Many people get into debt because of their lifestyle choices. As a rule of thumb, living within your means can mean a lot for your financial health. If you find yourself struggling with an overwhelming amount of credit card debt , instead of ignoring your debts hoping they will magically disappear (unfortunately, they won’t), it’s time you develop a strategy to dig yourself out of it. Start by doing what you can to cut down on your expenses.
How to Make a Bare Bones Budget:
A bare bones budget is simply a budget plan which covers only the most essential and basic necessities.
If you’re ready to accept the challenge of living a simple life to free yourself from debt, here’s how you can create your own barebones budget:
- Sit down and list all your current expenses.
- Determine which items are your ‘needs’ and which ones are simply ‘wants’.
- Cross out the items on your ‘wants’ list. You may also consider how you can get them for less or at no cost at all.
- Put all your necessary expenses on your budget worksheet.
- Calculate your total essential expenses. The total amount you get will be the minimum budget you’ll need to survive and keep up with your utility bills.
- Be sure to commit to your budget, at least until you are out of debt.
Creating a bare bones budget is all about discipline. Challenge yourself to live a frugal lifestyle; you will be surprised by how much you’ll be able to save by simply adjusting your lifestyle.
It is important to note though that even when you are on a tight budget, you should be sure to set aside money for your emergency fund. Emergency funds can be the difference between financial stability and financial disaster. Having an emergency fund helps you avoid borrowing in case of an unexpected expense.
Below are 10 tips on how you can cut down on your expenses:
- Stop dining out. Eat a healthier, home-cooked meal, and don’t forget to bring a brown bag for your lunch.
- Cut the cable! With so many streaming services available at a lower cost, you’ll save money by switching to a cheaper way to stream your favorite shows.
- Take advantage of coupons. There are plenty of coupons you can find online or in your mailbox that can save you money on necessities.
- Share a ride. Take a walk or ride a bicycle whenever possible. This will save you money on gas, plus you get your much-needed exercise.
- Lower your utility costs. Unplug unused appliances and turn off the lights when they’re not in use, wash clothes in cold water, and hang clothes on a clothesline instead of using the dryer.
- Shop around for lower insurance plans. Many times you can get the same coverage at a lower price from a different insurance agency.
- Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. You can also take this one step further by growing your own food from your garden whenever possible.
- Make DIY’s your hobby. Making things yourself could save you hundreds versus buying a finished product.
- Make your own coffee. Buying coffee on the go adds up over time. If you make your coffee at home, you might be surprised at how much you can save over a month or two.
- Recycle things. Whether you’re recycling by hosting a garage sale or you’re turning in recyclable waste for a few extra bucks – the money can really start to add up!
Falling into credit card debt can happen in the blink of an eye. However, finding a way out can take some time. Avoiding unnecessary debt is the best way to save yourself from the financially crippling impact of debt.