It was amazing for me when I learned how much debt American families are now carrying. One recent report was that the average household now has $19,000 in debt. Of course, that’s just an average. So some people are carrying much more than that. I’m kind of shocked by this number.
The one, true answer
Whether you’re deeply in debt or simply want to live better, the one true answer is frugality. You need to take a hard look at how you are spending your money, where you can cut back and are there items you could do without.
Frugality doesn’t mean living in a hut and surviving on a diet of black beans. You can become more frugal by doing simple things such as buying store brands instead of national brands. Our local supermarket carries a number of Kroger branded items and we try to buy them as much as possible. Even though we may be saving just $.30 or $.50 on each item, this adds up over time to a nice piece of change.
You can cut your spending until you know what you’re spending
If you don’t budget, you should. There’s just no way you can cut your spending unless you know what you’re spending now. You should budget for everything you spend money on from groceries to printer cartridges and from pet food to gasoline. This should include your utilities, mortgage or rent, auto insurance–everything. You should even have a “fun” budget for those things you want to do that make your life better.
What could you make yourself?
Are there things you could make yourself instead of buying them? Believe it or not there are even health and beauty items you can make yourself, which can save you a ton of money. Can you grow some of your own food? That can be both fun and financially rewarding.
Swear off prepared foods
Try to not buy prepared foods. I know it’s tempting after a hard day’s work to stop at the nearest supermarket or deli and “pick up something for dinner.” But this will cost you much more than if you prepare that dinner yourself–even if it’s a very simple meal. We have spaghetti with meat sauce at least once a week. My wife serves it along with a salad and a vegetable and feeds the three of us for less than $6. And it’s an easy meal to prepare.