think big business
In the shower, preparing for my day, I was caught thinking about all the things I need to do, and how and in what order I should do them. I am not going to drive out to North Olmsted to drive back to run an errand only to find myself out that way again. Why drive past the post office on the way to said errands unless I drop off the package I need to mail. While I go run out on my merry way, why not see if I can sell some clothes at Plato’s closet. All these thoughts run through my head as I plan out a road map for today and what needs to be done. And then it hit me- this is how you get out of debt.
This is exactly how you get out of it. Once and for all.
Road map it. I did this, the first day I sat down with the guts to look at our debt, I mean really look at it. Not just minimum payments but total balances. Stomach the idea that we could be paying off our debts for the next 30 years. To really own it and internalize the debt that we had always hanging over our heads. To finally answer the question, “why don’t we have any money?”. That self-reflection and internalization was a bitch. A totally slutty bitch. She took all my money and I am going to sue her because I want it back. I want my money back. I want my life back. I want to be able to do the things I want to do, not the things that my debt allows me to do.No more ball and chain.
That mind set, to essentially maximize efficiency while reducing output, is exactly the mindset you need to be in to own your debt. To really get it. This is the philosophy of a lot of mega big businesses. Duh, I thought to myself. Duh. Maximize efficiency while reducing output. Maximize my budget, reduce my monetary output, and reap the rewards.
Now, for the maximizing my budget part. Some of these will make sense, some of them hopefully will be new to some of my few readers.
1. Don’t worry if your meal doesn’t make sense. I can hear mostly crickets chirping at this point in time since I lead with this, but hear me out. It is ok to have breakfast for dinner. It is ok to have cereal for lunch. It is ok to have salad and couscous. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t cook a gourmet meal complete with perfect side. It doesn’t even matter if you didn’t eat. Utilize what you already have in your pantry and in your cupboards. No sense in having three cans of kidney beans if you never plan on using them to compliment your omelet. Think outside the box.
2. CVS can be a girls best friend. Some of you think- well, it’s just another drug store. How can there be much more difference between them and Walgreens? I live in Lakewood, OH where there are more drug stores per capita then restaurants or residential dwellings. Let me tell you why. I just went there today to get mascara because I had an $8 off coupon. Eight freaking dollars. Exclusions? Don’t buy alcohol, giftcards, Rx, or money orders. Anything else in the store is free game. Combine with any other offer! Spend $10 on Revlon cosmetics (ex for today) get a $3 off coupon for next time.
So in reality, let’s do the math and see the savings. Say the next time I came in I only got 2 2 liters of pop, therefore getting us close to $3. So we aren’t using an example of applying that $3 to a bigger purchase. I picked up mascara and eye shadow and spent $6 of my own money. I got a $3 off coupon (which, like I said, I am using to buy pop in this hypothetical scenario, which should not make me have to spend my own hard earned money). So $6-$3 for my coupon. So I realistically got Revlon mascara and a 4 piece eye shadow for $3????! Talk about budget friendly! The lady signed me up for their beauty rewards. I spent $30 on makeup, shampoo, hoisery, lotion, nail polish, some vitamins, and a few misc categories and I get $5 off. For stuff I already spend money on. I mean, this is great! Use CVS to your advantage. They have a great customer retention model they created through coupons.
3. Plato’s closet. This has been a recent one. Now, you have to have either a huge closet and turn over many items or are still subject to shopping and buying things you might not need for you to see the true benefit here (cough, cough. :) )
The one by my house buys mens and womens so I am in luck. Our normal MO is to donate to Goodwill. I am not saying you should stop this- I am saying let some girl pick over them and offer you cash on the spot for stuff you were going to get $0 for anyway. I made $30 today on stuff my husband didn’t even know he had, and will certainly not miss. They pay higher dollar for clothes you might have with tags on (yeah, I know I know. So shoot me).
4. It doesn’t have to be on-brand, especially at the grocery. Get Giant Eagle brand cheese. Skip organic celery. Opt for their own brand lunch meat. Potato chips are just as bad whether they are Lays, Ruffles, or Kroger brand.
5. How much do you watch cable? If the answer is not a lot, opt for Hulu and the basic. We did. Saved us $30 a month for now. We might even cut down further and save $30 more. Evaluate the things you think that you “do”, like watch TV at night. Do you actually watch it? Or do you surf channels and settle on one for background while you read my blog? :) Do you use your TV for anything other than DVR? Hulu is the same price you pay for the DVR, but no bullshit.
6. You have to road map it. You absolutely have to sit down and sign into everything, gather your bills, and hash it out on paper. You need to see what your left over budget is each month and where it needs to go to climb out of the hole. You need to be scared by it and let that help you save yourself. It needs to be a constant burden- you did this to yourself, so you alone must get yourself out. You can do it.
You can do it. It can be done. We are doing it. It’s hard, so very hard. We have set backs daily. That is OK. Keep a clear path, be obsessed with the numbers, and fix it. Fix it so that later on you don’t really have to sacrifice.