Credit card debt can seriously ruin your enjoyment of life. Studies have shown that how a married couple’s rating of how happy they are is directly correlated to the amount of credit card debt they carry. Reducing your credit card debt can also improve your love life! That was enough motivation for me, but you might need some more.
The absolute best way to reduce your debt is to cut back your spending and apply that savings to your credit card debt. I’m sure you are thinking “thanks for the advice genius”. Hey, you spent the money in the first place not me. Anyway, I have a few ideas on how you can do that without making any drastic changes to you life. The best way to reduce debt is to reduce your spending on food and drink consumed outside of your home. If you are anything like me I’m sure you could stand to cut a few things out of your diet and lose a few pounds in the process but that is a topic for another day.
Here is a little tip. Keep track on how much money you are spending on food. I guarantee you will be amazed. The first time I did my list I found out I was spending more on food than I was spending on my house. Yes, I am serious. That was an eye opener. How much you are paying for the convenience of having ready-made drinks and meals? Just making a few simple lifestyle changes can drastically increase the available cash you have to pay down your debt.
The easiest way to make these changes is to make them one at a time. Drastic cutbacks will leave you feeling deprived, but if you gradually change the way you spend money, you will gain a sense of pride and accomplishment in your achievements. Slow and easy wins the race and it’s really the only way you can maintain your efforts for the long term.
Starbucks and other coffee shops are icons of today’s American culture. Look around, I’m sure there are twenty other people just like you waiting for their morning cup of coffee. Specialty coffee drinks usually cost $3 to $5 by the time you tip, and you might spend even more if you also purchase breakfast foods, like croissants, scones, and bagels to go with your latte or mocha. I suppose you could cut back on the tip, but don’t blame me if you get crappy service the next time around.
Make your coffee at home and skip the stop at the coffee shop. You can buy a coffee brewer and a pound of coffee for about the same amount you spend on coffee drinks in one week. You can buy Starbucks coffee beans or grounds in the grocery store. Like iced coffee? Add ice!! Latte? It’s milk!! Seriously, you can save big money here and don’t forget about all the extra time you now have from not standing in line.
If you look forward to your coffee break as a way to socialize, go ahead and walk with your friends to the coffee shop. You can catch up on conversation while you wait in line and wait for your friends’ drinks to be made. Chances are, though, that your friends also need to reduce their credit card debt. Let them read this article.
At the end of the month, add up the amount you have saved on coffee drinks, bagels, scones and donuts. Reduce your credit card debt by that amount plus your regular monthly payment. Don’t go and spend all your savings. Use it to pay down that debt.