Make no mistake. No one, if given a choice, would want to be laden with debts. But sometimes extraordinary circumstances put us waist-deep into debt and radical measures need to be taken in order to stay above water. Either you compromise your lifestyle or sacrifice your luxuries, or get ready for your creditors to send lawyers to repossess everything you own. After which, your wife will leave you and demand a substantial alimony. Here are some genuine ways you can squeeze dollars out from your current lifestyle.
Reduce housing costs by relocating. You can either downgrade from a big house to a smaller one, or move from an upmarket rental apartment to a cheaper one. If you really have to, consider the last resort by moving in rent-free with you siblings or your parents.
Conserve energy. Given that utility charges are going up all the time due to the costs of energy, you can actually accumulate huge savings by conserving energy. Set your heater to a couple degrees lower in winter and your air-conditioner a couple degrees higher in summer. Pay attention to using electricity, water and gas. These things can quickly eat up your monthly budget if left unattended to.
Get the basics instead of luxuries. Do you really need all the channels on cable when all you watch is CNN and HBO? Downsize your subscription. And is a high speed internet connection really necessary just because you have optic fibre. Many people associate branded goods as high quality while that is not always the case. For things that only serve a basic function, paying for premium bragging rights is unnecessary. For example, there is really no need to get an upmarket fan when all you need is for it to blow. And there is no need for a designer cabinet when there are replicas available that serves the same function. Stay away from luxuries, at least for the time being while you ride out the financial storm.
Get everyone involved. You cannot go about your frugal lifestyle alone. All your hard work can come to nothing if the rest of your family members do not realize the predicament you are in and continues to live a lavish lifestyle at your expense. Call a family meeting to explain your rationale and demand their support without going overboard. Warning! If you play this card wrong, you could be the receiver of a backlash from unhappy members.
Reduce the number of cars to one. Public transport is everywhere these days. There are surely places where a self-owned vehicle is absolutely necessary to get to. But if you are living in the city, there is no excuse to insist on owning more than one car.
Moonlight. You might see it as embarrassing to get a second job. But if you need to, you simply have to do it. Because it will be even more humbling when your friends realize that your house was foreclosed. Also, a lot of second jobs actually pay very well. If you have the determination to get out of a bad financial situation, a commitment to a few months of a night job can easily help you out in more ways than one.
Tone down your vice. The average person spends a huge amount of money each month on alcohol and cigarettes. Jack Daniels can make you feel like the man in the billboards, but you might need to tone it down a notch or two until your financial health recovers for the better. The same can be said with cigarettes, even caffeine. These are things that we think are the simple pleasures in life that cannot be compromised. Tell that to your wife who is scrutinizing your expenses every night.
Eat for nutrition. It will be too extreme to suggest that you stop eating. That is not possible. But it is not a lot to ask that you stop dining at fancy restaurants and eating luxurious cuisines. Get your daily dose of proteins and carbohydrates by monitoring the contents of the things you eat. Your three objectives of this exercise is to fulfil your hunger, get the required nutrients your body needs, at a low cost.
Reduce the costs of entertainment. You do not need to visit the opera when you can watch similar performances on Youtube. You do not need to rent an old movie when you can watch it for free at the central library. You do not need to go to the stadium when you can watch the game on television. There are a hundred and one entertainment activities that does not have to be so costly. Make an effort to identify less costly alternatives and use them diligently.
Pay off expensive debt with savings. Nobody will fault you for keeping an emergency fund that you will absolutely not touch under any normal circumstances. But if a credit card is charging you 24% interest for outstanding balances, it makes sense to access your emergency funds to pay that off first. Weigh up these options and make a decision you are comfortable with.
Sell what you do not need. The beauty of the internet is that it allows everyone an easy way to gain wide exposure. Go through all your extra stuff in your house or kept in the basement. Put up everything you don’t deem as essential for sale. eBay is a great place to list your household items for sale. You could just find someone who values something that has been sitting in your garage for years a hundred times more than you do.