40 Ways to Reduce Debt and Gain Financial Freedom

Image Credit - Flickr / Jeff Belmonte

Image Credit – Flickr / Jeff Belmonte

By: Amanda Froelich,

True Activist.

Whether your dream is to linger in the salty crash of the oceans surrounded by the lively jungle or to gain financial freedom, only good can come from consolidating debts and re-purposing wasted money into a more beneficial use. With the national debt crisis at a record $16.805 trillion, learning to pinch one’s dollar should be an item of importance on everyone’s list.

With the following 40 ways, you’ll find it’s easier than ever to not only save your hard earned cash, but to store it away for future dreams and goals.

1. Consider installing a water meter

Tap water is happily taken for granted, and why not? Companies behind the bill make profit by the ceaseless flow of aqua into taps. However, when it doesn’t rain water costs go up, and the cost also increases. By keeping tabs on how much water your household uses, you can manage your budget much easier.

2. Make a shopping list

How often do you go into a store and start picking up 50% more than what you intended? There’s an actual science to selling more; supermarkets use eye-pleasing displays and colorful marketing schemes to get more in your cart..and that can cause financial strain. If you think ahead and march into shop with a grocery list in hand, you’re much less likely to pick up non-essential additions.

3. Consider own-brand goods

Store brand goods can be 25-50% less expensive than marked-up, well known labels. If you’re looking to shave money off your bill, consider using generic brands.

4. Reconsider designer brands

Is that clutch really worth it? Designer clothes may seem the rave, but how much of your paycheck is soiled on fashion? You can find beautiful clothing that will be worn more than once and most likely last longer at a variety of stores.

5. Sell clutter on E-bay

Do you have a lot of rarely used items that you’d like to get rid of? Sell them on Ebay! You never know who is looking for your old accounting book or a collector’s deck of cards.

6. Get savvy with coupons

Coupons can save quite a bundle if you apply their use in shopping. A great site to find coupons is www.coupons.com or keep in check with your local store’s deals, and you’ll easily save more money.

7. Use your talent to earn extra cash

If you seek to make extra money, use your talents a few times a week to make extra dough. You could give vocal lessons, teach tennis, or recycle your cans to further reduce your debt.

8. Don’t automatically renew travel insurance

Is your travel insurance about to expire but you don’t have a holiday get-away booked? DON’T renew the policy, handing money over to the eventuality which will never happen. You wouldn’t have car insurance if you didn’t have a car, so wait until your next trip before re-insuring.

9. Carpool to save on gas

It’s no secret gas prices continue to rise; if you can carpool, find a friend or fellow employee who doesn’t mind saving money and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.

10. Turn off the lights

Every time you walk out of a room, turn off the lights. Unplug your appliances when not in use, and turn off the TV when leaving the house or even if dozing at night. Your electricity bill will reduce and you’ll find the effects of being mindfully aware do your wallet good.

11. Shop at Thrift Stores

Not into designers but looking to save on your threads? Thrift stores can be wonder closets with ranging types of outfits available, some rarely or barely used. If you don’t mind contributing to a society with less debt and poverty, humble yourself to stumble through finds at the second hand store now and again.

12. Book early

As flights get filled up and near their departure date, the ticket also inevitably increases. Save yourself a bundle by booking months in advance.

13. Get healthy

With the US spending $220 billion on preventable health issues just in one year, it’s foresight to reduce your processed food and exorbitant meat and dairy consumption to safeguard your health. With less doctor’s visit, sick days, and dedication to exercise and eat right, you’ll not only gain happiness, but retain more money.

14. Book your own ‘holiday package’ online

It may seem convenient to buy all inclusive packages, but if you prefer to travel and save money, you could actually spend less by planning your own holiday tours, connections, and accommodations, especially with the accessibility of the internet.

15. Learn to say ‘no’

We live in a culture that worships instant gratification and quick-fixes…but the habit of purchasing anything that looks flashy or popular can be devastating to the bank account. Truly consider before buying anything, “Do I need this?”. Do you actually need that new pair of shoes when you have 10 in your closet…or could you say ‘no’ to the 200th toy your child is asking for?

16. Trade down your car

So you bought a new SUV that gets 15 mph. Now that everyone’s impressed, are you still sure you want to continue the ongoing expense of its upkeep? If not, trade it down. There are plenty of places to get knocked down vehicles that are still of worthy make and model and won’t cost a fortune in the long run.

17. Walk/Cycle to the station/work

Exercise does a good person good..and it’s free. Enough said?

18. Cut down your drinking

A glass of wine at night or a mocha cappuccino almost every day is a costly habit. Set limits and stick to them to save.

19. Save your loose change

Designate a jar or water jug to hold all loose change and ‘extras’ you come across in the couch cushions. You’ll be surprised at how little by little, it truly adds up.

20. Keep track of your spending

In a notebook or with a fancy new app, keep track of every transaction you make. If you’re an individual that finds they are somewhat absent minded with their spending, this can help curb your spending habits that are unnecessary.

21. Get a roommate

Have a big loft that another could help fill? Cut your rent in half by finding a trustworthy roommate, if it applies to you.

22. Pack up smoking

How much is this degenerating habit costing you? You may be emptying your bank with a practice that is killing you… and obviously its not a very cost effective or sustainable habit.

23. Cancel your gym membership

Do you use your gym membership? Or was it a New Year’s impulse to instill good habits? Regardless, you can save the monthly membership fee by choosing to walk/run outside, do Pilates on the grass, or buy an exercise video which will actually keep you moving in the comfort of your own home.

24. Use your library

Why buy a new book when you can check it out at the library? You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll save by choosing to indulge in good reads second hand style.

25. Eat in

Take out is not only unhealthy, it’s expensive. The notion that to cook in is ‘expensive’ has been fueled by laziness. Staples such as rice, beans, and bulk produce options mean it’s easier than ever to whip up a meal that serves four for much less than a McDonald’s or KFC run.

26. Go Vegetarian

Even a few days a week, you’ll be saving money on food costs by consuming more plant based fare. Meat is one of the most expensive additions to the dinner plate and is unnecessary for health, especially if you wish to save.

27. Groupon

Are you the type of person that loves a good outing, spa day, or fun date that costs much less? Groupon it up at www.groupon.com . You’ll come across affordable options to express your adventurous spirit and keep your bank account full, too.

28. Buy in bulk

Whether cans of food or bundles of toilet paper at Costco, you can save a lot especially in food costs by choosing to buy in bulk.

29. E-books

Found a book you can’t live without? Spend much less on the E-book version than paperback and keep it with you on all devices.

30. Upgrade to first class if you have a lot of luggage

Surprisingly, if you have a lot of luggage and are traveling, you can save by upgrading to First Class, which usually allows a 70 lb luggage + 3 free bags, depending on the airline you book with. Win win.

31. Buy clothes and presents on sale

Your love isn’t expressed any less in a less expensive gift for your loved one. If you’d like to gift someone or attain less expensive products yourself, try to choose items while they’re on sale, commonly after the holidays or on odd occasions with different stores.

32. Consider the Christmas lottery

It can be expensive buying presents for every family member during the holidays…so contemplate setting up a Christmas lottery with your family where everyone draws someone else’s name and treats just one person to a special gift. It’s a great idea to save money and share more time in the true gift of Christmas, each other.

33. Increase your Odds

Lottery ticket addict? You have better chances of saving your money by limiting your splurging on lottery tickets to once a week or a month.

34. Claim your benefits and tax credits

Surprisingly, there’s a grand sum of money that every year is not collected by individuals, money which could pay off old debt and not just recycle back into the system. It’s your money, claim it.

35. Turn the Television off

How much do you pay for the 1,000+ package of television shows you rarely use? With free streaming of shows with Hulu or Netflix and less expensive bundle options, you can reduce your time in front of the TV and the amount you pour into the silver God by reconsidering your options.

36. Take up a money-saving habit

Hobbies not only open your mind up to new experiences, they also take up your time – important if you would rather spend your hard earned money shopping or drinking it away at the bar. Painting, Fishing, Knitting, etc.. can provide beautiful reward for little cost. Think about it.

37. Avoid Extended Warranties

Electrical goods are more reliant than ever. If your new radio won’t last three years, perhaps you shouldn’t buy it in the first place. Do you really need the hassle of claiming repairs for a $15 toaster? Obviously embark with more caution regarding more precious equipment, such as laptops.

38. Shop online

The internet is gradually taking over. You can even shop for groceries online, so if you fall trap to discount snares in the store or just wish to cut down on your expenses overall, you can compare rates online and find the right purchase for you.

39. Use your own herbs

Grow your own herbs in the kitchen (which may inspire you to cook more at home) and you’ll save unexpected amounts. Any produce you can grow at home is a great investment in reducing your grocery fees.

40. Repair vs Buying New

Sometimes it’s cheaper to repair a part than to buy ‘new’. If it can be repaired, consider how much you’ll save over just scrapping the whole thing and starting again. It’s a much more sustainable habit as well.

Before you know it, you’ll be happily satisfied with your account and feeling the bliss of financial freedom. Engage your extra change how you wish, or invest it in a more sustainable future for yourself and grand-kids.

Any money-saving tips, feel free to add in the comments!

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