Here’s another great email from a reader:
A few years ago my husband and I were inspired to get out of debt. Even though the debt we had was not a major burden, we felt that we needed to get out from under the loans just in case a rainy day came our way. And I am so glad that we did!
Literally a month after we paid off our debts my husband was laid-off unexpectedly due to the economy. After a few moments of panic, my husband and I put our heads on straight and came up with a game plan. Here are a few things we did to reduce spending:
Clothing and services
- Took inventory of our wardrobe and sold pieces we never wear on eBay.
- Asked my hair dresser to dye my hair back to its natural color, so I could go longer between hair cut appointments.
- We dropped our health club and formed a jogging group with friends.
- Asked friends and relatives for hand-me-downs for our toddler.
Housing and utilities
- Eliminated premium channels from our cable service.
- Canceled Netflix and used Redbox instead.
- Reduced phone extras on our cell service.
- Investigated whether bundled service (phone, high-speed Internet and cable television) might save us money. Turns out they gave us a promotional rate on our high-speed Internet.
- Washed only full loads of dishes and clothes.
- Used a clothesline and used our dryer just to soften air-dried clothes.
- Kept our home heated or cooled only when we were actually there.
- Switched to compact-fluorescent bulbs, and turned them off when not needed. Turned off TVs, computers and other electronics when not in use.
- Sold our car that had a car payment. Yep, we became a single car family.
- Got all the discounts we deserved, such as good-driver, good-student and multiple-car discounts.
- Because we were driving less, we told our insurer; and got a cheaper rate.
- We biked or walked as often as possible.
- Grouped our errands to reduce gas consumption.
- I brought lunches and snacks to work.
- Cooked once, ate twice: leftovers were used for a later meal.
- Used the weekly grocery store circulars to see what’s on sale and used coupons along with sales.
After several months of many prayers, my husband landed his dream job. It was a miracle! However, the pay was significantly less than what he was making from his previous job.
The transition to our new income would have been a struggle, but we had already reduced our spending significantly. In fact, we were able to save $500 a month with all of our reductions. Moreover, we are still a single car family. My husband rides the bus to work everyday and really enjoys it. This experience brought us closer together as a couple. We both agreed that reducing spending has simplified our lives.
Ashley and Ryan are currently living in Salt Lake City, Utah. Ashley is a dental hygienist and Ryan works for the Federal Government. They have a two and half-year-old son.
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