I too would like to share my story on repaying debt and saving money. I have used my method for 20 years now, and despite my friends laughing at it, and others saying they wouldn't be able to handle it, to me it is a great thing and works every time. This method has caused me to avoid any serious trouble - well, I have debt installments on my back, but I can't say that I lack money for food.
I am a very economic person. Before I buy anything, I will check out prices at all the stores and on the web, and only then will I make the purchase. The first main rule: think twice; think before you buy anything or buy things on credit. In these hard and uncertain times, bankruptcy is not unlikely. I know several close persons that had it all: top-quality cars, huge houses, and now they can't even afford bread. Many people think: I have a fixed job, hooray. But a fixed contract can be terminated tomorrow, and that's it. I myself always think sober. I always predict what can happen tomorrow. I plan everything. All my life is planned and scheduled, and I am comfortable with it, despite some people laughing at it and saying that I can never enjoy life if I save everything. At least I live in peace, knowing I will be able to afford food.
I have been married for years, and currently do not work due to sickness. I gave birth to a second son last year, forcing me to stay at home, since I can't imagine leaving my child at the nursery. The family can't help us, so we live on our husband's pension - modestly but happily. We're not starving. My friends sometimes wonder how we do all this: we live on a single salary, we have a car, our flat is neatly furnished, our children have everything they need. My secret is: my husband's pay day is the 10th of each month. When the children go to sleep, I sit down, gather all the bills in one place (rent, power, gas, phone, ISP, TV, installments) and pay everything on the web. I have separate envelopes with money for everything: fuel, food, cosmetics, medicines. After making all the payments, I go to the bank and withdraw the rest of the salary. At the kitchen I hold a small box in which I keep the money that we are going to need for basic needs; another envelope goes for fuel. The basic money is divided into weeks and there is no option of me taking more than I need at the given week. There is a specific pool, and it must suffice. Every Sunday evening I take the wallet and take out every money that is left over from the week. Sometimes it is 20 PLN, sometimes 5 PLN, 1 PLN or 0.50 PLN. I take the cash and put it into a separate envelope; I do this every week, until the next pay. Someone reading this now could think that it is pointless, but if only he tried, he would see how much you can save this way. Had I left the money in my wallet, going for shopping Monday I would think: "well, I have the case, so I can buy some more". That way I always have money for unexpected events: sickness or breakdowns. Where do you get the money for those things otherwise? Borrow? It doesn't make sense - you generate a debt. Pay from your current cash? You won't survive till next month. That's where my envelope comes in. Same goes for birthdays, name days or other holidays. In such situations, my friends call their mom, for instance, and say: look mom, we can't come, we're broke, happy birthday. To me, such a thing is unimaginable; these holidays are fixed, and you can always prepare to them in advance. In January I create an envelope titled "Holy Communion" , cause I know that my godchild is having his holy communion in May. So I create the envelope a year before that, and collect money into it, with sums as small as 1 PLN. This may sound silly to some, but it really works.
Believe it or not, but in 20 years I never found myself in a position where I had to tell someone I can't afford food, or I can't come because I have no money. - My husband cycles to work, saving on transport. - We replaced our bath with a shower cabin, immediately reducing water costs. We brush teeth using a cup, not under running water. - We turn all our power equipment off for the night, not leaving it on stand-by - this really works. I never buy more food than I need; I plan our menu from day to day; I avoid food getting bad due to excess or expiration. - I look for discounts. - Thanks to good memory I know the cost of things - no-one can cheat me into cheap marketing tricks. I wish everyone that you never run into financial problems. Try to do it my way - it really works. Trust me.