Many of us with chronic illnesses have had to either cut back hours at work or completely give up our careers altogether. In doing so, I have had to learn how to really budget our money. It has been hard for me because I like to spend money, always have. I never used to shop on clearance or anything, never really paid too much attention to the price of things. If I saw something I wanted, I would just buy it. If I had to put it on my credit card it was no big deal because I knew I could pay it off in a month or two. Not so anymore, and it hasn’t been like that for the past few years, especially since I quit my great paying job to do Mary Kay full-time (big mistake, I know!). Please read on to find out ways that I have learned to budget and cut out extra expenses.
Sit down with your spouse, to through all of your bills and decide what things you can live without, or at least cut back on.
- If you have both home phone and cell phones, decide if you can do without one or the other. Or if you and your spouse both have cell phones, can one of you drop yours?
- I took the long distance off of our home phone since our cell phone plan covers nationwide long distance. This alone saves us a great deal a month.
- We also reduced our minutes plan on our cell phones. We decided to keep our cell phones due to both of us having poor health. It wouldn’t be wise for us to be out anywhere without the security of a cell phone to call for help.
- Shop around to see where you can get the best rate, or drop Internet service altogether.
- If you have DSL or cable service, try switching back to dial-up. Yes, it is slower but cheaper!
- I have just basic cable, no extras. If you have the extra channels, DVR, etc. decide if you really need these things.
- Try to become more aware of conserving energy in your home to reduce your electric bill. Try these things:
- Washing all your clothes in cold water and making sure you wash full loads and not several partial loads during the week.
- Turn off the TV, radio, computers, any lights if you are not in those rooms or using them at the time.
- Get your children involved in activities that do not use electricity. Read stories instead of watching TV, etc.
- Check sale flyers for grocery stores and use coupons. But only use coupons for things that you would normally buy. Otherwise you are not saving any money!
- Go to bent and dent stores. We started doing this and we are saving a ton on groceries! I love it!
- Avoid eating out or cut back on eating at restaurants. A lot of people eat out several times a week and this really adds up! If you are too tired or sick to cook, use a crockpot. That’s how I make a lot of meals and it is very simple.
- Consolidate any and all high interest rate to a 0%/or low rate credit card. If you have a line of credit with a good interest rate, you can consolidate on there and your interest will be tax deductible.
- Do not use your credit card unless you know that you can pay it off when the bill arrives. Start purchasing on a cash only basis.
- I have started shopping using the clearance racks, and when items are on sale that I need.
- You can also shop at Goodwill, Salvation Army, consignment shops, and yard sales. You can pick up a lot of nice items at any of these places.
- If you don’t need it, don’t buy it!