Debt Crash Diet: Spend Less

Shaunta Alburger

In the book Your Money or Your Life, author Joe Dominguez makes the point that money is really an exchange for your life force. Every dime spent, represents the time and energy you spent earning it. So, being good stewards of our money really means being good stewards of all of our resources.


When I prepared bankruptcies for a living, I was constantly surprised at the amount of money people throw at their cars. My clients were sitting in my living room discussing their impending bankruptcies. And for many, their biggest concern was holding on to their $600 a month SUV.

Occasionally, if a client seemed interested, I would mention that our entire ugly, elderly mini-van cost $600. This statement was universally met with blank stares, followed by an awkward silence.

The fact that I was dealing daily with people who would file bankruptcy before driving an old car is one reason why I stopped doing it.

Kevin will be working a full-time and a part-time job away from home during our Year of Extreme Frugality. I'm very aware of the sacrifice he's making, especially considering the amount of time he will miss with our baby daughter, Ruby.


I consider it my job to make sure that every penny we earn is well spent. We will be living on less than half of what we earn. That's a big change for a family that has been living on every penny we earn, plus some that we borrow from credit card companies.

If your goal is to live on one income when your debt crash diet is over, start doing that now and use the rest for debt repayment and savings. Sit down and figure out the very least that you can live on, and then vow to spend a year living on that much. Every other penny gets saved.

We were able to reduce our home phone, cell phone, cable television and internet services from nearly $500 a month to less than $200. We gave up cable all together. We're also giving up restaurants and movies in 2006.


What can you give up in the name of being debt-free and job-optional? Can you eek some extra money out of your food budget to use for paying down your car loan? Do you need high speed internet? Could you get by with one car for a year? Maybe move into an apartment until your debt is repaid?

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By Pat (Guest Post)
January 13, 20060 found this helpful

Congratulations on your debt reduction plan. Just a note that we don't have a cell phone and just live with a land line, internet, and 2 phone cards a year for long distance calls. Total cost is: phone 28.66, internet 21.95, and phone card 2.50 per month(2 cards at 30.00 per year). Total cost per month is $53.11. Even though we travel a fair amount, we have been able to get by using the phone cards to call home and avoid the monthly expenditures and roaming costs of a cellphone. Just a thought....Good luck with your financial endeavor. You're definetly on the right track!



Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 14, 20060 found this helpful

don't give up movies! The local library in my area has current movies, shows and classics on dvd and vhs. Give it a try, it's free, unless you don't return them in time

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By barbara (Guest Post)
January 14, 20060 found this helpful

Hey guys.. I just found your website! Wow! This fantastic.. a place where I feel at home. I am often called tightwad, miser, odd, mrs-ought-to- get- a -life, but you know what? I love what I do,no I am delighted with how I money manage.I save every cent I can, making do and living a minimalistic lifestyle,it makes life so much of a challenge, and FUN. Reckon I get more joy out of this that any spendthrift could.


Thanks for the website!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
February 20, 20060 found this helpful

I just found your website. My husband and I are just getting back on our feet after Kevinb being unemployed for 7 months. We want to make sure this time around we have some money saved in case this happens again but we don't know how to start--I'm glad I found your website!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

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Budget & Finance Debt ReductionJanuary 13, 2006
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