35 Ways To Kick Start Your Debt Snowball

by RC on July 28, 2008

Once you make the decision to get serious about your debt reduction, finding additional money to use to reduce debt can be difficult. We get used to our lifestyles, and changes to it are hard to make and stick with. But making small changes can add up, significantly. If you make 10 changes that save you $10/month, you now have $100/mo. to add to your debt snowball. Here are some ways to give your debt snowball a boost. No debt? Use these to boost your savings as well.

1. Change tax withholdings- Did you get a large tax refund last year? Start using that money now to achieve your deb t reduction goal by changing your withholdings.

2. Drop the morning latte- OK, so coffee gets picked on all the time. But by making your own instead of paying $4-5 every day, the savings can add up quick.

3. Eliminate sodas/soft drinks-Especially from vending machines- Just like brewing your own coffee, you can bring your own soft drinks at a fraction of the price of a vending machine.

4. Quit smoking- No explanation necessary here- quitting smoking is good for you and can save you money.

5. Change cell phone plan- Do you use all of your minutes every month? If not, sonsider using a lower priced plan with less minutes.

6. Change cable TV plan- Do you have more channels than you ever watch? Consider downgrading your package.

7. Change home phone plan- or eliminate it- I’ve been seriously considering this one, but right now
I have my internet connection through my phone service as well. The VOIP options in my area are limited, but I am looking in to it.

8. Carpool- Cutting your weekly commute down to a couple of times a week can save big $$ on your weekly gas bill.

9. Bundle cable, phone, and cell phone packages- Another thing I am looking into, you can probably get a better price by using the same provider for all of these services.

10. Brown bag it- Bringing your own lunch, even if it is not every day, can probably save you $5 or more each time you bring it.

11. Make your house more energy efficient- A few hours and some caulk and weatherstripping can save on your energy bills for months and months to come.

12. Garage Sale- A garage sale can be a great way to raise some extra cash, especially with bigger items that aren’t easy to ship if you sell them on the internet.

13. Sell things on eBay- Got books, dvd’s or collections just taking up space? Dump them for extra cash.

14. Get a part time job- Get a weekend or part-time job to increase your income.

15. Use Netflix instead of going to the video store- You can save money on movie rentals and gas.

16. Cut your own grass/do your own yard work- You can save a bundle here, especially during the summer when the grass needs to be cut every week.

17. Cut out the dry cleaning/Do your own ironing- This is one I got out of doing, and need to start doing again. Buying wrinkle-free clothes can help here too.

18. Shop thrift stores & garage sales- You can find great bargains on clothes, household items, furniture, etc.

19. Take care of your things- Take care of your possessions, and they will last a lot longer, which means lower replacement costs.

20. Use the library- Got a book habit? Use the library-also a great place to brush up on personal finance topics.

21. Look for free entertainment/activities- Scour the paper and other sources for free activities for you and your family. Plan activities in advance.

22. Open a high interest savings account- such as ING Direct, to earn interest from your savings.

23. Look for hidden recurring fees you can eliminate- Still paying for long distance at home when your cell phone plan gives it to you for free? Eliminate it.

24. Buy generic- Give generics a try, you probably won’t notice the difference, and can save money too.

25. Go vegetarian- A few times a week, that is. Meatless meals can be great, and cost less.

26. Use fans- Your a/c uses a lot of electricity, using ceiling or box fans can keep you cool during the hot summer and give your air conditioning a break.

27. Lower your hot water heater- You probably only use hot water a few times a day. Is your hot water heater on a high temperature setting? Lower it.

28. Raise your car insurance deductible- Do you really need full coverage, or a $250 deductible? If you have your emergency fund and can cover it, consider at least raising your deductible.

29. Ditch the gym membership- Start jogging, biking, etc. Try the hundred push ups challenge.

30. Go out for lunch instead of dinner- Instead of going out for dinner on a friday night with your spouse, try a lunch date on a Saturday or Sunday to take advantage of the lower prices at lunch time available at most restaurants.

31. Shop sales and shop for deals- Plan your purchases so you can keep an eye out for sales. We are often limited when we have to buy something at the spur of the moment.

32. Use coupons- Coupons can work, and save you money on a regular basis if you use them correctly and don’t buy things you don’t need.

33. Drive more efficiently- Paying attention to your driving habits, and where and how often you drive, can save you money on gas.

34. Plan your meals ahead of time- Take a look at what is on sale this week, and plan your meals around sale items such as meat, chicken, etc.

35. Cut back on socializing- You don’t have to stop all together, but cutting back on social activities, such as grabbing drinks after work, etc., can save you a few extra bucks a week.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe @ Simple Debt-Free Finance July 28, 2008 at 11:59 am

YES!

This is a great list. I followed many of these myself when I finally decided enough was enough and I needed to make some serious changes in my life:

http://simpledebtfreefinance.com/my-financial-tipping-point/

I’ve seen a lot of people follow this list to cut expenses and then just take those savings and buy more stuff they don’t need, only to find themselves back where they started 18 months later. Thankfully, I’ve been able to maintain my savings with the use of automatic deposits of all the money I “found” by cutting many of the expenses on this list.

Great post!

Reply

RC July 28, 2008 at 10:11 pm

Joe- Thanks !

Good article by the way- congrats on your success thus far. You are right, it only makes a difference if you don’t spend it!

Reply

Another Joe August 1, 2008 at 7:48 am

[Quote]
7. Change home phone plan- or eliminate it- I’ve been seriously considering this one, but right now
I have my internet connection through my phone service as well. The VOIP options in my area are limited, but I am looking in to it.
[/Quote\
Not sure if that worked but…..
If you have DSL through AT&T you can actually lose the “land line” and keep the DSL service. It is something they don’t advertise, but can save you a few bucks on your bill.

Reply

RC August 2, 2008 at 7:36 am

Another Joe- Thanks for the info! AT&T recently bought out the phone company down here, so I am going to have to check that out.

Reply

tiffanie August 4, 2008 at 11:28 pm

great comprehensive list! i follow many of these myself :) I love the snowball effect.

Reply

RC August 5, 2008 at 6:23 am

Tiffanie- Thanks! There’s a few on here I need to try as well (phone line) .

Reply

ISA savings October 15, 2008 at 8:13 am

As iterated in my previous comment, you have a really nice way of putting your key points across to the stage that it can’t be ignored. I stopped buying latte at work and bought myself a flask with home made latte. I will ping this post on my blog

Thanks RC

Reply

Kimmy B. December 10, 2008 at 1:49 am

This is a great post! There are a lot of things that I hadn’t even considered. I’ve decreased the minutes on my cell phone. I generally try to use my home phone as much as possible to avoid going over my limit.
I’m following you on twitter :)

Kimmy B. “The Prosperity Blogger”
http://www.prosperityblogger.wordpress.com

Reply

RC December 10, 2008 at 7:26 am

@Kimmy- Thanks- Sounds like a good idea since cell phone companies charge pretty high rates when you go over.
I am following you now too!

Reply

Surviving A Recession January 9, 2009 at 11:52 am

This is a really good list. Until you start taking some of these steps you don’t realize how much money is wasted every month.

Reply

ISA savings January 16, 2009 at 6:53 am

Thanks for the comment left on my blog.

Reply

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