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Eliminating Debt By Spending Less and Using What you Already Have

Everything costs more these days. Only a short while ago I could purchase 10 ears of corn for a dollar. Now they sell for .50 cents an ear. With the cost of just about everything on the rise the hum in the air is how do I get the most on a limited budget and eliminate debt. How much you save depends on how aggressive you are.

For budgeting and finances I turn to Mary Hunt. She writes the “Solutions your Money” column in Woman’s Day magazine and has her own website at debtproofliving.com
Some other great budgeting sites I use are flylady.net, budget101.com, cafemom.com, pioneerthinking.com. You can also find recipes, organization and other household tips.

When I started making a list of all the helpful tips I have learned over the years the list kept growing. This is a list I put together from tips I have used and those I have read from the websites listed above.

ELIMINATING DEBT:

  • Stop spending!!! Change your habits!!!
  • Think hard before you buy. Do you really need it?
  • If you have to impress your friends they are not really your friends.
  • Eliminate the extras: cell phones, movies, cable, eating out.
  • Walk more, drive less.
  • Save postage by paying bills online.
  • Shop thrift stores and yard sales for clothing, books and kitchen essentials.
  • Buy clothing out of season when they are on sale.
  • Borrow movies, books and music from the library.
  • Shop the dollar store for cleaning supplies, party goods and snacks.
  • Join a food co-op for cheaper groceries. Receive a box of fresh fruits and vegetables on your door step every month. Go to localharvest.org, coopdirectory.org/ or niany.com to find a co-op.
  • Relax while getting a massage at a massage school.
  • Cut your children’s hair or take them to a Cosmetology school.
  • Enjoy free local entertainment.
  • Sell unused unwanted items on Craigslist.org, ebay, amazon, sell.com or have a yard sale.
  • Have books in good condition? Go to cash4books.net or visit a local used books store to make a trade.
  • Take your gently used and in perfect condition clothing to a Consignment Shop. Depending on the shop, some will give you money up front while others set up a store account.
  • Turn off the electricity when not in use.
  • Buy out of season: Can or freeze fruits and vegetables when in season.
  • Abandon the pre-packaged foods.
  • Use Coupons
  • Create a Menu.
  • Do not buy or use more than you need.
  • Make a month’s worth of meals at once. savingdinner.com

USE WHAT YOU HAVE:

  • Take care of purchases.
  • Food: wrap it up, use it and freeze it.
    Clothes: Wash stains out immediately. Hang dry, keeps clothes nicer longer.
    Wash and dry comforters at a self service laundry mat instead of the dry cleaners.
  • Turn old clothes into something new: Tote Bags, Kids clothes, doll clothes, dust rags, a quilt, photo album, pillow case…
  • Make your own: broth, lunchables, baking mixes, baby food, diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, snacks, bread.
  • Grow your own garden.
  • Cook more at home. Eat out less
  • Brown bag it.
  • Use over ripe fruit to make breads or muffins.
  • If a recipe calls for egg yolks save the whites to make an omelet for breakfast.
  • Use water, fresh fruits and veggies rather than the prepackaged snacks and juice boxes.
  • Use fruits to flavor water: lemons, limes, unsweetened cranberry concentrate, cucumber slices, mint leaves or blueberries to flavor water.
  • Use what you have on hand by creating budget meals from items in your freezer and pantry.
  • Turn one meal into three.
  • If your family is not fond of leftovers only make enough for that evening’s dinner.
  • Freeze leftovers in individual portions using a vacuum sealer. Have a restaurant night complete with a menu listing the “leftover” entrees.
  • Use fewer ingredients. If the recipe calls for two cans of beans ask your self, do I really need to use both cans. Same with meats, one chicken breast shredded or cubed goes a long way.
  • Make a double batch and freeze it for another day when you do not feel like cooking.
  • Make your own cleaning agents.


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