A 12-Month Series by Guest Blogger Julia Wessels, from The Frugal Find
One of the #1 ways to save money is to become debt-free. I know that isn't a common way of thinking for most Americans, but I believe it's 100% doable. I'm speaking mainly of consumer debt, student loans, car loans, etc. I understand that in most areas of the country dropping a few hundred thousand dollars to buy a house outright isn't feasible. If, however, you'd like to pay down debt, you may want to follow my new series over on The Frugal Find called Debt Free in 52.
Here are just a few tips that will help you to dump debt this year...
Can it be MADE from scratch for less?
Paying retail is already out of the question for those of you who are dumping debt, but even with coupons there are some household necessities that can be made cheaper from basic ingredients. I wanted to revisit the various posts we’ve written in the past about DIY household products and Cooking from Scratch recipes such as…
1. Homemade Dog Food Recipe
2. Frugal DIY: Turn Your Magazines into Christmas Bows!
3. Homemade PB&J and Grilled Cheese Uncrustables
4. Homemade Liquid Fabric Softener
5. Homemade Granola Bars
6. Freezer ‘BRC’ Beans, Rice, and Cheese Burritos
7. Homemade All Purpose Cleaner
8. Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
9. Homemade Laundry Detergent
10. Homemade Strawberry Jam
As you can see many of the things we buy can be made for just pennies on the dollar, especially when you find a deal on your ingredients at Grocery Outlet!
Can you FIX it yourself?
Chances are there is something in your life that needs to be fixed, tangibly speaking. I could start a pretty good list myself from the back hatch of our Sequoia that doesn’t open any longer, the 2 small holes in our walls, the small tear on our couch, and on and on. I’m sure several things will quickly come to mind for you as well. When you’re on a budget and paying down debt the last thing you want to do is hire out help for things you could do yourself. I say this within reason—if your husband is working 10+ hour days making a decent wage and the lawn needs to be mowed, paying a local teenager $10 every couple of weeks to get the job done can be a worthy investment.
However, there are very likely tasks that you’ve been putting off for one reason or another. Maybe it’s too technical for you, such as a computer issue or a check engine light in your car? YouTube, Google, and your neighbors are a good place to start when you haven’t a clue where to begin. It’s very likely someone, somewhere, has had the same issue you’re having. In most situations, labor is the most costly expense there is: parts are minimal and elbow grease is free. So the next time you have a broken this or that, consider repairing it yourself – you might find it wasn’t all you thought it would be.
Here’s what I have learned from just doing it ourselves:
1. It’s never as hard as we imagined.
2. It’s never quite as time consuming as we thought.
3. It’s never as costly as we expected.
4. The gratification that comes from a job done with our own hands – priceless!