Saving a significant amount of money isn’t necessarily easy. It takes work. It takes sacrifice. When Naaman and I started our journey to becoming debt-free I sat down and brainstormed for ways that we could save money. I’m sure you’ve heard all the usual ways. Calling utility companies to negotiate prices. Using coupons. Shopping during sales. Those weren’t news to me. I thought sure there was another way. So when I was brainstorming a light bulb suddenly went off. Take away the temptation – and you will save money.
Unsubscribe from magazines – Reading magazines was one of my favorite things to do. When I received them in the mail I would scour the pages looking for my next item to buy. There was always something that I just “had” to have. I unsubscribed from most of my home decor and store magazines. The temptation to spend is gone because I don’t see new things.
Unsubscribe from email blasts – How many emails from stores do you get a day? I would get multiple emails a day from stores claiming they were having their “biggest sale ever!” That means one thing – spending more money. Now if you are really looking for an item it would be okay to subscribe to email lists for that particular item to watch the sales. But if you’re really looking to save money – unsubscribe from as many as you can. I’m being honest when I say that it will save you money. If you constantly see new items you are going to be tempted to buy them. And the truth is – you don’t NEED them. You don’t need that new pair of jeans. You don’t need those kids clothes. You just don’t. Once you delete yourself from these blasts I promise you won’t miss them.
Don’t window shop – Do you know what I realized the first month that Naaman and I started Financial Peace University? I realized that I shopped to fill up my time. I used shopping as an excuse to get out of the house. And that habit was costing us precious dollars. Now I only go to stores when it’s absolutely necessary to buy something. I don’t have the self-control to go to Target and just look around without buying something. Now you may be thinking, “Where’s the fun in this?” Well, the first month was really tough. And truthfully I have faltered during our plan. After months of sticking with it, I started going back to stores and just buying whatever I wanted. It’s a bad habit and really eye-opening. Can’t I be happy without buying something new? Can you? Think about it. What is with this obsessive need to buy, buy, buy? It won’t bring happiness. I promise you that. So stop shopping when you don’t have to shop and the temptation will be gone. Find other ways to occupy your time. Take your kid(s) somewhere besides Target.
Don’t compare yourself – It’s only natural to feel envy when someone else gets something you wanted. There are a few things that I would just love to have in my possession. A fancy new camera, a fancy new purse, shoes, shoes and more shoes. We all have our weaknesses. There are a couple of blogs in particular where the bloggers always have new clothes and accessories and I’m left feeling awful after reading. So I don’t read those blogs. I will click off of them if it’s making me feel like less of a person. Why would you continue to read if it makes you feel bad about yourself? If it hits a sore spot and makes you feel like you need to go shopping right.this.second. then stop reading.
I’d just like to say that Naaman and I aren’t poor. I haven’t ever meant to give that impression. We have made a few decisions with credit cards that were mistakes and we’re fixing them now because it’s no one’s responsibility but our own. We work hard. We make good money. The task to become debt-free is not easy but it’s doable. And when we talk about debt-free we mean our mortgage too. Yep, we’re in it to win it. We’re definitely not eating ramen noodles to survive. We’re just being smart and making up for lost time with our finances. We’re making our money work for us. It’s a wonderful thing.
I hope you enjoy my posts that focus on finances. I will never be a personal finance blog but I know from emails from readers that I have inspired a few people to get started on this journey. And that makes me feel good. If there is something you’d like to know about how we’re going to become debt-free please feel free to comment! I’d love to answer your questions.