If you’re looking to speed up debt repayment, using an everything’s negotiable mindset can help. You see, getting out of debt basically requires three things. You have to:
- quit borrowing money
- stick with your debt payoff plan (which really means getting back on the wagon if you fall off)
- and sometimes say no to some stuff that you might otherwise have said yes to
It’s that last bit we’re going to focus on here, for those who really want to speed things up.
Because while saying no really only has to mean saying no to new debt, it can go a whole lot further if you like.
Make debt repayment go faster by cutting back
While making extra money is also a great way to speed things up, we’re going to be talking about cutting back on expenses in this article.
Sometimes, it can be fun to be frugal if everyone is into it. (And if you aren’t cutting back because you have no other choice.)
So if your goal is to get out of debt fast, looking at your situation with an everything’s negotiable mindset could be just the ticket.
It starts with the idea that all expenses are up for grabs.
And I do mean every single thing you are spending money on right now. When you look at it from this angle, it’s easier to find things you might not otherwise have seen.
What can you cut out when everything seems important?
When you first look at your expenses to see where you can cut back, it’s common to look at each item and think, “Well, but I can’t cut that because ______.” Or “well but that would only save me a little bit.”
It may feel like it’s not even worth it to cut something out when it’s only going to save you $10-$150 bucks. That doesn’t seem like much money to add to your debt snowball.
But the thing is, every little bit helps.
And sometimes, you can find things to cut or change that will make a huge difference. All without impacting your life nearly as much as you thought it might.
But that’s only IF you’re willing to keep an open mind.
The “everything’s negotiable” mindset
When you look for things to change about your lifestyle, start with the idea that literally everything is up for grabs.
Then instead of ruling things out, rule things in. But only after you’ve either given going without them a good try OR determined that they are truly important to you.
In other words, don’t rule out a possible change until you’ve completely figured out how you COULD make it work, if you really had to. This can open you up to options you might not otherwise consider.
How to get started right now
Most of us start with a list of our expenses and sit down to figure out which items we could cut out, or which items we could pay less for.
With the everything’s negotiable mindset, you do the reverse. Here’s how to start.
Right now, without looking at your expenses, make a list of the things you enjoy or use on a regular basis that you spend money on. Ideally, you would both use and enjoy them.
This list will probably be kind of short, because we all have busy lives.
Next, look at those items carefully.
See if you’d be willing to give doing without them out a try for a while. If you really want to keep them, make a note to see if you can find a way to pay less for them. It doesn’t have to be an either or kind of thing.
For example, we really love traveling (ok, so that’s mostly me). I wasn’t willing to give up traveling entirely. But we agreed to take fewer trips and spend less money on them than we otherwise would have.
So we still took trips, but we spent less while we were paying off our mortgage.
Maybe you have something similar in your life. Once you’ve done this part, move on to the next step.
Phase two of the negotiations
Once you’ve analyzed all of the expenses on that list, take a look at your actual expenses and compare them with your list.
Everything you left off while you were making your original list? They go on the chopping block, at least temporarily.
The idea is that if you couldn’t even remember what they were, chances are they’re not that important to you. You’re probably not really benefiting from them anyway.
So see what it’s like without them. Put them on vacation hold or cancel. You might even find that you enjoy life MORE without them.
Pay careful attention to your larger expenses
Pay careful attention to your larger expenses when deciding where to cut. Chances are, making cuts there could really boost your debt repayment.
For example, housing is the biggest expense for most people. So how can you pay less for that? Brainstorm ideas, and don’t throw any of them out.
Here are just a few ways you might cut back on housing costs:
- Could you become an AirBnB host? (Here’s my referral link if you’re interested in that.)
- Get a roommate? Or two?
- Rent out a room for storage, or your garage for extra parking?
- Move somewhere less expensive, even outside the area?
- Move and start house hacking?
Try out the one(s) you like most, or hate least. The good news about life is that it can change.
The same goes for transportation costs. Maybe you could sell your car and use public transit or drive a beater temporarily. Or maybe go down to one car if you’re a two car family. Carpool with someone at your job and have them pay for gas. Or just keep enough air in your tires so you get better gas mileage.
Keep going, and make it a bit of a game
Go through your whole list, and find ways to save. If you’re in a relationship, make sure your partner is on board and coming up with ideas too.
Maybe you could even make it a bit of a game. While you may not want to save on every item, knowing you could do so is a good thing!
By the end, you will have cut back on mindless spending and things you don’t care about.
You can put the money you had just been spending to work on debt repayment instead. When everything’s negotiable, you may find it goes a whole lot faster.