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Frugal Friday: Getting Out of Debt By Reducing Expenses

Posted By Jessica Fisher On September 11, 2009 @ 3:29 am In Budget Living,Frugal Friday | 21 Comments


The last couple weeks I’ve shared bits and pieces of what FishPapa and I did to get out of debt. If you missed the first few parts, you can start at the beginning [4].

Once we stopped using credit cards [4] and started listening to Dave Ramsey’s free podcast [5], we got into the habit of writing a new budget [6] at the start of every month. My husband was self-employed; I was a stay-at-home mom with a very small work-at-home income; and we had five young children to care for. We saw that we had to drastically reduce our expenses if we were going to make ends meet without relying on a credit card to fill the gap. So, that summer, we got serious about our spending and cut costs wherever possible.

Find Money by Spending Less
Here are the main areas where we “found” some money by spending less.

Telephone: Like most, we looked at caller ID and call waiting as necessities we couldn’t live without. T’isn’t so, my friend. We cut beaucoup bucks off our phone bill by doing several things.

  • We eliminated all those extra services. No caller ID, no call waiting, no voice mail. {Gasp.} And it’s really okay. We bought an answering machine for $12 and screened calls that way instead of using caller ID.
  • We cut our services all the way back to basic which is about $30 a month. No more long distance. Since we already had cell phones for my husband’s business, we didn’t need long distance on our land line.
  • We kept our cell phone plan at its 500 minute level and simply learned to make our calls at times that were “free.” Was it inconvenient? A little. Did I talk to my mom or sisters as much as I wanted? No. But, with email and free weekends, it has been fine. Plus, the extra $80 in our pockets was totally worth it.


Food: Beans [8] and rice, rice [9] and beans, baby. It may not sound super exciting, but it’s cheap eats. We ate that meal in its various forms (burritos [10], tostadas [11], taco bowls [12]) quite often. My kids really looked forward to the 1 or 2 nights a week that I served meat. But, everyone was healthy and I lost so much weight, I fit back into my wedding dress by the end of that summer!

For the first year of debt-fighting, I haphazardly used coupons, but then I discovered the world of online deals blogs and started to change the way I shopped. Shopping with coupons and stockpiling [13] has reduced our expenses down to $600/month for a family of 8, eating on an extravagant level. (When things were really tight, we squeaked by on about $400/month.)

Entertainment: Again, we cut back to the bare minimum. Once we realized that we were living the high life on someone else’s money and that dinners out were going to cost us more in the long run, we stopped doing anything “extra” that cost money. At-home date nights [14] became a regular feature in our lives. If we had a date night out, it was thanks to friends providing free babysitting and a Buy One Get One Free coupon at the local hamburger joint. Cheap dates [15] are easier than you think.

We didn’t deprive our family of all fun and games. We just focused on the experience, rather than the expense. Books and movies are free at the library [16]. We busted out our board games. An evening picnic at the park didn’t cost us a cent. There are all sorts of free family fun activities [17] to do. You just need to be creative.

This wasn’t all we did to get out of debt, but these are three simple areas where most families can cut some fat in the budget.

Part 6: Increase Your Income [18]

What do you do to reduce expenses? We’d love to hear it!
In the interest of exchanging good ideas, please do not post affiliate links, giveaways or deal posts. Instead tell us what you do to stretch your dollars a little farther. Share concepts and ideas that have helped you grow in saving money and being a better steward of your resources.

Write about your money saving tip on your blog and bring the permalink to that post here. Please make sure that you link to www.LifeasMOM.com in your post.

If you don’t have a blog, tell us your bright idea in the comments. Can’t wait to learn some new tricks!

1. Lynn’s Kit Adv (frugal dessert) [19]
2. Screaming Pennies (Homemade Snacks!) [20]
3. Lenetta @ Nettacow (Make Your Own Reusable Swiffer Duster Refill) [21]
4. Corrie @ “Cents”able Momma (Investing) [22]
5. ElizabethG (Frugal Veggie Recipe) [23]
6. HoosierHomemade(Breakfast Prep) [24]
7. The Happy Housewife ~ Does Frugal = Poor? [25]
8. Abbi @ Proverbs 31 Living (old drawers=new book shelf) [26]
9. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog (Make Your Own Foaming Hand Soap) [27]
10. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog (Reusable Art Mat) [28]
11. Kara @ Home…With Purpose (Cute, Frugal Notebooks) [29]
12. Mel @ Heart Prints (Homemade Jellies & Jams) [30]
13. Under the big oak tree (leftover baked potatoes) [31]
14. Under the big oak tree (Lea & Perrins coupon link) first post [31]
15. Good (&Cheap) Eats – uses for dried bread) [32]
16. Kitchen Stewardship (Camping Pancakes from scratch) [33]
17. Kate @ Stolen Moments (creamy caesar chicken pasta bake) [34]
18. Angie @ Many Little Blessings (Easy Bread and Butter Pickles) [35]
19. Creative2xmom (2 easy household tips) [36]
20. Alea @ Premeditated Leftovers (reusing tea bags) [37]
21. Frugal wahm (jobs for the stay at home) [38]
22. Saving and Giving (The Cost of Disorganization) [39]
23. Melissa @ Frugal Creativity (dinner “out” for less) [40]
24. Amy @ Finer Things (Enough!) [41]
25. Debbie J @Homemaking Dreams (Yard Sales) [42]
26. Simple Bliss (Frugal, Natural, Homemade Deodorant) [43]
27. Molly Green @ Econobusters (Freebies) [44]
28. Shannon (why B12 matters) [45]
29. Will Travel by Foot (Decoupage – Refurbishing on a Budget [46]
30. The Diaper Diaries (cut back on cable with Hulu) [47]
31. Not the Jet Set… Saving Money in the Kitchen [48]
32. Cents to Get Debt Free [49]
33. Newlyweds (Homemade Playdough) [50]
34. Sara @ Learning the Frugal Life(Plan for the Unexpected) [51]
35. Buffie @ Never Quite Perfect (Need vs Want) [52]
36. Coupon Saving Game (Cheap Eyeglasses!) [53]
37. Christian Frugal Mama (Pinecone Research) [54]
38. Autumn @ Practical Bliss (about beans & rice) [55]
39. Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles (photo collages) [56]
40. Always Save Manufacturer Warranties and Guarantees [57]
41. angie @ annies home -save money on childrens clothes [58]
42. Amy Green @ SS&GF (Chocolate Walnut Flourless Brownies) [59]
43. Michele (Remember September 11, 2001) [60]
44. Save on the cost of a home phone [61]
45. Adele@ Simple Life Musings (No Spend Month Week One) [62]
46. Jennie @ A Welcoming Heart (Fruity Rainbow Tablescape) [63]
47. Swappin’ Spoons – 1,000 ways to Save Money – Part 7 [64]
48. Jennie @ A Welcoming Heart (Apple Wreath Redo) [65]
49. UnfinishedMom (Teach Frugal Living) [66]
50. Amy-Cutting Coupons in KC (Homemade Liquid Fabric Softener) [67]
51. Janel (Product Guarantees) [68]
52. Melissa @ Mom’s Plans (Check Your Receipts!) [69]
53. Moms Frugal (using Goodwill to pay for Goodwill) [70]
54. Diann @ The Thrifty Groove (Thrifty Autumn Decor) [71]
55. Pamm @ Leftovers On Purpose (Potatoes Finale) [72]
56. story (carpet cleaning [73]
57. Prudent and Practical (Tofu Stir-Fry) [74]
58. Trixie (Green Beans into Dry Beans!) [75]
59. Niki (Digital Pics Without a Digital Camera) [76]
60. Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker (toddler clothing basics) [77]
61. Mother Hen (Homemade Frap.) [78]

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets [79].

Article printed from Life As Mom: http://lifeasmom.com

URL to article: http://lifeasmom.com/2009/09/frugal-friday-getting-out-of-debt-by.html

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[3] Image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_89L9ZoBsR08/SpWLMhog3yI/AAAAAAAAGA4/VraG6JrhuME/s1600-h/frugalfriday.png

[4] start at the beginning: http://www.blogger.com/www.lifeasmom.com/2009/08/frugal-friday-where-do-you-start-when.html

[5] listening to Dave Ramsey’s free podcast: http://www.blogger.com/www.lifeasmom.com/2009/08/frugal-friday-when-in-debt-let-dave.html

[6] writing a new budget: http://www.lifeasmom.com/2009/09/frugal-friday-get-out-of-debt-with.html

[7] Image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_89L9ZoBsR08/SkWxB6nHmxI/AAAAAAAAFWg/qTY4kYyqLGo/s1600-h/Blog+580.jpg

[8] Beans: http://www.goodcheapeats.com/2009/04/homemade-pintos.html

[9] rice: http://www.lifeasmom.com/2009/04/ultimate-recipe-swap-mexican-food.html

[10] burritos: http://www.goodcheapeats.com/2009/05/chimichangas.html

[11] tostadas: http://www.goodcheapeats.com/2009/04/simple-bean-tostadas.html

[12] taco bowls: http://www.blogger.com/www.goodcheapeats.com/2009/06/good-cheap-eat-beans-and-rice.html

[13] Shopping with coupons and stockpiling: http://www.goodcheapeats.com/2009/06/save-money-with-coupons.html

[14] At-home date nights: http://www.lifeasmom.com/2009/02/reclaim-romance-at-home-date-night.html

[15] Cheap dates: http://www.lifeasmom.com/2008/10/remembering-romance-cheap-date-night.html

[16] free at the library: http://www.lifeasmom.com/2009/03/family-fun-visit-your-library.html

[17] free family fun activities: http://www.couponcravings.com/2009/06/guest-post-6-almost-free-family-fun.html

[18] Part 6: Increase Your Income: http://www.lifeasmom.com/2009/09/frugal-friday-get-out-of-debt-by.html

[19] Lynn’s Kit Adv (frugal dessert): http://www.lynnskitchenadventures.com/2009/09/baked-custard.html

[20] Screaming Pennies (Homemade Snacks!): http://screamingpennies.com/2009/09/10/frugal-friday-homemade-snacks/

[21] Lenetta @ Nettacow (Make Your Own Reusable Swiffer Duster Refill): http://nettacow.blogspot.com/2009/09/make-your-own-reusable-swiffer-duster.html

[22] Corrie @ “Cents”able Momma (Investing): http://www.centsablemomma.com/2009/09/posts-2.html

[23] ElizabethG (Frugal Veggie Recipe): http://amoderngal.com/2009/09/10/frugal-summer-veggies-romaine-lettuce/

[24] HoosierHomemade(Breakfast Prep): http://hoosierhomemade.com/breakfast-prep/

[25] The Happy Housewife ~ Does Frugal = Poor?: http://thehappyhousewife.com/frugal-was-a-way-of-life/

[26] Abbi @ Proverbs 31 Living (old drawers=new book shelf): http://proverbs31living.blogspot.com/2009/09/old-dresser-drawers-new-bookshelf.html

[27] Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog (Make Your Own Foaming Hand Soap): http://www.frugalfamilyfunblog.com/2009/09/make-your-own-foaming-hand-soap.html

[28] Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog (Reusable Art Mat): http://www.frugalfamilyfunblog.com/2009/09/rainy-day-fun-reusable-art-mat.html

[29] Kara @ Home…With Purpose (Cute, Frugal Notebooks) : http://homewithpurpose.blogspot.com/2009/09/frugal-school-supplies-our-own-designer.html

[30] Mel @ Heart Prints (Homemade Jellies & Jams): http://missmalu30.blogspot.com/2009/09/frugal-friday-homemade-jellies-jams.html

[31] Under the big oak tree (leftover baked potatoes): http://under-the-big-oak-tree.blogspot.com/2009/09/frugal-friday-lea-perrins-coupon-link.html

[32] Good (&Cheap) Eats – uses for dried bread): http://www.goodcheapeats.com/2009/04/7-uses-for-dry-bread.html

[33] Kitchen Stewardship (Camping Pancakes from scratch): http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/09/08/recipe-connection-soaked-100-whole-grain-pancakes-camping-variation/

[34] Kate @ Stolen Moments (creamy caesar chicken pasta bake): http://stolenmomentscooking.com/creamy-caesar-chicken-pasta-bake/

[35] Angie @ Many Little Blessings (Easy Bread and Butter Pickles): http://www.manylittleblessings.net/2009/09/delicious-bread-and-butter-pickle.html

[36] Creative2xmom (2 easy household tips): http://creative2xmom.blogspot.com/2009/09/frugal-friday_10.html

[37] Alea @ Premeditated Leftovers (reusing tea bags): http://premeditatedleftovers.blogspot.com/2009/09/reusing-tea-bags.html

[38] Frugal wahm (jobs for the stay at home) : http://wahjobs.blogspot.com/2009/09/work-at-home-telecommuting-job-leads_08.html

[39] Saving and Giving (The Cost of Disorganization): http://savingandgiving.blogspot.com/2009/09/frugal-friday-cost-of-disorganization.html

[40] Melissa @ Frugal Creativity (dinner “out” for less): http://www.frugalcreativity.com/2009/09/restaurant-savings-bring-it-home.html

[41] Amy @ Finer Things (Enough!): http://amysfinerthings.com/enough

[42] Debbie J @Homemaking Dreams (Yard Sales): http://homemakingdreams.blogspot.com/2009/09/yard-sale-finds-and-tip.html

[43] Simple Bliss (Frugal, Natural, Homemade Deodorant): http://vanessa.hoozh.net/2009/09/11/kinda-krunchy-deodorant-and-lotion/

[44] Molly Green @ Econobusters (Freebies): http://www.econobusters.com/?p=2496

[45] Shannon (why B12 matters): http://www.nourishingdays.com/?p=2142

[46] Will Travel by Foot (Decoupage – Refurbishing on a Budget: http://www.willtravelbyfoot.com/2009/08/decoupage-refurbishing-on-budget.html

[47] The Diaper Diaries (cut back on cable with Hulu): http://thediaperdiaries.net/frugal-friday-hulu/

[48] Not the Jet Set… Saving Money in the Kitchen: http://www.notthejetset.net/2008/09/saving-money-in-kitchen.html

[49] Cents to Get Debt Free: http://www.gettingfreedom.net/2009/09/recipe-southwest-burger.html

[50] Newlyweds (Homemade Playdough): http://newlyweds.wordpress.com/2009/09/11/playdough-fun/

[51] Sara @ Learning the Frugal Life(Plan for the Unexpected): http://learningthefrugallife.blogspot.com/2009/09/plan-for-unexpected.html

[52] Buffie @ Never Quite Perfect (Need vs Want): http://neverquiteperfect.wordpress.com/2009/09/11/need-vs-want/

[53] Coupon Saving Game (Cheap Eyeglasses!): http://www.couponsavinggame.com/2009/09/money-saving-tip-eyeglasses-for-cheap.html

[54] Christian Frugal Mama (Pinecone Research): http://christianfrugalmama.blogspot.com/2009/09/pinecone-research.html

[55] Autumn @ Practical Bliss (about beans & rice): http://practicalbliss.blogspot.com/2009/09/favorite-cheap-eats-beans-and-rice.html

[56] Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles (photo collages): http://parentingthetiniestofmiracles.blogspot.com/2009/09/photo-collages.html

[57] Always Save Manufacturer Warranties and Guarantees: http://thriftywaysandideas.blogspot.com/2009/09/thrifty-tip-always-save-manufacturers.html

[58] angie @ annies home -save money on childrens clothes: http://shopannies.blogspot.com/2009/09/gap-outlet.html

[59] Amy Green @ SS&GF (Chocolate Walnut Flourless Brownies): http://www.simplysugarandglutenfree.com/chocolate-walnut-flourless-brownies/

[60] Michele (Remember September 11, 2001): http://savingmoneyirl.blogspot.com/2009/09/remember-september-11-2001.html

[61] Save on the cost of a home phone: http://my-extraordinary-life.blogspot.com/2009/09/solution-to-home-phone-number.html

[62] Adele@ Simple Life Musings (No Spend Month Week One): http://simplelifemusings.blogspot.com/2009/09/frugal-friday-tips-from-cheapskate.html

[63] Jennie @ A Welcoming Heart (Fruity Rainbow Tablescape): http://awelcomingheart.blogspot.com/2009/09/fruity-rainbow-tablescape.html

[64] Swappin’ Spoons – 1,000 ways to Save Money – Part 7: http://swappinspoons.blogspot.com/2009/09/1000-ways-to-save-money-part-7.html

[65] Jennie @ A Welcoming Heart (Apple Wreath Redo): http://awelcomingheart.blogspot.com/2009/09/apple-wreath-redo.html

[66] UnfinishedMom (Teach Frugal Living): http://unfinishedmom.blogspot.com/2009/09/two-birds-with-one-stone.html

[67] Amy-Cutting Coupons in KC (Homemade Liquid Fabric Softener): http://cuttingcouponsinkc.blogspot.com/2009/09/homemade-liquid-fabric-softener.html

[68] Janel (Product Guarantees): http://jandbpiersma.blogspot.com/2009/09/frugal-friday-product-guarantees.html

[69] Melissa @ Mom’s Plans (Check Your Receipts!): http://momsplans.blogspot.com/2009/09/do-you-check-your-receipts.html

[70] Moms Frugal (using Goodwill to pay for Goodwill): http://momsfrugal.blogspot.com/2009/09/frugal-trip-to-goodwill.html

[71] Diann @ The Thrifty Groove (Thrifty Autumn Decor): http://thethriftygroove.blogspot.com/2009/09/little-autumn-decorating-thrifty-style.html

[72] Pamm @ Leftovers On Purpose (Potatoes Finale): http://leftoversonpurpose.blogspot.com/2009/09/ten-pounds-of-potatoes-part-3-finale.html

[73] story (carpet cleaning: http://storiedmoney.blogspot.com/2009/09/frugal-friday-carpet-cleaning.html

[74] Prudent and Practical (Tofu Stir-Fry): http://www.prudentandpractical.com/give-tofu-a-second-chance-with-stir-fry/

[75] Trixie (Green Beans into Dry Beans!): http://farmhomelife.blogspot.com/2009/09/green-beans-can-be-dried-beans-too.html

[76] Niki (Digital Pics Without a Digital Camera): http://free2befrugal.blogspot.com/2009/09/frugal-fridaydigital-photos-without.html

[77] Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker (toddler clothing basics): http://www.thesteeds.net/?p=1267

[78] Mother Hen (Homemade Frap.): http://shipfullofpirates.com/2009/09/11/shes-a-good-friend/

[79] Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets: http://www.blenza.com/linkies/

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