It’s 2019 and people are serious about credit repair. Rising costs and soaring unemployment rates have forced many to take a hard look at how they spend in order to reduce debt. While the future may seem bleak, finding creative ways to enjoy everyday comforts can help soften the blow. Consider the alternatives to the following “luxury” items.
The average gym membership costs between $600-$800 per year; a hefty price tag for those trying to cut back. While sacrificing your fitness isn’t the answer, you can find ways to stay in shape without traditional fitness equipment. Consider moving your run to a local park and replacing the Stairmaster with real stairs in your home. If you can’t imagine life without a treadmill, research reliable at-home models. While the up-front cost may be steep, it is likely to have less impact than years of gym membership fees.
Yes, television is entertaining and perhaps even addictive. No, it is not a necessity. Basic cable can cost an excess of $40 each month, and that’s not including the bundled deals and bonus channels. Media companies are cashing in on consumers’ habitual TV watching by offering more channels and packages. The downside? Costs rise an average of five percent a year. Take advantage of low-cost sources of entertainment. Many major networks stream the latest episodes of their shows for free, and Hulu tends to carry older iterations. Netflix also offers a wide variety of shows and movies for around $8.00 a month.
Traveling to work is an obvious necessity, but spending too much to get there is not. Metropolitan residents are blessed with a variety of economical alternatives including the train and bus systems. If you live in a less populated area, consider carpooling to mitigate fuel costs. If neither of these options are plausible, do the bare minimum by examining your car’s fuel economy and reliability. Investing in a more practical model could save you hundreds each year.
Enjoying a night out is great every once in a while, but habitual foodies will spend way more than they should on food costs. Restaurants charge an average of three times the true value of their meals in order to cover their overhead: insurance, wait staff salaries, etc. Cooking at home will save you big bucks in no time. If you long for gourmet cuisine, why not learn how to make those dishes yourself? Take a class or borrow some cookbooks from your local library. Invite your friends over for a dinner party if you miss the atmosphere and company.
The Bottom Line
Cutting back doesn’t always mean suffering to save. There are plenty of ways to focus on your credit repair while spending responsibly. A healthy credit score is better achieved with money in the bank. Invest in your future by pinching a few pennies. It could make all the difference.