Sunday, June 19, 2011

Finding Extra Money to Put Toward Debt

Paying down debt now is really important to my husband and me.  We have a mortgage, two financed cars, two student loans, and 2 credit card balances, plus a store card balance (but we're only paying $40 a month on it, and it will be paid off in November, before the no interest period ends in December).  That's just way too much debt for me!  So we're working on getting rid of it.

One thing we've really struggled with is trying to find more money to put toward the debt.  Everyone suggests you cut out things you don't need, drop your cell phone minutes down, cancel cable, etc.  We already have the lowest number of cell minutes, and can't give it up totally because my husband's an EMT and on call a lot.  Our cable only costs $3 more than what our internet would be without it, and I need internet for my job.

So we've looked at other things, like refinancing (which worked well for our Uplander), changing our insurance, and the biggest thing is changing how we spend money.  We live out in the middle of nowhere in rural North Dakota, so changing the company for our utilities, internet, etc wasn't an option, although I'm sure that could work well for some.

One of the ways that we've changed how we spend money, was a gamble to me.  And it goes against everything that most experts say, since they say to avoid credit cards for any reason.  I gave my husband a credit card with a decent cash back percentage, and told him to only use it for gas.  He drives a lot of miles every week (250-300 on a slow week) so goes through a lot of gas.  Normally when he gets paid, I set aside money first thing for his gas, depending on what his schedule looks like.  Now instead, I just pay off the previous month's gas all at once, so it hasn't really made much difference in our cash flow that way, but I did discover that I was usually planning about $25-50 extra each month for gas (just in case), and that money disappeared and we spent it on something else.  This way, I pay for all of our gas at once, so I already know how much we used, and the extra that I was budgeting for it, goes directly to our highest interest debt.  And because I pay all the gas purchases off each month, I don't have to pay any interest, plus I get cash back.  It's working for us!

No comments:

Vacation Countdown Ticker