Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Kate Has Debt: What I'm Doing To Get Out Of This Mess

In my new series, Kate Has Debt, I am tackling the big questions about debt. I started with How Did I get Into This Mess?! and here is the next step:

What Am I Doing To Get Out Of This Mess?!

Well, for starters, I have instituted some ideas I got from Anna over at And Then She Saved, (an awesome blog). I am going on a spending diet. I probably should go on a spending fast, but I don't know if I have enough willpower for that. I am accustomed to my lifestyle, and while I understand it can't be sustained and that it's financially disastrous, I can't just stop. So, I'm going to ramp up. Or down. You know what I mean!

My list of NEEDS
1. Rent
2. Utilities - Keeping lights off as much as possible. I'm also going to look into "vampire power" - the power that plugged in items use, even when they're off!
3. Food - I have TONS of food in my pantry at home. The goal is to work through that and really only buy fresh/perishable items.
4. Car/renters' insurance - An absolute necessity, and I'm not okay lowering my coverages.
5. Cat food/litter - the munchkins will likely move off of Science Diet.

Basically, it works like this: You make a list of NEEDS - see above. You determine how you can save money within those NEEDS. You stop spending money on other stuff. You pay those NEEDS when they pop up. Here's the tricky part: I want some discretional spending. It can be a small amount - but I need SOME.

So, I made a list of

1. Etsy
2. Clothes
3. Shoes
4. Home Decor
5. Make-up
6. Bed linens and towels
7. Hot chocolates from coffee shops
8. Desserts when out with friends - shave ice, pie, ice cream. This is good for my wallet AND my waistline.
9. Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash, Lotion, Bar Soap, Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Shaving Cream, or Perfume - see picture below...

{NEVER need to buy any of this stuff again...}

So, I have a list of NEEDS and a list of EXTRAS, but I mentioned earlier that I want some discretionary money. So, I'm giving myself $100/month on FUN. This can be eating out, going to the movies, or maybe going to Knott's Scary Farm (which I REALLY want to do this month!).

To make this $100 more palatable,
I've cut out my luxuries:

1. I get gel mani/pedis about every 3 weeks - at $70/each, this is $1050/year. Six weeks ago, I thought it was nothing, today I am appalled that I spent that much money ON MY NAILS.
 2. I generally wax my unruly eyebrows about once a month - and at $12/each, this is $120/year. Come on Kate! When did I get so lazy? I can pluck my own eyebrows! FOR FREE.
3. I buy Groupons and Livingsocial deals like candy. They're for things like massages, facials, wine tasting, nice dinners, and yoga classes. ALL COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY.
Here are some things I've already cut out over the past year - 
without even thinking of saving money.

1. I stopped dying my hair almost a year ago - even though I always did it myself, this saves me tons of money.
2. I stopped buying soda/bottled water for my house (I still buy sodas in restaurants and I keep a case of water in my trunk for emergencies).

I've taken some steps to make it easier to save money:

1. I probably bought new clothes EVERY WEEK. Who am I? Crazy, that's who. I unsubscribed from all of the deal emails from my favorite retailers. No more "30% off at Old Navy today only!" or "Extra 50% off clearance at LOFT!" This has been one of the easiest ways for me to change my spending, because these daily emails are what lured me in everytime. Without them, it's like I forget about shopping! :)

2. I've started logging every transaction I have - whether it's cash, credit, or an online bill pay. This means I have a up-to-date balance and spending money is much more REAL when you can watch it disappear in black and white. Next week, I'll talk more about how I'm doing this.

3. I've started using coupons! I'm not an extreme couponer, but I've started clipping. And I've saved tons of money! Using some really useful blogs, and spending some time acquiring and organizing coupons, I've been able to buy things I would normally buy for up to 100% off the price I'd normally pay.

I'm sure there are more steps I can take and I am looking for new ones everyday! If you have had particular saving success and have any tips or tricks for me, please share!!

One more thing:
I also figured out exactly how much I owe, how much I own, and how much I make and with that info, I created a budget and a plan to pay off my debt. That's for next week!

Stay tuned for:

-- The tools I'm using to get out of this mess --
-- What I hope to achieve --
-- How I'm going to make sure I will never be here again --

Don't forget to read:

1 comment:

  1. I use its beautiful, seamlessly links all of your accounts... I cant begin to explain how amazing it is. The mobile version is great too. Also, check the dates on those toiletries, I guarantee most of them should be tossed. Product junky! ;)


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