The title of this post really should be "5 Things We Are Giving Up to Get out of Debt" since we're not out of debt yet, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. For the past two years, we have been throwing all our extra income at the student debt we have amassed. (I need to get permission with my husband before I share just how much debt we had, but let's just say that the amount could have bought us a house.)
Now, we are so close to being in the four digit debt amount that I can almost taste it, and I'm drooling. But, in the meantime, we are expecting our first child in about 6 weeks. In addition, we have one vehicle that may or may not make it through the winter. Finally, we have moved into a slightly bigger and more expensive apartment. Not to mention we're not exactly sure how to budget for diapers, baby stuff, and all the things that go with growing one's family by a person. Still, we are committed to saving on the luxuries that we formerly enjoyed in order to get out of debt faster. So, in no particular order, here are some things we have given up these past two years to help us achieve our goal of being debt-free in 2016:
1. Scented Candles-- Oh how I love Bath & Body Works scented candles (and just scented candles in general.) I light one of those bad boys up and all is right in the world, or at least in our little corner apartment of the world. But let's be honest, these are a luxury item. They aren't necessary for daily life; they have no return on investment; they had to go.
2. DVD's-- This is something Rob has given up since our Dave Ramsey lifestyle began two years ago. At first it was very difficult for him, and I know that some days it is still a challenge for him. However, he has been so gracious at giving up this small pleasure while we work on paying back Sallie Mae and her gang.
3. Beauty products-- I used to spend a decent amount on make-up, hair products, and hair cuts and colors. I have since gone down to getting my hair cut once every six months or so. I also use up all the shampoo / lotions / eye-liners / facial creams that I have. If I need to buy something, I buy it cheap at Target. No more Sephora beauty products for me. I even bought some eye-liner at the $1 store; I won't recommend it, but I still use it because that's life on a budget. When someone forgot their shampoo at our place, I used it up even though it probably wasn't the type of shampoo my hair needed.
4. Books-- I used to buy more books because I was living overseas and usually the only way to read a book was to buy it for my kindle or purchase it when I was home for the summer. Reading books is a great stress reliever for me, and I love sharing books with my friends too. However, I have significantly cut back on buying books with the exception of a few devotional books and two pregnancy related books (one which the library did not have.) If I do decide I "need" a book, I buy it used on Amazon, usually at half the price of what it would be normally.
5. Concerts, plays, & shows. Rob and I went to a few concerts when we were dating. It was great fun, and it was during one of those concerts that I knew I was falling in love with Rob. Those concerts are distant memories now, and we have not been to a show or live music event since we started our debt-free journey. I feel slightly jealous when I see people enjoying a Cold Play or Avett Brothers concert, but when every dollar counts, paying anywhere from $30 to $60 for each ticket seems superfluous. I'm sure that we'll have a chance to enjoy live shows again, and we could always take advantage of FREE shows and concerts that are happening around town.
These are some small sacrifices we are making to get out of debt. What are some things you've given up (or thought about giving up) to help you achieve your financial goal?