Get Rid of Some "Extras"
The key to financial freedom is building wealth. The key to building wealth is eliminating all your extra bills so you have money to save. The average consumer's credit report carries quite a burden from these bills as well. Let's start with what hurts the most. Eliminate any habits you currently have. Most habits cost money and if it's a habit it can't be healthy for you in the long run anyway. Smoking, drinking, candy, coffee, collecting junk, etc. You will be surprised how much cash you pocket if you just quit 1 or 2 of the above (if any apply of course). By giving up a habit you are not only saving money and maybe even your health, but you are also gaining self-discipline helping you mature financially.
Food: Dine In or Carry Out
Let's look at the two separately AND together. If you eat out once a week, even at $25 you are spending $100 a month. Pretty simple math. Let's say you get carry-out (drive-thru) 3 times a week at $5 per visit. This equals $60 a month. These figures are below average, but even so, this is $160 in 1 month that could be used to eliminate some smelly debt. Pack a lunch for work. Try cooking at home. It's a fraction of the cost, it tastes better than "fast food" and it is usually healthier. If you can't eliminate eating out then try cutting it in half for starters.
Grocery List (or lack thereof)
Many consumers head to the grocery store with no plan or list. BIG mistake. This is what grocery stores are designed for. Go ahead, walk down each aisle and tempt yourself with row after row, shelf after shelf of junk food, extra stuff that you don't need. A list could save you 50% alone - that much more to wipe out those irritating loan payments. A grocery list serves two purposes. It saves you quite a bit of money which you notice immediately. Secondly, it allows you to be more prepared for the upcoming week, month or however often you shop. You can make out a daily meal plan ahead of time so you know exactly what you need to purchase and approximately how much cash you will need.
Sell Some Stuff
Everyone has stuff lying around collecting dust. Remember the saying "One man's trash is another man's treasure."? You could probably knock out a couple of stagnate bills with some of those collectibles sitting in a box in the closet. You would be surprised to know that an object you have absolutely no interest in could sell on an auction site and pay off that hospital bill that's been chasing you around like a mad hornet.
Cash, Cash, Cash
Only buy with cash. Plastic looks the same when you spend it. Dollar bills disappear and you will feel the impact when you start to get a shortage of it. Start a cash envelope system - at least one for gas, food and clothing. Like any new system, it will take a few times before you get the right amount in the envelopes. You will start to notice a large impact on your budget though and will find it worth while. If you buy something with cash you don't owe on it. You might think a little longer about it too when you hold on to that $100 bill. If you apply the various techniques and ideas in this article you will start to knock chunks off your overall debt. This will get you closer to achieving financial freedom and your credit report will begin the long awaited healing process. Start today!