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Financial Changes You Can Make To Achieve Freedom From Debt

For many of us, the concept of achieving freedom from debt is often tied to thoughts of a restrictive and unfulfilling lifestyle. While there are certain financial boundaries you may need to give yourself to achieve a debt-free life, you are not required to restrict yourself to the point of misery. One of the keys to success is providing yourself with a healthy combination of gratification and moderation. Do not indulge in every desire you have; instead, give yourself motivation to reach your goals by gratifying your wants once you reach a certain benchmark in your debt-down-payment plan. You may be wondering where else in your finances you should be trimming down your spending. Three of the biggest expenses in many households are housing payments, groceries, and gas. Although these categories seem unchangeable, there are a handful of ways you can alter your lifestyle to bring down these bills while you are on the road to financial freedom.

Housing Bills
Arguably one of the biggest expenses for many is a mortgage or rent payment. If you are looking to lower that monthly expense, there are a few options you may want to consider.
  • For new homebuyers — With housing prices at record highs, homebuyers need to determine how much they are comfortable paying before they go shopping and include a cushion for maintenance and repairs or upgrades. Consider buying down the rate or making a down payment of at least 20% to avoid private mortgage insurance. If your credit score is not the greatest, you can also work to improve your score, so you can get a better rate.
  • For homeowners — Depending on the amount of time you have left in your current loan and your rate, it may be beneficial to consider refinancing if you have a high rate. This option can be helpful for homeowners looking to lower their monthly payments, which will in turn, provide additional monthly funds to put toward your budget.
  • For renters - Consider the possibility of a roommate. Although this option may not be a popular suggestion, it can significantly cut your monthly expenses. If having a roommate is not viable for you, consider switching apartments at your next lease. This move works two-fold in that you will be able to shop around and find a lower price for your next home while also qualifying for sign-on specials typically offered to new tenants. Often, complexes will offer you your first month of rent free if you sign on with a new apartment, which can allow you to use that month’s rent to pay off part of your debt.
Grocery Bills
Spending money at the grocery store has already created a strain on many of our wallets due to the constant rising prices caused by inflation. If you have yet to reevaluate your grocery store spending, this can be another area to focus on when making financial changes to achieve freedom from debt. Often, loyalty to more expensive brands can be the reason we are spending more than we’d like to on our weekly grocery trips. One of the best ways to keep your bill low is by switching to store brands. This can be more financially rewarding than you’d think, as that two-dollar difference will begin to add up with each product scanned at the register. Develop a necessity mindset in that you only buy what you would consider to be a household staple. Not only can this help you save money and reach your financial goals, but it can also eliminate food waste.

Gas Bills
If you’ve been to the gas pump recently, you know the drastic fiscal increase that has come along with filling your tank. While we may not be able to personally manipulate the price of gas, we can certainly dictate how quickly we run through a tank. For those who drive to and from work daily, see if you have a coworker who lives nearby that you would be comfortable carpooling with. Additionally, carpool with friends if you have plans on the weekends or consider an outing closer to home. Making these small adjustments can be a great way to slowly begin saving your way to financial freedom.