Indebtedness statistics for Poland are not exactly the source of national pride. The number of people with debt-related problems is increasing at a dangerous rate. In 2014, KRUK Group alone was processing cases of total value nearing 20 billion zloty. Debt repayment is often possible, but in many situations also requires changing habits. Some willpower and perseverance can save you quite a significant amount over a month, which can be spent on repaying debts.
Frequently, the reason for getting into a debt cycle is insufficient financial education, leading to unjustified expenses or taking credits. Many Poles are never able to make any savings, since they spend all the money earned, or even more. How do you find extra money then? Below are 5 simple methods for securing funds from your home budget for e.g. debt repayment.
1. Forget addictions
Despite the number of smokers in Poland steadily decreasing, there is still around 8.5 million people who smoke 46.6 billion cigarettes per year*. It is enough to look at the current prices of cigarettes to reach the conclusion that a lot of money goes up with smoke. If you limit consumption or break addictions to substances such as nicotine or alcohol, you can save up to 400 zloty a month, which per annum amounts to extra 4800 zl in your wallet. Quitting unhealthy habits is not only a source of savings, but also improves your health.a
2. The alternative to empty calories
The simplest and the least troublesome way of securing savings is bringing home-made food to your work. Making a sandwich in the morning or packing yesterday's lunch leftovers takes around 5 minutes, but brings annual savings of 150-400 zloty. Many people also do not realize that snacks consumed daily, such as chocolate bars, donuts, sandwiches or sodas considerably strain their budgets - not to mention the detrimental effect of empty calories intake.
3. Cycling time
Bicycles are becoming an ever more appreciated vehicle for urban transportation. Your car does not have to stay locked in the garage all the time, though. For monthly savings of up to a 100 zloty, all that is enough is switching from horsepower to footpower 2 or 3 times a week. Carpooling is an equally cost-effective solution. Sharing fuel costs with your colleagues may reduce traveling expenses by 1/3.
4. Entertainment? Sure, but keep it for weekdays
When repaying your debts, you don't have to resign from pleasures entirely. You may consider going to the movies on weekdays, thus avoiding weekends, when prices are the highest. It is also worth going to smaller cinemas once in a while, instead of crowding the big malls. Around 30 zloty per one outing can be saved this way. Keep your eyes open for discounts. Some cinemas offer cheaper tickets once a week, for instance. This allows you to see a movie at half the weekend price.
5. Do not throw it away! Sell it!
Your phone contract is ended and you're getting a new phone? Instead of putting the new one in the drawer, why don't you check how much you can get for it on auction sites or at a shop? We often forget how many unnecessary things we hold in our houses that could pretty easily find potential buyers. Children clothes that your child has grown out of, sports equipment, books, compact discs or your never used wedding gifts. Instead of throwing it out, just sell the things you don't use anymore. With a bit of patience, as much as several hundred zloty can be raised. Remember the trick works both ways - resign from making last-minute purchases of brand new items, such as presents for family ceremonies, for instance. Many cheaper offers or used items can be found on the web. Toys or children furniture, as well as home entertainment equipment can be purchased this way with significant benefit.
Saving isn't only resigning from specific expenses - it also means buying cheaper and putting the surplus saved aside. If you're in debt, it is wise to use any sum saved for repaying it. There are many methods for finding extra money - all you need to do is examine your daily habits more closely.
*Social Diagnosis for 2013.