Saturday, January 7, 2012, AM | Leave Comment
For those of us mired in debt, emerging from the red, beginning to accrue savings, and finally getting rid of creditors can often seem like a daunting task.
We stop spending and we use only a debt card when we leave the house. We try debt consolidation methods and we hold ourselves to a strict budget. But that pesky debt just refuses to go away.
What to do?
At this point, it is in your best long-term interest to eliminate your debt as quickly yet efficiently as possible. This may mean living a very frugal lifestyle for some time. And there is no better way to be frugal than by finding means of reducing your core expenses – expenses like food, rent, transportation, and utilities. Here’s a quick primer with some tips on how to go about making that happen:
- Plan all your meals out in advance. When you go grocery shopping, buy only products needed for those meals.
- Buy non-perishable items in bulk.Don’t eat out.
- Buy low-priced foods with high caloric and nutritional values – foods such as rice, beans, and lentils.
- Go carless if possible. Not having a car reduces gas consumption as well as maintenance and insurance costs. One needs only to look at a few Insurance quotes to see how quickly such expenses add up.
- If it’s not possible to go carless, follow a hierarchy of transportation options from least to most costly. The hierarchy may go as follows: walk, bike, take the bus, take a train, drive. Always choose the feasible option that is least costly.
- Look to move apartments and find a place with cheaper rent.Take on boarders or roommates.
- Don’t use brokers and rent directly from the owner. Sites like Craigslist can be especially helpful with this.
- Buy and install energy-efficient light bulbs.
- If you own a home or live on the top floor of a building, add insulation to your attic.
- Caulk the edges around your windows.
- Maintain thermostat temperatures at the low (or high) end of your comfort zone.
In a Nutshell
These tips reflect just a few of the many ways you can go about cutting your core expenses in order to more quickly emerge from debt. Some of these methods are self-explanatory and others require a bit more ingenuity. Either way, thinking concertedly about your costs and your means of reducing them are important elements of debt reduction. And your core costs, while usually impossible to completely eliminate, can still often be slimmed or cut down.
Amanda Green is a guest blogger who has been very active in the blogging community in the field of finance.