How to Deal With Credit Card Debt and Not Totally Ruin Your Life Forever

Often, when I’m watching a reality show or game show and they announce the grand prize, I find myself thinking (or saying aloud to my spouse), “Oh, wow. $10,000. That would pay off… some of our credit card debt… yay.” or “Daaaamn. $100,000! Babe, we would be able to pay off our credit cards and almost all our school loans with that!” Hashtag Real Life.

Here’s the thing about making not-great financial decisions: it happens. It happens to a lot of people. Sometimes you just make an impulsive decision. Sometimes you make a series of small impulsive decisions that rapidly spin out of control. Sometimes you have very little choice because something happens — a medical expense, a family emergency, unexpected unemployment. The reason isn’t important and we’re not here to point fingers. We’re here to talk about how to get out of debt or, if that feels too big right now, how to manage your existing credit card debt in such a way that it doesn’t keep you awake at night. Because neither you nor I are going to win the lottery tomorrow.

I’m not going to pretend this will be easy because it probably won’t be. And if you live close to your means, it is going to be pretty darn hard. I hate financial advice that is like, “Ride a bike and don’t eat fast food and it’s so easy! You’ll retire at 35!” Because many of those finance bloggers were bringing in six figure salaries before they “retired” or took frugality to such an extreme that it is near impossible for anyone to have the discipline for (especially if you work multiple jobs or are underemployed). So I’m going to suggest practical ways to deal with debt, not fairy tale scenarios. Because I believe you can do it. Let’s make a plan!

Where to Start

Kill your darlings. (image via Shutterstock)

Kill your darlings. (image via Shutterstock)

Stop Using Your Cards

Stop right now. Put them down. It has gone too far. Yes, you should try to use your credit cards occasionally to keep them active, but when the balance has ballooned out of control, you are better off not using them at all. Don’t close your cards. Closing your cards with a balance on them is not good for your credit score. I wouldn’t suggest closing your cards at all, actually, even the ones you have paid off. Just stop using them.

When I was curbing my credit card problem, I stopped carrying my cards in my wallet. I put them in a safe place where I couldn’t access them unless I was planning ahead of time to purchase something with them. You can also cut up your cards so they will no longer swipe. Or freeze your cards in a block of ice in a tupperware container. The goal is to take the credit card out of your pocket so you are forced to live within your means. If you run out of cash money before payday and you really want that new Lumberjanes issue, you’re going to have to just deal. But if you have a real emergency, you can get to the cards with a little effort.

Make a Budget

Now that you aren’t relying on your cards, you’re going to have to make a budget. Write down all your monthly expenses, including rent/mortgage, utilities, subscriptions, memberships, phone bills, student loan payments, credit card payments, other bills, groceries, gas and car maintenance, etc. Now look at how much income you have coming in each month. Look at the bills and expenses that you have to pay in order to live (rent, utilities, groceries, etc) first and make sure you have enough to cover the essential expenses. Now, look at the bills that you have to pay (student loans, credit cards, car loans, etc) and make sure you have enough to cover these bills. Now, look at the other things (cable bill, gym membership, magazine subscriptions, etc). How much do you have left?

If you still have money in your monthly income line after all that, you’re in great shape. This is good! Very good! You may be wondering how it is that you never have money if you have all this extra money in your budget. Chances are you spend it on little things that add up: a coffee here, a new shirt there, a dinner out, a few drinks with friends. It will be easier to see where you can cut if you write down what you spend in a checkbook or us an app that tracks your spending in different categories, so you can see exactly where your money is going. After researching where your money is going, decide on a reasonable budget for that kind of fun and optional stuff and commit to not going over budget. Some people take their “fun stuff” budget out in cash so they can only spend what they have in cash. Or use a budget and finance tracking app. When the money is gone, it’s gone! The rest is going to go to paying off your debt and it’ll be worth it in the long run!

If you find that you don’t have much money left after you pay all your bills, you should try to find some areas where you can cut back. What if you got Netflix or Hulu instead of cable? What if you worked out at home instead of the gym? What if you carpooled or took public transportation instead of driving? Made coffee at home instead of stopping at a cafe? See how much you can cut back on your expenses to create a little bit of discretionary cushion in your budget that can be put to debt payoff.

You may find that you don’t have enough money, even when you cut back to the bare essentials. If this is the case, you may need to make drastic changes to your life — find a cheaper place to live, negotiate with your lenders on payment plans, sell off some assets (like your car or other personal possessions) or make the drastic-but-sometimes-necessary decision to file for bankruptcy. I really hope this isn’t your situation, though if it is, you aren’t alone. Credit card debt is often the thing that pushes people into filing for bankruptcy. But this should be a last resort. See if any of these tips can help you get back on track before you make that decision.

Organize Your Credit Cards by APR and Balance

Look at all your credit card bills. Create a chart of them, including your APR on each card, total line of credit, and your current balance. You can do this yourself or use an app like Mint that pulls the info from your linked accounts. If you want to use it, I made y’all a copy of the very spreadsheet I use that you can download in Excel. It’s populated with fake numbers so you can visualize how to fill it out.

Now you should have the full picture in front of you: your expenses, your income, your budget, your credit card debts.

Debt Reduction Methods

"I can't believe I've paid off all my credit card debt! Now I just have $125k in student loans to deal with!" (image via Shutterstock)

“I can’t believe I’ve paid off all my credit card debt! Now I just have $125k in student loans to deal with!” (image via Shutterstock)

Plan for Accelerated Payments

You always want to pay more than the minimum payment on your cards, if you can. Pay as much as you can. Often, the minimum payment amount just barely covers the interest you were charged… and it will take years and years and years to pay off if you only make the minimum payment. The more you pay over the minimum, the more your principal balance goes down and the less interest you pay overall and the faster you get out of debt.

If you have more than one active card, you may want to be strategic about how you accelerate payments versus just throwing money at all your credit card bills. There are (at least) two methods to doing this and now that you have all your credit card info mapped out, you can pick according to what will work best for you.

Pay Lowest Balances First – the Snowball Method

It can be really motivating to pay off a card. And sometimes it makes sense to just pay off the cards with the lowest balances first. Why? Because it feels awesome to completely pay off a card. Also, once you have paid off a card, you can add the amount you were putting into paying off that card onto what you’re paying on the next card on your list. So let’s say you have two cards. Card One has a $25/month minimum payment and Card Two has a $100 minimum payment. You have to make both those payments each month. You have a $250 budget to put towards debt (on top of your minimum payments). Card One has the smallest balance, so you decide to pay that one first. You throw the extra $250 towards Card One each month on top of the minimum payment. Soon, you pay off Card One. Now you take the $275 ($250 debt payoff budget plus the $25 minimum you were paying already on Card One) and apply it to Card Two. Now you focus all your attention on Card Two, paying a total of $375/month ($275 plus the $100 minimum you were already paying on Card Two) until it is paid off. And when you pay off Card Two, you roll the $375 into your next debt payment goal. As you knock out debts, the amount you can put to your total debt keeps growing and growing until you are out of debt! This method lets you celebrate more victories along the way because you pay off your smallest debts first.

Pay Highest APR First – the Avalanche Method

If you want to pay the lowest amount of money overall, start by paying off the card with the highest APR first. Why? Because you will pay off less interest overall. You can use the same method for knocking out debt as above, but focus first on the card with the highest APR. When you have paid off that card, roll the amount you were paying into your payment for the next highest APR card. And so one and so forth.

You may choose to use a combination of these methods, depending on what works best for you. If you have two or more cards with significantly high balances, I’d suggest starting with the one with the higher APR. If you also have a card or two with a very low balance, it might make sense to knock those out regardless of APR rate before you start addressing the high balance cards—just so you have fewer bills to pay and more money to work with.

Ask for a Lower APR Rate

If you have been making on-time payments for a while and have decent credit history, you can call the bank issuing your card and ask for a lower APR. Or a promotional APR. It doesn’t hurt to ask!

Request a Balance Transfer

Transferring your high APR balances to a card with a lower APR might be a good idea. It is not a solution to your debt issues, overall, and should be approached with caution. If you have a card that is paid off (has a $0 balance), see if they have any balance transfer promos by logging into your account online or calling customer service. You can also open a new card, which often come with 0% APR balance transfer promotions. But just be careful. Doing this over and over is not a good idea. This should be a short-term fix to help you consolidate debt or get out of a high APR while you really target your debt payment plan. At the end of the balance transfer promo, a standard APR will come into effect. You want to be able to pay off your debt before the standard APR goes into effect. If you can’t, you may want to think carefully about how often you are willing to transfer your balances between cards. Even with a 0% APR promotion, you will typically have to pay a balance transfer fee each time you transfer of 3-5%. Balance transfers can be a good tool to save money, but shouldn’t be used as a crutch for avoiding getting out of debt permanently.

Apply for a Consolidation Loan

Like balance transfers, a consolidation loan can help you save money and streamline your life by putting all your credit card debt into one big pile. A consolidation loan issuer will take on your current debts at one APR rate under one loan. This is great to simplify your bills into one payment. It’s not always the best move, though, and may end up costing you more money if you aren’t careful. Also, be hypervigilant about credit counseling scams that might try to sell you a consolidation loan that might not be in your best interest. As student loan debt balloons, more and more debt consolidation scams are popping up targeting folks who are overwhelmed by debt.

Find More Money

This is easier said than done, I know. It’s super effective if you can make it happen. You can make extra money by taking on side jobs in addition to your primary job, like moving lawns or running errands or babysitting or freelancing. Or find an hourly part-time job that works with your schedule like bartending or retail or working for a catering company on the weekends. You can sell your stuff on eBay and craigslist or hold a yard sale. If you are an artist or crafter, you can generate income by selling your work. You can search ads for focus groups and clinical trials in your area. You should also fully allocate any extra money that comes your way (gifts, tax returns, bonuses) to your debt. Personally, I have one full-time job and two side jobs that bring in extra money sporadically. All the money from my side jobs goes towards my debts, as well as a portion of my monthly budget and any unexpected influx that comes my way.

Debt Management Self Care

You will be like this stock photo of a woman holding a perfectly balanced money tree once you start dealing with your debt instead of hiding from it. (via Shutterstock)

You will be like this stock photo of a chill woman holding a perfectly balanced money tree once you start dealing with your debt instead of hiding from it. (via Shutterstock)

Reduce Temptation

Delete your credit card info from your online shopping accounts. Keep those cards out of your wallet, unless you have pre-planned to use them for some reason. Unsubscribe from shopping e-alerts from your favorite stores or at least set them to auto-archive into a folder so you won’t see them in your inbox anymore.

Reward Yourself

When you reach a financial goal, by all means reward yourself! Celebrate! Treat yourself to something nice! You deserve it, you financially savvy badass!

Don’t Set Unattainable Goals

Also, set your goals reasonably. Some people are able to live a very frugal life in order to pay off debt. I applaud them! Some people don’t have a choice and have to live frugally if they want to survive and that’s real life. Personally, I try not to overspend, but I also want to live my life. When I make big purchases, it is because I want to buy something that will last and I can. For example, our invincible Dyson vacuum cleaner we bought when our old one died. I don’t spend a lot on fancy food or new clothes, but I do spend a good amount of money on theatre. I really like theatre. It’s part of my activist self-care and it pays artists and it enriches my life and I can afford it while still making a dent in my credit card debt. I don’t regret it. For you, maybe you can give up eating out most days to save money, but you give yourself a pass for your favorite take-out place once per week. Or a big vacation trip that you save up for and can look forward to while you scrimp and save.

You need to figure out what things in your life you can afford and still be actively working on your debt, as well as how you most want to prioritize your spending. It may be that you have the dedication to go without any eating out or shopping or entertainment budget. Striking a balance that works for you is what is going to help you stick to your budget.

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KaeLyn is a 40-year-old hard femme bisexual dino mom. You can typically find her binge-watching TV, standing somewhere with a mic or a sign in her hand, over-caffeinating herself, or just generally doing too many things at once. She lives in Upstate NY with her spouse, a baby T. rex, a scaredy cat, an elderly betta fish, and two rascally rabbits. You can buy her debut book, Girls Resist! A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution if you want to, if you feel like it, if that's a thing that interests you or whatever.

KaeLyn has written 230 articles for us.


  1. This is awesome, thank you so so much for writing it!

    I had a lot of problems with bringing down my debt – I have a serious love for shopping so it’s always been hard for me. I’ve taken

  2. This is awesome, thank you so so much for writing it!

    A few things I’ve tried that I can highly recommend!

    Part time job – I work full time and didn’t really want something that was going to require me to work super late into the evenings. I started hosting live trivia – it’s a great way to make extra money and friends!! My company is always looking for people to host all around the country (it’s a smaller company and they’re always willing to expand). If you’re interested shoot me a message, and I can send you more info.

    I also use Digit, which I believe I read about here on AS. It’s incredible!!! If you suck at saving money, this will help you BIG time. If you wanna hear more, message me!

    Thanks again for the extra tips and the spreadsheet!

    • Thanks for sharing your experience and your tips!

      It’s a long, slow road. I’m still working on it, too. But it feels good once you feel in control of it vs. buried/overwhelmed by it, ya know?

      Live trivia hosting sounds really fun! Is it at, like bars and restaurants and stuff?

  3. I just have to put in a plug here for the budget software I use because it helped me pay off $3,000 in credit card debt and I love it so much! It’s called You Need A Budget- it does cost $60, which I know sounds like a lot for some budgeting software but believe me when I tell you that it will more than pay for itself in the long run. (And you can try it free for a month!)

    What YNAB does to help credit card debt is not necessarily telling you not to use credit cards (although that may be good in some situations!), but instead keeping track of your old debt vs. new debt that you will pay off immediately. That way you know how much old debt you’re chipping away at and you can budget toward that category while also paying off your current spending. There’s also an app that goes with it that makes it a lot easier to track spending- I’ve been using it for a year and it STILL boggles my mind how quickly my “spending money” disappears each month. So it helps with overspending on little things, which I was guilty of, big-time. Anyway it’s great and you should try it k bye!

    • Thanks! @alioh actually included You Need a Budget in that round-up of apps linked in the article above. Apparently the mobile version is free? I don’t know if is has all the features of the desktop version, but FYI for anyone considering it!

      It’s good to hear which apps people like to use in real life! I know YNAB and Mint and Digit are all fairly popular!

      I have Mint, but rarely use it. I really just need a good checkbook app, so I use iReconcile mostly. I like that I have a lot of control over the categories and I can run fairly specific reports to monitor my spending. It’s not as user-friendly or slick as some of the popular budgeting apps. It’s really just a digital check register, so I’d recommend it for someone looking for a digital check register, but not for someone looking for a lot of bells and whistles.

    • YNAB changed my life! I contract around the country so I get anxious about using my debit cards for purchases. With YNAB I can budget for things I’ve purchased with credit cards AND pay off previous debt.
      FYI KaeLyn, mobile version is an adjacent to the desktop software and not a standalone. But you get a 34 day trial with the software and the total cost is around $50. Totally worth it.

  4. I am a big fan of frugality

    * Stop throwing away $$$ on cable and other entertainment subscriptions you can’t afford
    * Stop having a fancy phone plan ->
    * Ride a bike :)
    * Fast food is too expensive, PB&J is delicious!
    * Bored? Go to the library or for a walk
    * Quit smoking and drinking at bars

    Here is an alternative view on how to deal with credit card debt:

    ps. The online entertainment I pay for is a silver membership to this site

    • Thanks for spending your entertainment dollars wisely. ;)

      I don’t think that more advanced early retirement financial advice is bad. It’s inspiring to read and I like the idea of it. It just takes a person who has a LOT of discipline to stick to it. Sounds like that is you.

      WHAT IS THIS TING? I think you just changed my life with this information. I hadn’t heard of Ting and I’m paying a million dollars to Verizon right now.

    • This type of advice is great – as long as your money problems don’t have to do with health reasons or something else totally outside of your control. Often reading this type of advice I am like “I wish I had your problems”. But I still read it, because who wouldn’t want to retire early?? Maybe if I read this type of advice enough it will start to apply to my life too!

      • Yeah, even though it’s not for me, I find it inspirational to read (now that I have a plan for myself).

  5. This is such a good article!! I totally agree with all the things on here. I really try not to open another card if I can avoid it. And if I do it’s for those 0% interest rate things for a year. I was really lucky last year to qualify for one when I bought the engagement ring and after I looked over my monthly expenses I saw that I could pay off the amount the company financed in exactly a year. I figured I could just ‘source’ some money from what I save and spend and it’s worked great.

    There’s A LOT to be said about finding extra money. I learned from a co worker that you can apply through your HR for tax exempt for a pay period a couple of times a year provided you’ve done some over time so you won’t end up owing the government. I think I’ve done it 2x (??) when I did 3 extra days of overtime. It’s helped so much with making advanced payments for the car. Just don’t forget to switch back or you’ll end up owing the government!!

    I’ve also been bringing lunch and dinner to work religiously for the past 6 months which is great because not only do I know that what I have is probably more healthy than plain old cafeteria food but I’ve at least saved myself about $15/$20 each time I’m at work.

    I think that having automatic transfers to your savings from checking every month is great. I don’t usually touch my savings anyway and in the past it’s helped me pay for upgrades for my car.


  6. My favorite app for managing money is called BillGuard. You can link all your cards, checking, and savings accounts to it and transactions are categorized as they’re posted. The ‘analytics’ screen shows a line graph of your spending of the current month versus the prior month and then lists all categories and $ amounts. There are definitely other good apps, but this is the only one I check everyday as it provides a concise visual of your month and where your money is going!

  7. In 2011, I called my credit cards to beg for a lower APR rate, as I’d spent two years never using my credit cards but continuing to have to make the minimum payments (around $300) that just covered fees and little else. They said they couldn’t help me based on how little I could afford to pay monthly and so thy transferred me to a non-profit named Take Charge America, who saved my life. I didn’t have to declare bankruptcy and they still were able to consolidate what I owed and freeze the accounts from accruing additional finance charges, and I just had to make my monthly payment until it was paid off. The only restriction was that I couldn’t open any new cards or loans until the amount was paid off, which I finally achieved last summer. I highly recommend TCA to anybody with too much debt and not enough money!

    • That’s a great recommendation, Riese! Thanks! It’s hard to know which credit counseling agencies are real and which are scams, so hearing about your experience with TCA is really helpful!

      From the website, it looks they can assist people with student loan debt and housing debt issues, as well as credit debt!

      • Yes I was really worried that they might be a scam but they were actually really lovely, and also really supportive throughout the process? The woman I talked to the first time I called, we ended up talking for like two hours and at some point while describing what I spend money on (read: “as little as possible”) I started crying and she was really sweet. There is a monthly fee but you’re saving so much money overall that it’s definitely worth it.

        • That sounds like a really good experience! I’m really glad you found them and it worked for you!

          There’s a local place where I live that is similar–nonprofit, emphasis on “counseling,” and really good. But they only work locally. I’m really appreciative to know about a reliable national group to refer people to!

          Money stuff can be so stressful… Even when you feel like you have control of it, it can still be a huge worry.

  8. This is the best “getting out of debt ” article I’ve ever had
    This accountant approves and applauds

    • WOW. High praise, Carmen! Thanks! I’m not a professional, just a real-life self-taught blog-reading in-debt person. So I’m glad that I’m steering people towards the right track!

  9. Request: can we have an “investing 101” and/or a “start getting your ducks in a row for retirement” article next?

    • I WOULD LOVE THIS. But I’m probably now the best person to write it. I have a plan for retirement and a financial planner who helps me make decisions about where my long-term investments go, but I’m such a novice. And my debt issue is kind of interfering with my putting as much as I want into my retirement savings right now. But I’m trying not to worry about it? And be grateful that I have enough funds to put some towards retirement and long-term planning, even if it’s not as much as I want to be putting away? And that I have enough supplemental whole life insurance to cover all my debts and support my family if something happened to me suddenly? But it kind of panics me sometimes, TBH. Then I remember that our generation came up during the recession and basically all my peers are in the same boat and I’m actually ahead of a lot of people. A lot of my friends aren’t even really thinking about things like life insurance or roth IRA’s, etc. Lalala.

      Insert panic attack.

      Seriously, though, what’s your accountant opinion on getting out of revolving debt vs. saving for retirement? I feel like I can only half-ass save for retirement until I eliminate revolving debt. I should probably buckle down overall as per @thesadie‘s advice, but I don’t think I’d stay emotionally stable if I tried that hard-core frugal life. I know I wouldn’t. So I’m hoping that I can play catch-up later and convert my debt payoff budget towards retirement savings budget as soon as possible.

      • Half ass your savings until you can full-ass them. Better than nothing. You can direct your debt-paying budget towards that when you get a chance (but treat yourself first)
        Personally I have a Roth IRA and I am saving for that day but I understand that most people aren’t as anal as I am. I already have my retirement location picked out and everything (buenos Aires! Culture! Meat! Wine! More meat!)

        • Whew! That makes me feel re-affirmed that I’m doing OK! :)

          I have a Roth IRA and an employer pension plan that I’m working towards vesting in and a modest amount of life insurance that will pay off all our debt if I kick the bucket (but doesn’t really pay annuities yet). And my spouse maxes out their employee contribution to their 401k and has supplemental insurance, too. And we own our house (or will, in like, 27 years). We have like, half of a plan for retirement. I just know I’m not saving enough yet! I would love to be maxing out my Roth, but I’m just not there yet. I hope we’ll be able to catch up eventually!

        • YAY to Roth IRA! A lot of my older co-workers advised me to 6% my contribution because our employer will do 4% so it’s 10%. At the time (3 years ago) I was in a slightly better financial situation than I am now (BUY ALL THE THINGS!!) but I think that just kind of putting it in the back of my mind has really let me get the jump start on saving up for when I can retire. I hardly remember even when I started putting money towards my Roth IRA and about 4 months ago our employers announced they had matched the 4% since we became part of USC (2years ago) not for the first time but the SECOND TIME.

          So I was totally blown away when I saw that I had a pretty neat sum starting up. It’s crossed my mind to take out some of it now because of expenses but I really try not to because of taxes and fees of taking it out early. I think it helps I don’t remember the password to the website so I’m not tempted to keep looking at it and stuff. I KNOW THAT’S LIKE BAD.

    • If you are into DIY investing, a good book to start with is ‘The Intelligent Asset Allocator’ by William J. Bernstein. Or if you want a more point-and-shoot approach, check out They provide a great service and have an excellent resources page on the basics of investing.

  10. It has taken a few days to get the courage to read this article. Which seems silly, but true. It’s refreshingly to the point without being blunt. I’m unfortunately going to be unemployed again soon, but it does give me hope that I can slowly move my way out of this ditch I feel I’m in.

    • Glad you took the plunge! And that is wasn’t too upsetting to read. I’m so sorry you’re going to be unemployed soon. Deal with what you have to deal with. You probably already know this, but you can often put your school loans in forbearance due to financial hardship. Your credit cards might also offer this, so check in with your lenders to see if they are willing to let you off the hook for minimum payments until you get back on your feet. Even if that all doesn’t work out, all is not lost. You aren’t a failure! And you will get back on track eventually. Be good to yourself! :)

  11. I’ve been using a combination of the snowball and avalanche methods to pay off my student loans, and by the end of this year, I might be down to four figures for my government loans. (Private loans have a really, really low APR because my co-signer had amaziiiiing credit, so I haven’t really looked at them.)

    I don’t have my own credit card because it’s a hassle, but that means I have to explain every purchase I make with it to my mom – it’s a good way to keep down impulse shopping.

  12. I definitely appreciate that this list said something other than “stop going out for coffee every day.” I hate when I read articles on how to save money and they’re filled with completely obvious stuff I have been doing all along. This was different and I love it.

    • Yeah, like, “10 Ways You Can Save Money!” and at the end you are like…that’s either 1) something I already do because I’m not dumb or 2) not worth the effort for the $250/year in savings v. convenience to my life.

      I hear you!

  13. You should also look into more aggressive debt relief plans when you cannot get any more loans or zero % balance transfer offers because your credit cards are maxed out or your credit score is below 660. These would include debt negotiation or even bankruptcy. Sometimes it doesn’t make financial sense to keep struggling to make the minimum payments on your credit cards for the next 10-20+ years throwing away $1000s of dollars to interest charges when you can use debt negotiation or bankruptcy and get a fresh start in 2-5 years.

    National Debt Relief

  14. I was unemployed for six months in 2013 (right after grad school), and managed to rack up a whole bunch of debt. And then I was maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding, and then I was in two more weddings in less than a year, and I’m FINALLY able to start paying down my damn cards. These suggestions were all really helpful.

    A few more suggestions:

    1. If you don’t think you can live without cable, trust me, you can. I love TV (I have a degree in TV production) but I’ve been able to live without cable for five years, because it’s so goddamn expensive. Hulu and Netflix will have almost everything you need, and if there’s something you just have to watch live, find a friend who has cable and go over to their place and offer to bring a bottle of wine or a snack.

    2. The library is a great way to save money on books, music, and movies. I haven’t bought a book in years.

    3. If you’re a traveler, you can take surveys to get points for flights. JetBlue has Points for Surveys, and the points go right to your JetBlue account. And then you can take surveys on e-Rewards and convert points to miles on Southwest, JetBlue, or Virgin America (I used to use all my e-Rewards points for Borders bucks. I MISS YOU AND YOUR CHEAP BOOKS, BORDERS.) Ipsos i-Say also always has a ton of surveys, and I think you can exchange them for Visa giftcards or Amazon giftcards, but I haven’t earned enough points to redeem for anything yet. Surveys are great to do when you’re on the couch and on a Netflix binge and have run out of Candy Crush lives.

    4. If you work for a big company, you may be able to get a discount on your cellphone bill. Verizon takes 6% off my bill just because of where I work (and I didn’t have to go through HR or anything, since the company itself isn’t paying my bill). And Verizon has these weird rewards points that I hate because you can’t use them towards your bill, but you can enter to win random giftcards and stuff (I won a $10 CVS giftcard and was like yessss, here’s my wine money for the week).

    5. Buy a crockpot and make a ton of food at the beginning of the week and separate it into tupperware and freeze it. I kept making excuses to buy burritos and stuff for lunch, because I had to eat, right? But eating out (ha) is so expensive, and having food stored in the freezer means you can just grab it and run out the door in the morning instead of cooking or saying “well, I didn’t have time to cook, so I’ll just buy a sandwich/burrito/whatever.” Also crockpot food is the best and if you need recipes let me know because the crockpot is my best friend.

    • Great tips for saving some bucks! Thanks!

      I used to do a lot of online surveys, too. I didn’t know about the Jetblue ones! (Mentally bookmarking that info.) I don’t have time to do surveys anymore, but it was an easy and mindless way to get some amazon gift cards. Sometimes I was lucky to weasel my way into a paying focus group through those survey sites, too! I also used to do brief tasks on (a href=””>Amazon Mechanical Turk to earn amazon credit.

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