Want to be Debt Free by 2013? Start a Spending Fast

Sun, Jan 15, 2012

Budgeting, Financial Advice

Now that the Year of Our Lord 2012 is well underway, you may have some hokey new year’s resolutions lined up. From losing weight, to saving some money, to calling your mom more frequently, it’s good that you have some goals you’d like to accomplish. In the grand scheme of things, however, why not draft a goal that will truly change your life?

If you are like the majority of Americans, you have significant amounts of debt. If you are like I was two years ago, you have a boatload of debt that’s threatening to sink the ship of your personal American Dream. Now, what you’re probably doing now to address this debt is to pay monthly minimums on what you owe, with the mindset that you’ll be in debt for the rest of your life, so what’s the rush? Well I’m here to tell you that it is possible to get rid of most of your debt before your next birthday. You just have to want it badly enough. Especially if you’re single with a steady income, consider doing some extreme saving. Consider starting a spending fast. Here’s how it works:

Slash your rent by living with roommates.

For most of us, the most significant monthly expenditure aside from paying off debts is rent. Depending on where you live and what lifestyle you desire, you may use as much as half or more of your paycheck just on paying for a place to live. When I started my spending fast, I didn’t want to live in a complete dump. Instead, I found two roommates to share a three bedroom apartment. My rent dropped by $600 dollars per month.

Cook at home at least five days out of seven.

I know, I know. For many of us, cooking is time-consuming, boring, and we’re just plain bad at it. As someone who literally never cooked until starting my spending fast, I spent about a month consuming less-than-satisfying fare. But you know what? I found out soon that there’s really no such thing as a cooking green thumb. You learn to cook by actually cooking. Now, I can cook better than my mother, and I saved a killing. Consider this—your average, healthy meal at home costs about $2 to $5 to prepare, whereas a typical meal out costs $10 or more. I ended up saving about $500 a week on food and drinks, no joke.

Leave the car at home and take public transportation.

Paying for gas and parking may now be so much a part of your life that you don’t even realize how much money you’re spending. I started taking the bus to work, and used my car only when absolutely necessary (i.e. when I needed a trunk to carry cargo like groceries). My employer covered my bus tickets, and I saved $200 a month. I also lost weight instantly by walking substantially more than I did before ditching my ride.

Have a night out once a week at most; entertain yourself at home the rest of the time.

For all you social butterflies out there, this may be the most difficult expense to cut. But think about it—how much cheaper is a night in with close friends? Do you ever have those evenings out that go a little too far, those nights in which you say far too often, “this round is on me”? Giving up the bars, clubs, movie theaters, etc., will save you more money than you can imagine. Personally, I saved an additional $300 a month.

Pay off your debts with any money saved from the above.

Now when you go on a spending fast, you realize at the end of each month how much more of your paycheck is leftover. With all the cuts you’ve been applying to your budget, you may be tempted to go on shopping spree. But remember why you are fasting in the first place. Put aside extra money and pay off those loans and credit cards!
One thing that you must remember before beginning a fast is that it is not going to be easy. It will require many sacrifices, sacrifices that you will not be used to making. At the same time, there’s nothing better than that feeling of knowing you are debt free. It took me about year of extreme saving to pay off $20,000 in debt. You can do it, too, as long as your remember that it’s people, not money, that’s the most important thing in life. Good luck!

This is a guest post by Eliza Morgan who is a full time blogger. She specializes in writing about business credit cards. You can reach her at: elizamorgan856 at gmail dot com.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge