Aside from budgeting what else did we do to get out of debt? Well, first let me just say that we wanted to get out of debt more than anything in the world! That is actually key….because when you want something so bad you will do pretty much anything to get there.
In our case not only did we budget but here are some practical things we did:
* Dave Ramsey says that when you’re in debt and broke you should not see the inside of a restaurant unless you’re working there. Well, as you probably know Luis and I are no slim figure human beings….we like to eat! So avoiding restaurants all together was HARD! So what we actually did was buy Groupons, order water instead of soft drinks or teas (you can easily save $7-$10 for two people here!). This was actually a great habit that stuck with me even when I could afford to buy tea J. Whenever possible buy a meal that can be shared or you can have some leftovers. That being said our budget for dining out was about $100 a month (for the two of us). We have yet to visit a fancy steak house for our anniversary!
* We went to the dollar movies. We fought the urge to see a movie when it just came out….instead, I kept a notepad listing all the movies that were coming out and we wanted to go see. Then we would wait for them to come to the dollar (really $1.50-$2) movies. We would eat before heading there to avoid the temptation to buy the million dollar bag of saturated fat….I mean butter popcorn. Because once you buy the $30 bag of popcorn….you have to buy the $20 soda to go with it in case you start chocking mid-way through the movie.
* When we needed clothes or wanted to buy clothes we would only shop off clearance racks! And by clearance I don’t mean 30% off…. I mean 75% off and more! If you go to my closet 80% of the stuff was bought off the clearance rack….that may explain to you why my colors are always a season behind.
This is me celebrating my bargain of the year! $44 outfit priced down to $4
* We found fun things to do that either required very little money or no money at all. Like the dollar movies….going to the mall (now we both have self-control and have learned to not be impulse buyers but if you don’t trust yourself just don’t take your wallet with you….I doubt the stores will trade you a pair of jeans for a blood or plasma!).
* I would say the most important exercise you can do is practice saying “no”. We learn this word as kids and have no problem saying it but for some reason it gets eradicated from our vocabulary as we get older and this can create a big mess! I know it sucks to turn down invitations all the time but trust me….when you meet your goal it will all be worth it! You can also get very creative…one time a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to meet her for lunch at the Plaza (which has a food court). I wanted to see my girl so I agreed but I told her I would be bringing my own lunch and I did! She went to corner bakery and I brought my homemade (actually my mother in law made it for us) chili….all I asked my friend was to bring me some crackers and a spoon.
* On Christmas we didn’t spurge money on each other….we actually got each other stuff we needed most of the time and a nice “want” gift. In fact, even now that we have Gracie we still didn’t go crazy last Christmas…we just bought her three toys that we had wanted to buy her since early on. Not only does she not need 100 million toys….we want to start setting a precedent that although it is nice to get gifts on Christmas…that is not the reason for the season and we want our children to know that. I don’t want them to be that person that throws a fit because her husband gave her perfume one Christmas when she had clearly stated “give me anything EXCEPT perfume”. I may or may not be this person.
* You know how hard it is to have a ridiculously gorgeous baby girl and not buy her every outfit out there? Yes! Super hard! But….same principle has applied to her….most outfits we have bought Gracie were either on sale (remember 75% or more) or used outfits from local facebook swap pages. I also go on Zulily and add a million things on my cart and just let them sit there till they are no longer available….this kinda satisfies my urge to shop for cute clothes. When I was reading Smart Money Smart Kids there is a chapter where Rachel talks about watching her mom buy stuff only from the sale rack and growing up thinking that was the norm….and thinking how weird it was that people bought stuff for full retail price….that’s what I want Gracie to see!
Anyway…. we did more stuff but bottom line is these are things we did during our journey to get out of debt but honestly they have now become a lifestyle for us and we are so excited to lead our Gracie and any future children this way.