I hate to admit defeat, but I have to say that our day-to-day expenses got away from us for awhile. We fell several months behind on all our payments, due to temporary unemployment, and playing catch up has taken awhile.
One of the things that helped was using coupons. I know it sounds funny, but when you look at the numbers, it makes sense:
Our average grocery costs for 1 week, for 4 people, used to be $250.00! Ever since I have been using price matches and coupons, I have never spent more than $100 per week! That is an average savings of $150.00 per week, and a grand total of $7,800.00 saved in 1 year!
We have, as of this month, caught up on our payments. It feels so good to be out from underneath that pressure! I can answer my phone or door without fear of it being a bill collector or landlord! J This is largely due to the $3,300 we saved in 6 months from using the coupons, as well as some super sweet deals like the $50 ING Bonus.
My next goal is to use this newfound coupon power to pay off some of our secondary debt (medical bills and other issues) to fix our credit.
[Not that we have lousy credit on our own, but we both have the kind of parents who ran up our credit then surprised us with it when we became adults.]
Maybe someday we will be able to afford our own home, but for now we are making every cent count and working towards a bright new future! I never set out to be an extreme couponer (and I really don’t think I am all that extreme) but I must say, it feels Darn Good to have those bills paid off, and all thanks to using coupons!
1. Make a plan and a budget ~ then stick to them. Strictly. No matter what.
3. Only buy what you need, and only when you have a coupon. The whole stockpile thing can wait until you are out from under your debt.
3. Take the money you would have spent and stick it in a savings account. Then you are truly saving the money! Use it to pay your bills. Only your bills.
4. As a family, decide what you can give up to save some money. We do not have cable T.V. or a land-line phone. This helped with with our debt, too.
Once we have paid off our secondary debt, we may decide to get cable again...but more than likely, we will want to use that money to save up a down payment for a home. We have to decide what is a better investment with your money...entertainment now, or a home later?
My vote is on home. I barely even miss having cable.