Shortly after we got married I created this paper chain. While it’s bright colors (my favorite) it doesn’t represent anything fun for us. Instead it represented our debt: college and grad school loans and the remaining payments on our car. We worked hard our first year of marriage and took off over 30 of those chains last year. At the start of 2013, we still had 42 chains left plus this big audacious goal of destroying this chain one link at a time by fall of this year!
- In January, we were able to put a large chunk into loan payments beyond our minimum because we had baby in December. Since we had to have a scheduled c-section for our sweet, but stubborn breech baby we asked for a surgery date of December 29th and our doctor agreed. This allowed the surgery, birth, and full hospital stay to happen in 2012 when Robert’s insurance covered every expense. Seriously, we got a bill saying that out of our $11,926.21 hospital bill, we were responsible for $0.00. And that didn’t even include the doctors’ bills which were also written off under the 2012 insurance.
Now that 2013 is here our insurance has now moved to a Health Savings Account and doesn’t cover quite as much. But our breech baby saved us a lot of money. Best part is, we had saved up our whole pregnancy assuming he would come naturally in January since his due date was January 5th and most first babies come later rather than earlier. Since we didn’t have to pay anything for his birth we were able to put a big chunk of change from baby savings into loans while still saving a good baby fund for purchases that came up for baby (this was one of our favorite purchases so far).
- In February, our savings plan for the month was to eat out of our pantry and freezer, which we had stocked up before baby’s birth so we had easy to grab and prep meals! We also cut our cash budget in half, taking out only half of what we usually take since implementing our cash envelope system last summer. In the end, we only bought eggs, milk, produce, and $50 of groceries total in the month and stayed within half of our cash budget. Plus, we got a nice tax refund so all that plus what we saved went into loans and now our car is paid off and soon will be signed over to us!
So now by early March, we’ve already paid off over $11,000 and destroyed 11 more rings. Just 30 to go by Fall, Lord willing.
There’s a lot of hard work ahead. Some more ideas we have to save/make more money for loans are:
- I opened an online editing, review, and writing business! http://www.martincorrespondence.com/ I already have some interested parties and also sent out emails with big asks. I hope to make at least one big ask every week for now to either get some great business or keep working to kill any fear of rejections I may have-it’s better to ask and get a no than to not ask at all.
- Not buy anything unnecessary for a month. Essentially, make ourselves wait a month to see if we really want to buy that item at all.
- Declutter our house for cleanliness and to prepare for a garage sale. We had a great garage sale two summers ago and hope to have another this year. Best part was we also got items to sell from friends who have overfull garages and just wanted less stuff. We came and picked up their stuff, clearing their space for them and then were able to sell their items and keep the profit. Win-Win for everyone!
- Sign up for focus groups, studies, etc via Facebook. These often pay $50-100 and every dollar counts.
- Hold off on needs like clothes, major home improvements, etc until we’re debt free. This will help us keep our cash budgets low by not spending all or at least much of our personal or home improvement or miscellaneous cash budgets.
- Make homemade gifts if at all possible or keep gift costs low if something can’t be made. I bought a $10 gift for a friend today which was the lowest priced gift I have bought in years, but I made sure it was still a great item and should be well received.
- Robert is working to create some apps and even if they don’t bring money he is learning skills that could make extra income one day.
- This month we’re working to eat more whole foods which if done wisely can save money over eating out or buying fully processed, prepared, and more expensive meals. Plus, it’s a lot healthier way to go! Meal planning helps a lot here too in keeping costs low.
- Combining errands so we can save gas.
- Staying in constant communication and working as a team to kill these debts and burn the last final chains!
What ideas do you have for either saving more money or making more money?