I hate spending money…. no thats not true I enjoy spending money, I just don’t like to spend a lot of money all at once… unless I am getting a TON of awesome stuff ๐Ÿ™‚

We never have lived a very extravagant lifestyle, but around December we decided to get REALLY serious about getting rid of some of our debt. We sold our house in Wisconsin (which is a whole post or 10 in and of itself) so we no longer had housing debt, but we did have a credit card and some student loans looming over our head. ย The first priority was the credit card, we haven’t used it in I don’t know how long… but we were still paying for it. Highly annoying. ย So we decided to do a major whack job on our budget and get rid of it.

Somehow we found enough stuff to cut (and God blessing us with a car accident that left a little money after we purchased a replacement vehicle) that we were able to knock out 2000.00 in debt in about 2 mos. Even with that debt gone, we continued to live on our tighter budget… and you know what? We are kinda enjoying it ๐Ÿ™‚ So how did what does it look like?

Once our bills are paid (we use our checking account/debit card for all of that) We have a set amount that goes into cash envelopes (I will talk more about those later) and that is our “spending money” for the whole month. I will tell you that my total monthly spending is probably what an average family of our size would spend in one month on groceries alone. So here is how we did it (do it)

1st things first – cut out non essentials.

For us this meant one of the things that went was cable (and Sat) TV. Instead of spending a truly insane amount on a bunch of channels you barely watch we spend about 10$ a month on NetFlix. ย Netflix isn’t just movies though, they also have great TV show seasons and you can stream online so you don’t even have to wait for the next disk to come in the mail. Additionally for those shows you believe you really can’t live without (LOST anyone?) most shows you can stream from the networks.

Added benefit- my schedule doesn’t get dictated by what is on TV. I can do things on a Tuesday night without having to make sure I am home. ย Wed becomes LOST night, or if we are really busy that week, maybe Saturday morning is when we catch up on a favorite show. AND I don’t have to pay the extra for TiVo ๐Ÿ™‚

But Stacy, surely there is something that you miss from TV… I have to admit, I do miss watching Fox News. ย (Yes I am a nerd) But mainly during election season. So every 2 years. Worth it to cut it. We also cant’ watch sports live at home. ย 1. Basketball… we don’t really follow. 2. Baseball (my fave) Tom Hamilton calls a REALLY good baseball game. 3. Football. NFL one day a week and College one other day a week. If there is a game we feel we just can’t miss… well we may or may not choose to visit one of our parents during those times ๐Ÿ˜›

So long land-line… Ok probably most of you have already made this cut, but if not its something to think about. We never used it. We have wireless internet (so don’t need phone line for that) and why do you need a land line when you can have a cell phone ๐Ÿ™‚

We cut some stuff out of our grocery budget as well. ย So long Potato chips (I do get them if they are on MEGA sale… (I’m talking buy one get one) Say hello to air popped pop corn ๐Ÿ™‚ you can get an air popper for under 20$ I think. (about 5-6 bags of chips) and 2lb of pop corn kernels at Wal-Mart for $1.50.That will make a lot of snacks ๐Ÿ™‚

We also cut out (for the most part) pop. If at the end of the month I have money left over, we get the off brand cans from Wal-Mart. (Note: some off brands are really bad, so you might have to play around a bit. And while the cans per oz are more expensive than 2liters, they do help control the portions so it lasts longer)

I have to give Jason MAJOR kudos for both of these items, because he really does love both pop and potato chips. But he has been content with popcorn and the occasional carbonated drink. I really appreciate it!!!!

Added benefit – healthier ๐Ÿ™‚

I also don’t buy many pre-packaged convenience foods. If we want Mac N Cheese. I make it … from scratch. Not much added time if any, and it tastes a million times better than even Kraft. If we want buns for sandwiches… I make those too. That does take a little extra work (night before I spend 5 min mixing up dough, then about a combined 10 min of prep the next day) But Jason will tell you, my homemade bread is really pretty good.

I bet if you looked really looked at what you are spending on different convenience things every month, you would see more than a few things you could do without. I dare you to try it for 1 month. I bet you probably survive.

We don’t eat out as much. This one admittedly has been tougher, since we enjoy eating out. But trust me we still survive, and I have learned (am learning) how to try and make some yummy meals at home. Including making my own egg rolls ๐Ÿ™‚ something like under 15$ gives me 30 egg rolls. Which is a lot cheaper than buying them. And… Jason liked them better than restaurant egg rolls ๐Ÿ™‚

There is probably other stuff we cut out, but I can’t remember what they are. Which just goes to show how much we really “needed” it anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰

Steps 2 and 3 coming soon to a post near you…

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