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3 little expenses you can cut to pay off debt


By Gerri Detweiler/

If you've ever overdrawn your checking account while trying to live on a budget, you already know it doesn't take a big hole to sink you -- little leaks can do the trick. Tiny, unbudgeted expenditures, if they are numerous enough or if you give them long enough, can do some pretty serious damage. And if you are trying to repay debt, little leaks can sabotage even the best plan.

All of these are easy to overlook, because they fall into the "but it's only (name your price point under which things are just not worth worrying about)." But before you decide you will never again see the inside of a movie theater, the dog will now eat only generic food and you won't read anything that didn't come from the library, give yourself a small allowance of money that is yours to blow. Too much deprivation can lead to throwing in the towel. Wiggle room can actually make it easier to stick with the cuts you decide to make.

A big motivator for cutting costs is to get out of debt. There's two ways to put more money to debt payments -- make more or spend less. Once you make some small cuts, you can also look into ways to minimize your interest charges like with a personal loan that can consolidate your debt or a balance transfer credit card if you're trying to dig out from credit card debt. These often require decent credit scores, though. (You can check your credit scores for free on to see where you stand.)

Here are some ideas of areas you can cut without feeling the pinch of penny-pinching.

​1. Apps (But it’s just $1.99!)


So many cool apps, so many low prices. They're only $2 or $3, and what's the harm? The problem is that it's easy to develop a habit. (Ask anybody with a really impressive music collection from iTunes. It can happen a little at a time.) Also, there are some pretty cool free apps out there, too. Be careful, though. Apps, free or not, may have security risks.

​2. Daily Starbucks

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

We're not suggesting never going in the door. But do be aware studies show you enjoy treats more if they are actually ... treats. Which means when they become routine, you actually enjoy them less. There are two ways to counter this, researchers say: Variety and appreciation. So, skipping your latte in favor of lemon water (from home, right?) and telling yourself how glad you are that this is the day you spring for a latte can actually intensify the happiness it brings. And crunch the numbers too -- if you're buying a roughly $5 latte every morning, you're spending about $1,800 a year -- that's a lot of cash.

​3. Membership to Big Box Clubs

Paul Sakuma

If you live where all three have a presence, it can be tempting to be a member of all three. After all, memberships save you money, right? And this way, you can go to whichever happens to be most convenient on a given day. But do you really need to belong to all of them? (Plus, you might be spending more than you need to in the name of getting a deal, which is the opposite of saving money.)

Want some more cost-cutting opportunities? Check out the full article, 6 little expenses you can cut to pay off debt, on

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