How I Save Over $800 Doing One Thing!

how-i-save-over-800-a-yearI’ve been on my Debt Free Journey for over a year now.  It’s ongoing (hence the name journey).  I’m always looking for ways to trim excess spending from my budget to increase my debt snowball payments and get out of debt much sooner.  Additionally, I reflect often and run some numbers to track my progress, successes, and failures.  So you can imagine my surprise when I realized I was saving over $800/year by doing ONE thing!

How I save over $800 Doing This 1 Thing!

I Cut Subscriptions!

That’s Right!  I cut subscriptions.  Five subscriptions to be exact.  Often, subscriptions are broken down into smaller payments to market as “affordable.”  Companies advertise “just $9.99” or “for only 10 bucks” to grab your attention and make it seem affordable!  Well I eliminated those subscriptions which put a little more than $800 back into my pockets.  That $800 does not include the $1000/year I save from cutting cable! Let me share exactly what I stopped subscribing to.

Newspaper  $12.80/month

The newspaper was the first subscription to go after cable.  I was only receiving the Sunday paper (for the coupons) and had absolutely no use for the remainder of the paper.  As a result, papers stacked up.  In addition to unused papers, the customer service was awful and sometimes I wouldn’t receive the paper.  As a result…I cut it.

Teen Magazine $22.00/ year or $1.83/month

My girls deny subscribing to the magazine and I don’t quite remember signing up myself.  However the magazines came and I accepted UNTIL my account was automatically debited $22.00 for an annual subscription.  I contacted customer service and complained and stopped the subscription (and got my money back).  Teen Magazine also gave me a year free.  After that year, it was over.  My girls don’t miss it because very similar content is found other places for free!

i-saved-over-800-yearand-gained-peace-of-mind

Just Fab Shoes $39.95 + Shipping/monthly

“For just $40.00/month” I could get the latest shoe fashions delivered to my door and be considered a VIP member, accumulate points, and receive free items…is what hooked me in.  “Cancel anytime” they said.  “Skip at no additional charge anytime” was something else.  $39.95 would turn into $120 as the shoes piled up in my virtual cart to earn “free shipping.”  I attempted to cancel 4 times as I was charged the $41 something fee, because I forgot to “skip” my month and discovered that “skip any time” really meant “anytime by the 5th of each month” OR PAY THIS MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION FEE!  Finally I was able to survive the temptations offered to keep me as a “VIP valued member” and gain an additional $40.00/month!

Amazon Prime $99.00/year $8.25/month

Canceling this subscription may have been the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.  The only other retailer I love more than Amazon is Target!  But I pulled up my big girl panties and made the executive decision to cut the cord after evaluating why I loved the membership so much.  Amazon Prime membership was convenient because I had an Amazon Credit Card.  However when I paid Amazon off, I no longer had the urge to conveniently browse Amazon for “knick knacks” and “whatnots”  Since I was no longer “busy shopping” I no longer needed the convenience of 1 day shipping (which appealed to me the most).  That was it!

Microsoft Office $10.51/month

Social work sometimes can equate to work at home.  Before, at my previous job, completing documentation at home meant I needed compatible software to what was used at work.  This resulted in me paying to rent Microsoft Office for $9.99/month, equaling $10.51/ month with tax.  About 6 month into my journey and about a year renting the software, I noticed I had already paid for Microsoft Office, had I purchased it out right.  Google Docs has become a much more affordable option, is user friendly, and I love the fact that the documents can be easily accessed by logging into my account!

If you’ve done the math that is a total of $74.39/month and $892.68/year!  $892.68 from these cancelled subscriptions plus my $1000/year saved from canceling cable is nearly $2000!  Unfortunately, I was not immediately able to see the benefits in my debt snowball payments.  These expenses actually brought me down to “my means” which is as equally important!

So actually this was a couple of things but fell under one category!  As much as I would love for this post to reflect my Debt Free Expertise, I am still flawed.  I’m recently paying for the Careful Scents Freelance Subscription which is $39.00.  However I see that as an investment which will hopefully have a return pretty soon!

Would you consider cutting subscriptions?  Have you already done so?  Do you miss any of them?

How to Stop Spending Too Much Money NOW!

How to Stop Spending Too Much Money

Hello!

I’ve recently shared that I’ve been on my Debt Free Journey for a year now.  I plan to share exactly how much debt I’ve managed to eliminate within this year in a later post.  Now, however, I’m addressing what got me into debt and what exactly I’ve done to get out of debt. My first step was to stop spending too much money NOW.

By now you should know the key to getting out of debt is to earn more and spend less! While I definitely don’t consider myself an expert at earning more and spending less, I do think that the things I’ve done to stop spending too much are achievable and can be helpful to someone.  

What I did to stop spending too much money  

1. Track and Analyze my Spending

On a monthly basis, I review my bank statements.  I categorize my spending into gas, fast food, groceries, clothing, and bills and totaled my spending in those areas.  An additional category is miscellaneous which is where I payed close attention to see where exactly where I could cut cost.  I was able to realize just how much “little things” added up such as vending machine trips, candy and sodas from the gas station and random trips from the grocery store, Dollar General, and Target.  Afterwards, I would attempt to decrease spending in all areas by at least 10 percent.

2. Avoid triggers

If you follow me on Instagram, then you’re aware of how tempted I was by Target.  I would take random trips to Target, browse every isle, and spend hundreds of dollars on things I did not need, and some I did.  After maxing out my card, I did the same to my Mister’s card until we had TWO maxed out cards for one household.  Shortly after, I decided to begin my debt free journey.

To avoid behaviors that placed me back in debt, I removed my Target from my pocket book and had my mister place at the top of my closet in a pocket book without me looking.  Afterwards, I cut it up.  Now, to continue avoiding triggers, particularly emotional spending, I’ve unsubscribed from email list to avoid the temptation of online shopping, removed all my cards from my wallet, and shop with list in most cases.

How To Stop Spending Too Much Money-2

3.  Use cash

It took me a long time, like a really long time, to develop the habit of using cash instead of swiping my debt card. It also took me a long time to remove my debit card from my wallet and use cash only or the cash envelope system.  The cash envelope system is not working so well for me right now, swiping my cards had become so normal.  I plan on being more diligent and consistent in my efforts.

4. Develop a Budget

I developed a budget about three months into my debt free journey.  That budget did not work out so well after one attempt and I went back to my old system of paying bills, however I made sure to assign an increased amount towards my debt snowball payment.  I’ve since developed a zero based budget, which continues to be a work in progress.

All the above techniques have been helpful in preventing me from spending too much money and paying off debt in this first year of my debt free journey.  It does require lots of determination and discipline, which I didn’t have in the beginning.  Which why, it’s probably called a journey!

In addition to the techniques above, I’ve stopped spending money on these 4 things as well:

  1. Dunken donuts coffee
  2. Manicures and pedicures
  3. Fast food
  4. Pocket books and shoes

Here is a video explaining exactly how much debt I’m in and why I began my journey!

Please add any tips you have to help people from spending too much money below?  Is there anything that you stopped buying that you added back into your budget?

 

My Debt Total

 

My debt total
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Two hundred eighty nine thousand, ten dollars and fifty five cents. It even sounds like a lot typed out! That’s my Debt Total Number!

I’ve avoided this post for a while because I knew that once I discovered my debt total number, I’d become overwhelmed by it.  It would consume me.  I’ll now be saying things like:

” I can’t eat out, I’m in two hundred eighty nine thousand, ten dollars and fifty five cents worth of debt.”

“Ten dollars! I can put that towards my two hundred eighty nine thousand, ten dollars and fifty five cents worth of debt.”

This number will be engraved in my brain and attached to me like my social security number until it isn’t or until it is replaced with 0.

$289,010.55 is my debt total number! What's yours? Click To Tweet Continue reading “My Debt Total”