My husband and I have always been very financially responsible. So much so that at an early age we were able to purchase our first home. Unfortunately we bought our home at the peak of the housing market and paid tens of thousands of dollars more than what it would be worth in the coming years.
With the arrival of our second child we were desperate to purchase a 3 bedroom house (our current was only a 2 bedroom) but were severely underwater in our mortgage.
We decided to make it our priority to double and triple our mortgage payments by cutting our costs as much as we possibly could. First things first, we cut our grocery spending by going to a local discount grocery store that only offered generic options.. We set a grocery budget and stuck to it.
Secondly, we completely eliminated any eating out at restaurants. We went on to cut our cable bill by switching over to Netflix. This cut our cable bill from over $100 a month to just $8. We cut our cellphone plan to a bare bones plan that was just for emergencies. I would have switched over to a Trac phone but the termination fee for my contract was too high.
For entertainment we took the kids to family free days at the local zoos and museums. On a special occasion we went to the value theater and allowed the children to have a grocery store treat before the movie so we wouldn't have to buy popcorn. Mostly we went to the local library and checked out free movies and books for entertainment.
Through all these sacrifices we were able to pay down our mortgage by 40,000 dollars above and beyond our normal payments in 2 years. Because of all of our sacrifices we were able to sell our house, albeit it at a loss, and purchase a beautiful new house that was big enough for our family.
If anything we've learned that we can live with less. All of these so called "necessary expenses" - i.e. cable, cellphone, eating out - can be easily done away with when you have no other option.
I'm proud of our family because we were able to keep our credit intact even when all the odds were against us.
Contributed by Anonymous from Wisconsin