102. Save $1,000s per year – 15 ways to save money when you are in debt
Here are 15 ways to save money when you are in debt:
1. Pay off most expensive debt first. When you are in debt (thus excluding mortgage debt), try to pay off the most expensive debt first (like credit card debt), then other debts, like personal loan, car finance and eventually mortgage debt.
2. Try to refinance your debt into a consolidated personal loan or a flexible home-equity loan. You will save on interest payments and you can define yourself in how much time you pay off the principal, like over 5-10 years, so you have lower monthly payments to make. You could also save on taxes.
3. Pay attention to where your money is going. Carry a little memo pad around and keep track of everything you spend. Like magic, the simple act of writing stuff down will often keep you from spending money. It also helps you to look at where your money is going and allows you to make informed decisions about how much money you really need to live the life you want.
4. Make a simple spending plan. You wouldn't think of setting off on a long trip without a map. A spending plan is simply a map to help guide you to where you're going financially. It allows you to set goals and evaluate your progress. There's no successful company that doesn't plan their cash outlays. Why don't you? Use the free online budgeting tool Mint.com to help you manage your budget and spending.
5. Make sure everybody's on the bus. Changing your spending habits is hard to do if everyone else in your life isn't reading from the same page. Make sure everyone in the family is committed to the trip before you leave the curb. Involve the whole family in saving. Plan a treat for everyone when you reach the savings goal. Make it something everyone will look forward to, but inexpensive, such as a day at the zoo, museum or beach.
6. Try to save for it first. When purchasing high-priced items, like a flatscreen TV, try to save for it first, then spend it, instead of buying it on credit.
7. Buy on an as needed investment basis only. Basically there are 4 forms of buying:
- Buying as a need, not an investment (such as toilet paper)
- Buying as a need, investment (such as house, car)
- Buying as a want not an investment (such as ipods, toys, gadgets, most clothing)
- Buying as a want an investment (such as jewelry, collectibles, antiques)
When people learn to only buy on an as needed investment basis only, they can start saving again. Americans, especially women, buy stuff to make themselves feel better. When the mind is right, shopping is not required.
8. Be confident, you will make it. If you have $30,000 of credit card debt, it only takes a couple years saving $500 per month to fully erase your credit card debt (5 years in this case, or even faster, because for example, as soon as you paid off half of your credit card debt, you save half of the monthly interest charged on the credit card debt as well)
9. Ask other family members for help. They may help you with your debt problem or advise you how to change your spending habits or earn more income. Also check all the savings ideas on this website, including new ways to earn extra income.
10. Always live below your means. In other words, if you make $2,500 per month and you spend $3,000 per month you will end up bankrupt eventually. On the other hand, if you only spend $2,000 per month of that $2,500 wage, you will save $6,000 per year.
11. Deduct personal bad debts. If your best friend borrows $10,000 and then skips town, you can deduct this non-business bad debt as a short-term capital loss on your tax return.
12. Own your own home. Home ownership is one of the last tax shelters available to the middle class. Mortgage interest and property tax deductions will save you taxes, and saving to own a home is a wonderful use for your money after you have contributed the maximum to tax-advantaged retirement plans. Also check out idea nr. 78: $$ Save $1,000s per year – 40 ways homeowners save on taxes
13. Question Every Expense. We often think we just can’t live without that unlimited Netflix account, or the gym membership, or the kids’ babysitting or daycare. But instead of taking everything as a given, go through your bills one by one and see what you could do if you HAD to cut your spending in half. Most people won’t be faced with that kind of drastic reduction in income, but many Americans are dealing with that very scenario right now.
14. Saving before buying. One in five people surveyed say they're saving to buy something they want, instead of charging it, says WSL Strategic Retail. For luxury items over $1,000 (like flatscreen, laptop), it is better to save (and wait to purchase) than instantly charge on credit card. The advantage is also that you keep your credit card debt to a controlled limit and you reduce impulse buying on credit card.
15. Treat saving as a bill. Consider having the amount transferred automatically from your checking account or paycheck. Pay your account every month or every two weeks.