The #1 Best Way to Save Money & Get Out of Debt (that no one is talking about)

Yes! This is the number one, best way to save money and get out of debt. If you want to get out of debt, at some point you will have to do this one thing that nobody is talking about....

Today, I’m going to talk about a little secret.

There is so much info on budgeting, saving money, and frugal living. It has become a hot topic these days, and I’m glad for it. I’m glad that more and more people are realizing just how harmful and restrictive debt is, and are taking steps to be free from that bondage.

I still remember the life-changing moment when getting out of debt became a real possibility for us. Yes, even for our low-income, single-income family, it was a possibility. We lived debt-free for over 2 years, and we still have no debt except for our mortgage. And, being debt-free helped us save a decent down-payment so that we’re in a much better place w/ our current mortgage.

This key piece of advice I want to share with you today is absolutely pivotal. It will change your debt-free journey. And it’s one that still isn’t talked about too much.

So why is no one talking about this #1 tip?

There is no money to be made. This tip is completely free and there is no money to be made anywhere by giving it to you. Therefore, it’s completely against the profit-driven world we live in. Even Dave Ramsey wants you to get your finances in order…after you spend the $100+ for his class first. Most money-saving tips include links to buy discounted products–links where everyone stands to make money.

I have nothing against this. I use affiliate links here on Serving Joyfully. However, it does seem to make some people hesitant to share a tip like this where there is no discounted product being sold, and therefore no money to be made.

It’s not very fun. Writers want to write popular articles that get people to come back. In order to do that, the content we put out usually needs to be fun in some way, it needs to be something people want to hear. People want to hear about getting those new clothes for 50% during a sale at baby Gap. It’s fun to go shopping, which is why these type of posts are more popular than the one I’m about to write.

But, my biggest goal isn’t to be popular or to make money. So, I’m going to give it to you straight.

So often, I have had people who hear about our debt-free journey and frugal lifestyle and then reach out to me for tips. This happens both in real life and online.

The thing is, many of these people they say they want tips for getting out of debt, when most often, what they actually want is for me to work some kind of miracle on their budget that would allow them to keep their exact same lifestyle and spending habits, while still getting out of debt.

The bad news is–that’s not gonna happen. Just like in anything else, there is no magic trick. However, if you really want it bad enough, this tip will help you get there.

Are you ready for it?

Stop spending money. 

That’s it. It’s as simple (and as difficult) as that.

Now, obviously, I know you can’t completely stop spending money. You have to eat and your bills must get paid.

But, you can greatly reduce, or stop completely, your discretionary spending. And you can greatly reduce a lot of other areas as well, simply by evaluating the difference between needs and wants

No one wants to stop buying things. We live in a society that is obsessed with stuff. So that when we want to make cut backs and get out of debt, we replace the full price stuff with 40% off clearance stuff. Or, if you’re really hard core, you might even replace that 40% off new stuff with thrift store finds instead.

But the problem persists–filling our lives and homes with (and wasting our money on) stuff that we don’t need.

  • That beautiful print that you’ll take home and never even get around to hanging on your wall.
  • Those super cute, great bargain clothes to bring home and try to find room for in your already over-stuffed closet.
  • The half-off toys for your children–just one more thing in an already crowded bedroom that you’ll have to fight with them to pick up.

Or even those $.50 books at goodwill that you don’t have room for on your bookshelf (ahem…that one was for yours truly).

The point is this–we already have too much stuff and most of us really don’t need more.

Again, obviously some things you really do need to buy, but most of the things we Americans buy are things that we could easily do without. And if you have a desire and goal to be debt-free, I can personally attest that it is more than worth the sacrifice!

Again, no one is going to tell you to stop buying stuff, because our economy depends on people overspending. Everybody gets a piece of the pie and they want to keep getting that pie (or at least the dough that makes it up!).

Our culture is obsessed with more stuff, and we always have an excuse ready for our spending. We can do this frugal thing, but first we need one last new outfit (then another..then another…this one really will be the last one). We need a new cute, fancy notebook for our expenses. We need those cute budgeting envelopes. We need this or that book, this or that class. There is always another thing to buy, and another good excuse.

The truth is you don’t need any of that. What you need to do, and what I had to learn several years ago, is to stop planning how you could be frugal and save money if you just had the next great tool, and start actually doing it.

Questions to ask before making a purchase:

  1. Do I really need this? If the answer is no, then seriously consider why you’re purchasing it. Sometimes the benefit can outweigh the cost and I realize that. But sometimes, we need to give our will power a work out and say no.
  2. Could I borrow it or make something else work? If the item is a need, consider if there are other ways to get it. If it’s something you’ll only use once or twice ever, consider borrowing it from a friend. Books can be checked out from the library instead of purchased. You might also consider if there is something you already have that you can use instead. Or maybe instead of buying those round cake pans you’ve been wanting, you can just use the 9 x 13 pan that you already have.
  3. Do I need it right now? So many times I have found that just a bit of patience can pay off in a big way. If you don’t need an item right away, it can be a big money saver to wait. We have had things given to us, or had someone offer to lend something, or stumbled across a great deal that saved us money on a purchase…all just by waiting a bit.

And, there you have it. Not the most popular budgeting post. But one that is necessary.

There is no magic trick to getting out of debt, but if you follow this simple tip you’ll make a lot more progress. {<—tweet this}

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  1. Sarah Bennett says

    Yes!!! I thought I was the only one who felt this way. I have friends who say things like, “you’re so lucky you don’t have debt.” While they are buying the next new thing and I’m
    Making do with the old.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Exactly! I sometimes get frustrated at that attitude as well. God’s grace and a lot of hard work and sacrifice…luck has nothing to do with it.

  2. says

    Great post! This is so very true and convicting. I just went through an extensive process of de-cluttering my home, and it was overwhelming to see all the “stuff” I thought I had to have that now just looked like junk. Excess stuff crowds our homes and our lives. This is a great reminder to stay focused on what is truly important and stop contributing to the problem. :)

  3. says

    This is truly the best tip, it is really hard though :) Thinking you might be missing a deal has been somehow ingrained in a lot of people. You can have too many clothes even when they are 90% off, believe me, I was there.

  4. Chris says

    This is the best article about saving money and its the realist. God bless you. I just started my journey and the more I stay out of the stores the more I see that I do make more than enough income, I just haven’t been a good steward over it.

  5. Robin Bryant says

    I had a moment of clarity yesterday. I paid off the first of our debts on my way into work, it felt really good! It felt even better when I drove by the coffee stand with the drive thru stacked with cars, with my commuter mug of homemade coffee in my hand, that took less time to make than they will spend in that line. My days of paying for overpriced coffee are gone! And I’m learning that lesson on many other things I felt I “needed”. Being debt free will bring me a much better feeling than those momentary feelings I get when I buy something! Great article…thank you!

    • Crystal Brothers says

      I love that Robin! Especially the realization about the time spent waiting for coffee, and you could make your own for less money in less time. That’s such a good point! Thanks for sharing :)

  6. says

    Yes! I find that if I don't go to a store I don't spend money. I know this sounds like a "no-brainer". But if I go in to pick up one thing, all the marketing and "sparkle" draws me in. Then I think, 'no I can't buy these things, but maybe I can buy a couple of things from the dollar bins' (my consolation prize). Or I think, 'I could make this!' and proceed to spend more on items to make it. Just don't go in!

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Yes! I’ve fallen into the dollar bin consolation prize as well. And it’s so funny how I justify those things. “Well, since I resisted the $50 thing, I can get the $5 thing guilt-free.” If they are both unnecessary, then it’s not really a win. I completely agree that avoiding stores is the best remedy for me as well.

  7. Terri says

    I finally woke up when we were 110,000 in debt with a failing business and no income. The Lord had been dealing with me for several years about debt. I got really serious when the economy came to a screeching halt in our area and we didn’t have any jobs and no money. My husband and I got into agreement, confessed it as the sin it is, asked the Lord to forgive us and help us. Was is easy? No! Was it worth it? Absolutely, positively, YES! Here we are three years later and we are down to our last 10 thousand of debt to payoff. Before my husband would say “just charge it” and now we refuse to borrow money. We made the commitment to be debt free and never go into debt again. God is true to his Word.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      That is awesome Terri!!! Thank you so much for sharing your testimony, that is amazing. Yes, it is so worth it, I completely agree.

  8. says

    Thanks for sharing this! It seems like debt is a way of life for so many people and A LOT of that stems from those 3 questions you recommended asking yourself before spending money… pinning this!

  9. says

    Exactly! Great post…. I did a post on this subject and my #1 way to save money was to be thankful for what I had! Not the norm for our culture, but scriptural. :) It’s good to see a post of yours again. :)

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Yes! I completely agree with you about your #1 thing as well. Gratitude and contentment are so important. :)

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Absolutely–very basic. I think we make it harder than it needs to be sometimes. The concept is easy, it’s just sticking with it that can be difficult, but it’s so worth it.

  10. acraftymix says

    Great article Crystal and so very true. We’ve been debt free for a few years now and while it took a lot of hard work and saying no to things we thought we needed, it’s been worth it.

  11. says

    My husband and me became debt free in our late 20’s. About 7 years ago and I agree it wasn’t fun! We sacrificed a lot in our 20’s to get where we are. We just built our 2nd house and paid cash for it. Those friends that made fun of us now our asking for tips on how they can do it too.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Awesome story!!! Congratulations on becoming debt free 7 years ago and building your house with cash. That’s amazing! We do have a mortgage now, but we’re in a much better situation (bigger down payment, no other debt, etc.) than we were before becoming debt free.

  12. says

    This is all such great advice. I especially like the Stop Spending statement! This post will be one of our Features at the new Merry Monday party. So glad you shared with us. Pinned.

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