“Cut the cable”, “buy used cars”, “don’t drink expensive coffee”. We’ve all heard this advice at least a time or twenty.
We want to save money so we can have nice things, so why are we sacrificing our nice things to have more money? This was the one of the major key points in my book, “Finding Financial Freedom: How You can Create an Abundance of Wealth in Small Town America“. How do we find the right balance of save and splurge? How do we make saving less painful and splurging less guilt ridden?
Consider this when Purchasing
1. What percentage of my happiness will this fund? Without giving away any of the secrets in my book, this is what you need to know- If buying coffee at $6 a cup seven days a week accounts for 9% of your budget, does it really make you 9% happier? Only you know the answer to that question.
2. Does this contribute to the ideal me? What does your ideal lifestyle look like? If it looks like world travel, minimalism, and blogging- why would you ever spend $700 on a coffee table? Get a $10 table from goodwill, and fix it up using $20 worth of sandpaper & paint.
There isn’t a set sequence of steps for your life- it’s just what you want and make of it.
If you’re not sure what you want as a career, don’t exhaust your time, energy and money on college. It’s okay to not follow your peers. If you don’t spend a lot of time at home, don’t exhaust your time, energy, or money into buying and maintaining an expensive house. It’s okay to make cuts in unconventional places. Not everyone wants an expensive car, a big house, or a high paying job. Keep that in mind, and don’t be afraid to break the mould.
15 ways to save, while not sacrificing your luxuries
1. Buy almost everything used. If it’s disposable or cloth (like a mattress, clothes, couch, blankets), buy it new- otherwise get it used. Nine times out of ten, you’re the only person who’s going to notice that the item isn’t brand new.
2. Wear the same outfit everyday. Crazy right? With only $100, I’ve got enough clothes for a year thanks to my Steve Jobs wardrobe.
3. When you go camping, don’t pay $35 or even $50 a night, camp for free.
4. Outsource your food- hunt, go to farms directly, or raise your own food. If you don’t hunt or raise your own food, call your local farms. Oftentimes you can get fruits, veggies, and meats cheaper than going to a grocery store.
5. Find better friends- people who are frugal / money wise are going to rub off on you. Not to mention, they probably won’t mind helping you get on track financially if you ask for their advice.
6. Time your shopping- set an alarm, say 20 minutes, to do all your shopping for the next two weeks. You’ll be forced to stick to your list, and you won’t be browsing items you don’t need (like those cute tee shirts that you totally don’t need).
7. Don’t have a car. Really. Add up the costs of your tag + title, car payment, car insurance, fuel, and repairs (at least $500 a year!). How often do you really drive? Could Lyft, Uber, or even a bicycle slash your costs?
8. Make your own cleaning products. Vinegar, baking soda, and bleach can clean your house for a lot less. I personally use vinegar in my hair and it’s really helped it stay de-tangled, shiny, and smelling good. I also use vinegar in my laundry and I like the end result- my laundry doesn’t smell like a “freshly picked lavender, cedar, tropical mountainous, ocean breeze in the Himalayan mountains detergent” but they’re always clean and completely deodorized. Check out this article to learn how to tidy up without buying so many expensive cleaners.
9. Live in a smaller house- furniture, maintenance, cleaning, decorations all add up more than you can imagine. We downsized to 70 square feet, and that really taught us how little we actually need.
10. Every time you break a $10, throw the change into a jar. Use this fund for fun items or experiences routinely (once a month, semi-annually, etc).
11. Skip the gym- use free YouTube workout videos instead. If you need equipment, buy it second hand. No more judgmental gym stares! If you prefer a DVD though, check out these Spartacus Workout videos that I love and use.
12. Log your food. This is one money saver I really wasn’t expecting until I downloaded the “Lose It” app. Save money while losing (or maintaining) your weight by logging your calories daily. You’ll be more mindful of what you eat, how much you eat, and how often you eat out (especially at fast food places).
13. DIY a lot more. I’m not suggesting that you wire up your own electricity, (because there are some things that are best left to the professionals)- but do more yourself. You’ll amaze yourself when you see just how capable you are of doing so many things. Building a deck, doing your own landscaping, reupholstering your couch, or even fixing a leaky roof. YouTube tutorials are amazing (and free!).
14. Don’t be fooled by expiration dates. Food corporations have to stamp each food item as “best if used by ___”. If an item goes bad before this date, they’re legally responsible for your health. So obviously, they’re going to list the items expiration date as much earlier than what it truly is out of legal obligations. If it doesn’t look or smell bad, and you’ve properly stored it, it’s probably fine.