Well since I’ve been reading a bunch of personal finance blogs lately I’ve been encountering a fair amount of entries dedicated exclusively to frugality. Personally I’m not a very frugal person, I have no problem spending money on things that I like and that I want as long as I can afford it. But with that said I’m pretty far in debt and I have an investment goal that I want to achieve. To achieve this goal of mine I’m going to need some money to invest in the opportunities that I see and for that I need to get rid of most of my debt.
In an effort to accomplish this I’ve been trying to save money by cutting back on a few things, for example I’ve been brown bagging it to work. Has this been successful? Well to a point I still like to get away from the desk from time to time but I’m only eating out once maybe twice a week at worst. This is a definite improvement over eating out every day. The cost savings alone become staggering if you start adding the numbers. Even at $10/day saved gives me between $30-$50 per week or roughly $120-$200 per month that I’ve saved that I can put towards debt. Unfortunately my initial budgeting was a bit optimistic and with the brown bagging I’m getting closer to realistic numbers.
Another thing that I’ve been doing to save money is cut back on the entertainment. By this I’m primarily thinking about dinners out or going to the bar with some friends. Along with those this also includes the amount of alcohol that we drink. This number is definitely one that could be scaled back to save some money. In a stressful work environment with long commutes a couple glasses of wine after dinner is definitely high up there on my list of things to do. But cutting back on this has already meant I’m not struggling from pay to pay and if I cut it back a bit more I should be able to increase the amount of money going to debt by probably close to $200 per month.
Finally in my Want vs Need post I mentioned the distinction between the wants and needs in life. I’ve been actively stopping myself from buying things because they are not items that I really need. I don’t have a exact number on this because most of the purchases were never budgeted for and are almost always impulse buys. I think between these three things alone I might be able to put an extra $300-$400 against debt which would definitely be a good start, maybe more. I just wanted to share a few things that I’ve been doing. If anyone has any ideas please feel free to share them.