupons to save twice as much.

Don’t Get Sucked into Sales

Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean that you need it. Avoid the urge to say, “Oh! It’s on sale now, so I should buy it before they’re all gone” or something similar. If you tell yourself that, then you probably didn’t need the item in the first place.

Buy Based on Value, Not Price

This is hard for some people to do (I was one of them), but it really is better to buy based on value and not on price. A shirt that’s $5 but falls apart in two days isn’t nearly as smart of an investment as a $20 shirt that last you years.

Buy Used Baby Clothes

It’s silly to buy brand new baby and kid clothes. They’re going to outgrow them in a few months, and then you’ll just have to spend more money. Buy used (but still clean and good quality) baby clothes since they’re only going to be used for a little bit.

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Use Less Laundry Detergent

Companies are tricky when it comes to laundry detergent because they usually put a scoop that is way too big so you’ll use more cleaner. Clever, right? Beat them at their own game by using less detergent (usually half the scoop will do the trick), and you’ll take a lot longer to go through it all.

No Gym Membership

I’ve always found it funny that people will drive to go to the gym. I know you do more than run and walk at the gym, but you’re wasting money on gas and the gym membership when you do that. Get rid of the membership and buy a workout DVD or run outside if you want.

Join Free Customer Rewards Programs

The trick here is to make sure that the rewards program is actually free. Some stores make you pay for their program, which I don’t think is usually worth it. But if it’s free and you can get access to great deals and coupons, then why not? If you hate the emails, then just create an email specifically for rewards programs.

Make a List

When you go to the store, make a list and stick to it! Don’t get distracted by fancy deals on products you don’t need or yummy food that isn’t good for you or your wallet. When you stick to your list, you only get things you need and save money!

Drink More Water

This may sound like a health tip, but it’s also a financial one! By drinking water more, you’ll cut things out like pop that can get pretty expensive (especially name brand). You’ll also be more full at dinner, which means you’ll eat less, which means you’ll spend less money on groceries! It’s a win-win!

Here are a Few Other Great Ways to Save Money or Supplement Your Income:

7 Serious Ways to Add $500 to Your Income

5 Ways to Save $500

22 Online Stores That Offer Free Shipping

50 Ways to Earn Extra Money on the Side

Top 54 Side Hustles to Make Extra Money on the Side

12 Surprising Ways to Save Money

8 Legit Ways to Make Money From Home

15 Legit Ways to Make an Extra $1500 a Month

 

12 Surprising Ways to Save Money

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You don’t need to cut coupons or stop going out to eat in order to save money. While those are all good ideas, there may be other ways to cut your monthly expenses while still enjoying some of the things you like.  Some of these ideas might actually surprise you!

Shop Your Insurance

You can change your insurance carrier (in most cases) any time you want.  There is no contract with insurance so shop your rate!  I didn’t realize I was paying too much, until we decided to get other quotes and we were accepted by one of the very best auto insurances out there, and our premium was half of what we were paying.  That is a big savings!  You could be leaving money on the table by not shopping your rates.  Shop your car insurance rates, homeowners insurance rates, life insurance rates and any other policies that you may have out there.

Be Savvy

Once upon a time, we purchased a pergola for our outdoor patio.  We found one we loved and we didn’t even look around.  We had found our one and only and we paid for it and anxiously awaited it’s arrival.  Fast forward a year, and we see an identical pergola at an outdoor show.  For $3,000 less.  We spent thousands that we didn’t need to, by not shopping prices and getting quotes.  We are usually more savvy than that, so it took us both by surprise.  We blew it and it cost us thousands.  Don’t get impulsive and purchase based on emotion.  You will always pay more by going with the first option you find or not shopping around.  This goes for home decor, contractors (landscaping, plumbing, electrical, drywall, etc) and even purchases that you may not expect.  I am continually surprised to find out (thank you, husband!) that you can negotiate prices on many things that you wouldn’t expect.  Also, read reviews and be sure you are comparing apples with apples.

Beauty Budget

Cut the beauty budget!  I love getting my eyebrows waxed and tinted (I am a super blondie.) It is expensive and a recurring cost.  One trip to the beauty supply store, some Youtube videos and a few experimental eyebrows later… I do it at home, on my own time and it saves me money and time.  The few times I paid for it, it was $40+ and it took time, planning, babysitter for the kids, and it was a hassle. Pedicures are an extra expense that some may spend that can easily be cut out and done at home.

Subscriptions

Sometimes those 10$ a month subscriptions sneak up on you and add up.  I am not saying to cancel everything, but look over your expenses and see if there are subscriptions you can do without.  Magazines, gun clubs, Pandora (do the free version?) car wash passes, etc.  If you are trying to save money, it may be time to reduce the extras or see if you can do without things you are used to paying for.

DIY Items

Save money by making your own homemade products! You can do DIY soap, shaving cream, lotions, etc. Not only do you get customized products to your liking, but you also save money by making them at home.  Usually, these products are made with things you have at your home already.

Cut Coffee

This may be hard for you, but just imagine how much money you’re spending on coffee everyday. Let’s say you buy a cup of coffee for $4 at your local coffee store 5 days a week. That’s over $1,000 a year just on coffee! Cut coffee out (or at least partially) and you’ll see some extra cash coming in. *Dodging virtual tomatoes that are being thrown my way by the coffee addicts of the world.*

Community calendar

If you’re trying to find fun activities to do while also saving money, then turn to your community calendar. There are so many fun things in the community that are free.  Also, take advantage of “kids eat free on Tuesday” type of events or festivals that are free and entertaining.  Saving money doesn’t have to be a drag.  In fact, if you get creative you will probably go places and do things you wouldn’t have normally known about.  It is an adventure!

Treat yourself (sparingly)

We all get that itch to spend money.  While saving money is a good thing, and we should all be doing it, be careful about still allowing yourself to splurge once in a while.  Treat yourself every now and then so you don’t explode! Give yourself a small monthly allowance or implement another system so you spend money while still saying within budget.  If you budget for extras as much as possible, it will prevent binge spending and it will keep you from really blowing the budget after working hard to save.

Keep Utility Bills Lower

I don’t know what it is about children, but they are almost incapable of shutting a door (is this just my kids?) and we finally changed the hinges to our exterior doors to self-closing hinges.  This has helped a bunch with our AC bill in the summer.  You would be surprised how much money you can actually save if you use energy efficient bulbs in your home, keep doors closed and open windows to cool things off if you can.  Also, unplug unnecessary appliances or power cords, keep lights off, etc.  If you are consious about saving energy, you are doing not only the world a favor, but your pocketbook.  Don’t run unneccsary water and keep your blinds closed on hot days.  All of these things will help you keep your utilities lower and help you save money.

Library card

Instead of buying every book that you like, (thanks a lot, Amazon Prime) get a library card so you can read the books for free! Yes, Libraries are still out there and they are great!  How often do you go back and read the same books?  Almost never.

Shop Classifieds 

You can find a lot of the things you “want” or even “need” that are slightly used or in pretty good shape on the classifieds.  This can help satisfy the needs you have, while not costing a fortune.

Make Goals, Budget and Keep Focused

Ultimately, if you don’t make goals, you won’t know where you are headed.  If I can emphasize one thing on Flipping Pennies is that the most important thing in changing your financial situation is to set goals.  Be clear, specific and outline a path to get there.  Be realistic, but give yourself a reason to push you out of your comfort zone.  There is great strength and confidence that comes from self-control, working hard and reaching your milestones.

Sometimes, the answer is to make more money.  If you get creative, and are hard-working and resourceful, there is no shortage of side gigs or things you can do from home (on your own) to make money to ease the financial burden a bit.  Check out some of our articles about making extra money or working from home:

How to Make Money Blogging

How to Budget When You Don’t Make Enough Money

50 Ways to Earn Extra Money on the Side

Top 54 Side Hustles to Make Extra Money on the Side

8 Legit Ways to Make Money From Home

10 Ways to Earn a Living on the Internet

15 Things You Should Stop Spending Money On

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It’s pretty easy to get in a pattern of what you buy because, hey, it’s easier than having to reanalyze your grocery list every time you go out. However, you’re probably spending a lot of money on items that you don’t really need or that are ridiculously expensive, especially when you don’t make enough money anyway (check out that linked article for information on budgeting with not enough money)! Here are just a few products you should stop buying to save some extra cash.

Landline

Let’s be honest: the day of the landline is over. If you have a landline, chances are, you’ve noticed that the only people who call you are people selling something. There’s really no point in having a landline if you have a cellphone; it’s just money going down the drain. So, cut off your landline, let everyone know, and save some money every month. It makes tons of sense to cut this item from your budget. Typically, cell phone plans are around the same price, and you can do so much more with a cell phone!

Name Brand Razor Blades

It may be pretty hard to believe that Gillette razor blades controls 66% of the huge shaving industry. But it’s totally true. Just because Gillette is the most popular razor blade around doesn’t mean that it is even the slightest bit cheap. Supply and demand, right? Instead of spending tons of money every month on a grooming necessity, join the Dollar Shave Club! Blades purchased through the Dollar Shave Club go for as little as $1.50 per razor blade, whereas a similar blade by Gillette would go for a whopping $5. The best part? After the Dollar Shave Club was surveyed, users found that blades purchased were of the same high quality as the ones bought from Gillette.

Dryer Sheets

Buying dryer sheets is a never ending process because you always eventually need more. Instead, buy a reusable dryer sheet substitute or make your own dryer sheets! It’s not complicated at all and it can really save you tons of money in the long run!

Mini Tablets

Remember when the iPad mini came out? It was all of the rage because it had all of the capabilities of a regular iPad, but in a much smaller size. A few years later, Apple released the iPhone 6+, which was only slightly smaller than the iPad mini. Technology is getting better and better, and with phone screens growing larger and the capabilities ever expanding, you may find that purchasing an iPad is a waste of money. Ipad minis can be purchased for $399 (16 GB memory) and an iPhone 6 can be bought for $299. Save hundreds of dollars and cut the mini’s out of your life!

Prepackaged Lunches

It might seem convenient and a good idea to buy prepackaged lunches, but it doesn’t help in the long run. One, the food is jammed full of preservatives that are not good for growing kids, plus they’re expensive! By setting aside some time to make lunches, you know exactly what you and your family are eating while saving money. On average, a Lunchable costs about $3, and a similarly made lunch from home only costs about $1.

Lotion

There’s nothing in store-bought lotion that you probably couldn’t buy and make yourself at a fraction of the price. Find a recipe online with a scent you like, and then go for it! This is also great if you have specific needs or allergies, because you can tailor the lotion to your style.

Cable Television

Cable still may seem like a necessity for families all across America. While there are still as many as 101.7 million people that subscribe to cable services, a survey predicts that the amount of subscribers will fall to 97 million over the next year. Cable television can cost between $86 and $123 a month (just for your basic packages!) whereas it only costs between $8 and $10 to subscribe to a service like Netflix and Hulu per month. Streaming services are on the rise, and it is predicted that there will be many other online streaming services over the next year. Sports fans can rejoice, as ESPN and the NFL are discussing streaming options for sporting events across the country. Say goodbye to cable!

Herbs

Whether you live in a small apartment or enormous house, everyone has room to grow a little herb garden. You can practice your gardening skills while saving money at the same time! Mason jars can be used as planters for your herbs grown indoors, and herb seeds can be bought for as little as fifty cents per package. Herbs are also notorious for regrowing from scraps, so be sure to save a few mint clippings!

Shampoo

Customize your shampoo by making it yourself. You don’t need that many ingredients and you’ll be positive that whatever you’re putting on your body is good for you! You can make multiple different shampoos or make one big batch for the whole family to use.

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Online Dating Services

The dating industry is expected to make $2.2 BILLION dollars in the upcoming year. You read that correctly, 2 BILLION dollars. Instead of spending money monthly on a dating service, download a free app such as OkCupid or Tinder. Either way, it may be a bit difficult to find love online, and users may want to remember the famous Beetles song “Money Can’t Buy Me Love.”

Coffee

I know it may be hard, but I would suggest at least cutting back on the coffee, especially if you buy it at a place like Starbucks. Starbucks sells a plain cup of coffee for as much as $3. You’d be surprised at how much extra cash you had in your account if you even cut your coffee consumption in half. If you just can’t shake the caffeine habit (let’s face it, can any of us really?) try coffee from McDonald’s instead! It’s as little as $1 per cup, and it is just as good (maybe even better!) than a similar cup from Starbucks.

Bottled Water

Pre-filled water bottles may seem like both a good deal, and convenient to use. But who would pay $2 per bottle for something that is exactly the same as the water from your tap? On average, the water bottling companies in the United States make a whopping $12.3 billion dollars. Believe it or not, 45% of the bottled water sold in the States comes from the municipal water supply. You read that correctly, you are paying $2 a bottle for tap water! Instead of paying through the nose for a refreshing beverage, try purifying your water at home. Water purifiers are as cheap as $15, and last a whole lot longer than a bottle of water ever would!

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CDs/DVDs

These are a thing of the past. Instead, buy all your music online or join a subscription based program like Spotify that gives you access to unlimited music for free or a low price. Instead of spending between $15 and $20 on a DVD, rent them for as little as $1 a night on Redbox. If renting isn’t something you are interested in, consider signing up for a subscription service like Netflix. It’s only $10 a month for unlimited streaming on your mobile devices and home computers.

Tupperware

If you buy a ton of Tupperware, it usually just ends up going to friends and family members when they take home leftovers. Get your Tupperware to the amount you want, and then don’t buy any more, no matter how great the deals are. Make it a goal to only purchase new containers when the other ones have become damaged, or you just can’t get that red stain out of it from the last time you cooked spaghetti. If you are really looking to save money, you can reuse butter containers and yogurt or sour cream tubs as Tupperware instead.

No-stick spray

No-stick spray is pretty ridiculous because it’s expensive and usually unhealthy for you. Most companies jam it full of fatty or bad chemicals that aren’t doing anything to help your health. Coconut oil, and Olive oil are wonderful alternatives to that unhealthy no-stick spray. You can purchase a tub of coconut oil for as little as $10, and a bottle of olive oil for a similar price! Coconut oil can be used to cure a variety of health and beauty difficulties, and it is an unbelievably healthy option when it comes to cooking. Hooray for healthy fats!

12 Surprising Things You Can do To Become Debt-Free

 

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I am passionate about getting out of debt because it changed my life.  It isn’t easy.  It isn’t even fun sometimes, but the freedom you feel from living within your means will completely change you and you will never go back.  When I talk to people about their financial situations, it is clear that in some cases, a change in income needs to be made.  Aside from the obvious budget re-alignments, and more self-control, sometimes, we simply need to figure out a way to make more money or we won’t get ahead.  Here are a few things that can help you get out of debt.

Cut back on groceries

Grocery budget is one of the first to modify, because it isn’t a “fixed” cost.  Find meals that can go a long way on a small amount of money.  Take advantage of deals, coupons, discounts.  Depending on the size of your family, it may even be cheaper to eat out a couple of meals a week.  I know that I can’t grocery shop and make a meal and feed my family for less than a 5$ pizza from Little Caesars.  So, once in a while, we do that.  Especially at the end of the month, or right before payday.  Be savvy and discover what works for your family.

Work from Home

There are so many side jobs or even full time jobs that are home-based.  This can give you more flexibility, and save on gas (no commuting!)

Use the Debt Snowball method

This is an incredible method that can work for anyone! It also works quickly, and keeps up the momentum of getting out of debt. This works by organizing your debts from the lowest balance you have to the highest balance (regardless of the interest rate they have) and you work hard to pay off the debt for the first item on your list. To understand the full process and how it works read  Pay off Your Debt With a Debt Snowball.

Transfer Balances

Most of you have had a credit card offer mailed to you offering to “transfer balances” for a low interest rate.  Thisis the good kind of junk mail and can really help you get your debt under control.  The problem with debt is that you accrue interest.  This can keep you in debt forever, unless you make bigger payments, or stop the interest from accruing.  Some cards have offers to transfer balances from other cards to their card for a 0% interest rate (or low, like 3%) for a certain amount of time.  When we were trying to pay off credit cards, we transferred balances from one card to the next, keeping 0% interest rates.  This made our payments go to the entire principle amount and we paid them off MUCH faster than we would have at a standard 12% interest rate.  Be careful to read the terms and conditions of these offers.  Often, there are transfer fees (which can still be worth it, depending on your account balance and what would be saved from the interest) and other terms you will want to be aware of.  Something many people don’t know, is that if you are also using your card, and accruing interest on purchases, you actually only pay off the 0% first, which means you accrue interest on the purchases the whole time.  In a nutshell, to save the most money, transfer balances to a card that you don’t plan to use for purchases, and pay the most you can while the rate lasts.  Don’t be late making a payment or you forfeit your low rate.

Budget

To make sure you are organized and get control of your finances, it is important to budget. Knowing where your money is going every month is half the battle.  Most people that have money trouble truly don’t have a great grasp on what it takes for them to live and where their extra money is going each month.  Years ago, we had the same problem and didn’t feel that we were spending much extra.  After going through our monthly expenses, we realized that we were each eating out for lunch 4+ times each week.  Even if we only spent 5$ (which we didn’t always) times that by 2 of us, that is 40$ each week (almost $200+) just on lunches.  That was more than half of our food budget each month, at the time.  If you know your budget and stick to it, this will help you to get out of debt, and stay out of debt! For great ideas on budgeting ideas, click How to Budget When You Don’t Make Enough Money.

Make homemade products

Save money by making things at home out of household products.  You can make your own household cleaners, lotions, laundry detergents, hair products, and more. You will be amazed at how much money you can save every month, simply by making your own stuff that calls for supplies you most likely have around the house anyway (many products require common items like baking soda, vinegar, oil, soap, etc.)

12 Surprising Things You Can do To Become Debt-Free

Simplify 

When something in your house breaks or starts to wear down, try to get creative with how you can replace that item. If your bathroom rug unravels ask yourself, “Do I really need another one?” You can always put a towel down instead or find some other item that would work. When you start to do this with scrub brushes, paper towels, tin foil, and other common household items you will be able to cut back a lot, save money, and live a more simplistic lifestyle.

Financial Fast

Have you ever heard of a financial fast?  This might sound hard at first, but if you can master this you will feel so rewarded you will want to go… shopping!  Just kidding, don’t do that!  But really, it is very rewarding to exercise your self-control.  If you normally buy extra things you want through the month, or take full advantage of Amazon Prime like we do at our house, just don’t spend any money for a month.  Obviously you need to buy food and pay rent, etc., but cut out restaurants, extras, clothes you think you need and more.  The trick is just to only take care of your essential needs and don’t buy anything else. It takes some diligence and resistance to fight the urge to buy things, but the more you turn down the items you really don’t need, the easier it gets!  You will be amazed that it is possible for your bank account to almost stay the same.  It is a great feeling and after you do it once, you will want to do it again.

 

Sell Your Stuff

To make money, try to sell items that you can find for free. Online there are advertisements where people are getting rid of things, as long as you come pick up the item yourself. You can find these on local classifieds, Craigslist, social media groups, the newspaper, or even just driving by peoples’ houses where they have items on their lawn with a “free” sign. You can also contact people you know that are moving and see if they have items they are getting rid of. Collect those items, and then turn around and sell them! You will make 100% profit.

12 Surprising Things You Can do To Become Debt-Free

 

Be Savvy

How many times have you purchased something, and then you see it go on sale for even less money the next time you are there? To get the most bang for your buck, pay attention to sales, discounts and store promotions.

Make More Money that You Spend

There is a pretty hilarious segment on Saturday Night Live spoofing this idea, but it is true.  And unfortunately, it has to be said.  Figure out how much money you have to live on, and live on less than that.  There are many circumstances that don’t make this always possible.  Medical emergencies, unexpected car repairs and so many more.  The key is to make the “unexpected” expenses “expected.”  Be sure to budget for birthdays, holidays and even car repairs.  Unfortunately, you may realize as you go over your income and your expenses that you simply do not make enough money to meet your monthly needs.  This is the time to make fundamental life changes.  Maybe a job or career change, living in a different place, or taking on side jobs to make extra money.  This can be a sobering reality, but a reality nonetheless.  Take the challenge and change your circumstances.

Take Advantage of Free Activies

Research the museums, festivals, and activities in your community that are free to attend. This will make the burden of saving or a financial fast much more bearable.  There are so many activities in the community that are usually free, that you should have no problem still living as you save.  There is no question that it is hard and that it takes self-control and discipline that may not be fun.  But if you put your best foot forward and make the necessary changes, you will live in financial freedom instead of bondage.

4 Simple Steps Toward Getting Out of Debt

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Debt is a happiness and freedom death-trap.  It causes stress and fear and can trap you forever, if you aren’t careful.  While “staying out of debt” is a great idea in theory, it’s pretty hard to actually do.  Life’s necessities require some amount of debt, in most cases. For example, a modest home, an education, or a functional (but not flashy) car are all things that most people need or want and these are common expenses that usually start out with a loan. If you find yourself in debt, and want help to pay things off and finally be free of the financial strings that hold you back, here are some great tips.

First:

Set goals.  I have achieved nothing in life worth discussing, that didn’t start out in goal-form.  If you don’t know where you are going, how do you know which path to take?  “Get out of debt” is a great goal, but get more specific.  Set dates.  Set times.  Set specifics.  And then outline how you want to get there.  In order for you to achieve big things, you have to mentally decide and accept your own challenge.  Write them down.  Save them.  Post them in a visible place if this helps.  I have never set a financial goal that I haven’t reached.  But I never would have accomplished what I have without a clear destination, with specifics and steps to get there.  I really can’t emphasize this step enough.

Set goals that are specific and concise.  For example: “I want to pay my car loan off by the end of the year.”  Find out the exact balance.  What does that require you to do to get there?  How much must you pay each month to pay off your car?  How can you earn extra money to put on your car in order to pay off the loan?  What can you cut out of your monthly budget to free up some extra cash to put on your car?  Can you pay bi-weekly instead of monthly?  Figure out your path.

Be sure to set realistic goals, that still push yourself beyond your comfort level.  Hard things make us stronger.  It is ok to squirm a little bit.  It is hard, but so rewarding.

Second:

Set Your Path. How are you going to reach your goal?  One common method (that worked for our family) was to focus on paying off the smallest debt first.  It is very motivating to see the balances start to disappear.  It really keeps the momentum going when you see bills get paid off and you move to the next one.  Pay the minimum payment on all of your debts, except the smallest one.  Put all of your extra money on that bill, until it is gone.  Then, when you move to the next one, you add what you were paying on the last bill, adding the minimum payment and any extra that you are paying on the current bill.  You will be surprised at how fast your balances decrease.  It is so encouraging to pay bills off and move to the next one. My husband and I paid off a $16,000 debt and car loan in only 18 months while we were in college and had NO extra money.  I still don’t know how we did it, but we did, using this method along with a lot of self-control 🙂 We lived debt-free the for the duration of college.

Many people think that if they spread out their payments, they will keep them all smaller.  This takes longer and you accrue interest on all of your accounts, instead of knocking them out one at a time.   Once one bill is gone, you won’t have to pay the interest on it anymore, meaning that money can go to paying off your other debts.

Third:

Start spending differently.  This sounds obvious, and there is a pretty funny Saturday Night Live segment spoofing this concept, but spend less than you make.  I would say that if you are struggling to get out of debt, get rid of credit cards.  Maybe not permanently or physically, but don’t use them anymore.  Don’t even use them intending to pay them off at the end of the month, until you can get your debt under control.  Credit cards are great and have their place, but they are also a temptation and can be a pitfall in your path to getting out of debt.  They are convenient and somehow have a magical way of numbing the reality of expenses and costs.  Don’t let this fool you.  I have done it.  It is a common experience for some.  You have a bill to pay, you don’t have the money or it was more expensive than you expected.  You put it on a credit card.  Most times, we do that so we don’t have to “deal” with that expense right now.  Maybe it wasn’t expected (hello- new tires, medical expenses, car repairs!)  But don’t fall into this.  The best way to handle your debts, is to face them head on.

Fourth:

In order to get rid of your debt, you need to be on top of your finances. That means sitting down and creating (or analyzing) your budget. Look at how much you spend. Setting and maintaining a budget will help you stay on track and know how to best use your money to get out of debt.  Budgeting can be a drag, but knowing where your money is going each month is essential to making  financial changes that will improve your quality of life.

BONUS Tip:

Sometimes, we sit down and realize we simply don’t make enough money for what life requires.  This is a sobering reality and can make the goal of “getting out of debt” simply unreachable.  What next?  If at the end of the month, you don’t have the money for your basic needs and responsibilities, it may call for fundamental lifestyle changes.  Maybe this requires renting a cheaper place.  Maybe it requires a budgeting overhaul and maybe the extra expenses need to be re-evaluated.  Don’t give up.  Getting out of debt is possible, but it could be time to get creative.  My husband and I have been in this position, more than once.  We put our heads together and got resourceful.  In the past, we have decided to cut expenses that aren’t “needs” and figure out ways to make extra money.  There are so many side hustles and ways to make money on the side.  We both took side jobs to earn extra money, so that we could still make progress in getting out of debt and staying out of debt.

*Blogging is a great way to earn extra money on the side to help you get out of debt and make a great living.  If you are interested in making extra money on your own time from home, you can see my step-by-step tutorial on how to start a blog and get on your way!

Here are a few articles about how you can make extra money to help you on your path to pay off debt:

7 Easy Ways to Make Money Blogging

How to Make Money Blogging

How to Start a Blog

15 {Legit} Ways to Make an Extra $1500 a Month

50 Ways to Earn Extra Money on the Side

8 Legit Ways to Make Money From Home

How to Get Freelance Writing Jobs

10 Ways to Earn a Living on the Internet

How to Make Extra Cash Using Ebates

12 Surprising Things You Can Do to Become Debt-Free

How to Make Money Snapchatting

54 Side Hustles to Make Extra Money on the Side

How to Make Extra Money Using Survey Sites

How I Make 100K Online Working From Home

8 Survey Sites You Can Use to Make Extra Money

7 Serious Ways to Add $500 to Your Income

8 Ways to Get Clothes for Your Kids for Absolutely Free

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Kids clothes can cost a mini-fortune and there are ways to be resourceful and still have well-dressed children.
Here are 8 ways to get kids’ clothes for free or come out even in the whole thing:
Have a community clothing swap! It can be as big or as small as you would like. Everyone will be happy to get rid of clothing that doesn’t fit their children anymore and find lots of new items! These are a fun way to connect with other parents who are likely to give you their hand-me-downs in the future, as well as get rid of your old items that are taking up space.
Sell your items at a local consignment shop. If your kids outgrow their clothing or they go out of style, try to sell them to make some money. Then you can use the money you made from those clothing items to buy them some new ones without having to spend anything.
Trade some services for clothing. If you don’t have any clothing to give and don’t want to pay for them, offer to babysit your friends or neighbors kids in exchange for clothing. They get free childcare and you get free clothes.
8 Ways to Get Clothes for Your Kids for Absolutely Free
Join or start a Facebook clothing swap group. These are really popular and are a fast and easy way to find things you like online and can trade with people. Scrolling through pictures can save you time rather than having to sort through a big bag of clothes, and it’s really easy to make your trade offs if you don’t have time to organize a more formal clothing swap.
Re-purpose old clothing items to make new ones. If you have adult clothing you won’t use anymore, see if you can turn it into children’s clothing. Even children’s clothing that is old can be re-purposed and used in new ways. Just try to get creative and you will be amazed at new clothing items you can come up with!
Borrow clothing when your kid only has to wear it one time. If your child is in a wedding, a play, or attending a school concert, it is a hassle to have to spend money on an item they will most likely only wear once. Try to ask around and see if they can borrow an item for that occasion and then return it once it’s over.
Some people may find this tacky, but it can be really helpful and you’ll be glad you did it! For Christmas or birthdays, start requesting items or telling friends and family to buy your kids clothing items instead of toys.
Check Craigslist for free clothing items! Sometimes you can find people who are giving away stuff for free just because it’s easier to get rid of than put in the work of trying to sell it to someone. Always keep your eye out for these great finds so you can snatch them up!
And a bonus tip: if you are at all interested in starting your own children’s online boutique, you can get clothes for wholesale and your online kids’ clothing venture can fund your kids’ wardrobe.  I have a friend who did this very thing and she is not only dressing her kids to the nines, she is also making a really great side income from home.  It is such a great idea.  Very resourceful.  If you are interested in starting your own online business, visit  How to Start a Website for Just a Few Dollars a Month to help you get started.