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Posts Tagged saving money

5 Things I Stopped Buying to Save Money

When you’re trying to save money, it’s a good idea to track what you currently spend money on and see if there are habits that you can change. Perhaps you can do without some items, look for a cheaper alternative, or find a way of doing it yourself.

In order to free up as much money to put towards our financial goals as possible, we saw our biggest money wasters and made cuts or found cheaper alternatives. They were simple changes to make and we haven’t looked back since.

Pre-Packaged Foods and Snacks

This was one of the first things to get cut from our shopping list that has saved us a lot of money over the last three years. When I saw that I could buy a bag of chocolate chips for the same price as a box of pre-packaged cookies, I quickly realized that I could make a lot more cookies for the same price, cut down on the amount of package waste our family was producing, and save a lot of money in the long-run.

The other things we stopped buying were the pre-packed side dishes, like flavored rice and pasta. Again, a large bag of rice or pasta is much cheaper and you can season it as you wish. The other thing to go were the boxes of crackers. Instead we’ll air pop some popcorn and have that as a crunchy snack.

Bread

One road trip during the summer we found ourselves driving through Amish country. That time of year, you can find vendors set up along the side of the road selling fresh produce and baked goods. When I saw the homemade bread, I had an awakening of sorts.

Bread where I live will go on sale for $1.75 a loaf, and that is the rock-bottom price. At the time I was spending on average $2.00 a loaf and each week and would have to buy 4 loaves of bread (Yes, we’re big bread eaters…Yum). The math however on that was a little scary. $8.00 per week meant that we were spending $416 a year on bread.

We inherited a bread maker that sat in my pantry for years, never being used until we returned home from that summer trip. I found a great recipe and have been enjoying homemade bread ever since. I can easily make a loaf for under $1.00, saving my family $200 a year.

Gym Memberships

When making cuts to our budget to save money, this was also one of the first things to go. I enjoy exercise and know how important it is to our overall health, but I also know that exercise doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money.

Rather than spending $30 a month on a gym membership (that honestly wasn’t being used enough to justify the cost), I spent $30 on a pair of hand-held weights, a weighted medicine ball, and a yoga mat. Getting outside and going for a walk or run is free and, thanks to the internet, there is an endless supply of exercise videos and tutorials available online that I can stream on my television.

Books and Magazine Subscriptions

I used to love getting the mail and finding my magazine subscription come in. When I added up what I was spending each year, I realized that it was money that I could just as easily put towards our financial goals. I quickly cancelled my magazine subscription and started enjoying the same magazine loaned from the library for free.

As a literacy teacher, I also love books. One of my favorite things to do would be to head over to my local bookstore and browse the shelves looking for the next great read. I treasured my growing collection of novels. What I didn’t treasure was the ever increasing price. Again, back to the library to pick up the same books and enjoy them for free. 

Take-Out Coffee and Disposable K-Cups

Coffee. I love coffee. It’s the first thing that I look forward too each and every morning. It was also a constant leak in our budget. When I saw what six months worth of take out coffee cost, I was shocked. It never seems that much when you’re spending only two or three dollars at a time. For what I was spending in one week, I was able to pick up a travel coffee mug and now bring my own from home.

The other expense we gave up were the individual, single-use K-cups for our coffee machine. I traded in my single-use cups and bought some reusable cups that we fill with our own coffee for pennies a cup. Not only is it better for our wallet, but also better for the environment.

Your Turn!

  • What have you stopped buying in order to save money?

How To Quit Impulse Shopping

When I became a minimalist, one of the first things I had to do was learn how to stop impulse shopping. Learning to quit impulse purchases was hard at first, but I had a few tricks that helped me quit for good. This is how I quit impulse shopping.

Get Clear on Why You Want to Stop

If you don’t have a reason to stop impulse shopping, you won’t quit. I had been buying random clothes on impulse for years, and wanted to be more responsible, but my only reason to stop thus far was simply to save money. This reason was so vague that it didn’t help me at all. Eventually, I created a bigger “why” that did help – a lot.

How to Quit Impulse Shopping

Create Short And Long Term Goals

By creating goals, I had a reason to quit shopping on impulse. I wanted to travel, so my short term goal was to save a certain amount of money per month. My long term goal was to be able to save enough to travel for one year (and I did it!). When I made a stop at Target, I kept these goals in my mind, and knew that impulse purchases would prevent me from hitting my goal deadlines.

Take Notes

When you have the urge to buy something on impulse, stop for a second and acknowledge that feeling. Why do you want to buy that candy/top/whatever? I noticed that I craved impulse purchases when I was upset or craving something else in my life. When I took a look at what was causing these cravings, I was able to really quit impulse shopping.

Kick Off with A Strong Start

To get motivated and determined (and stick to my goals), I would go on a spending freeze for one week out of the month, every month. A spending freeze for me meant no money spent on social activities (try hiking with a friend or meeting for a date in the park), no coffees out, no clothes or extras at all purchased during this week. I would set a grocery budget and stick to it, use the least amount of gas in my car, and spend my afternoons hiking outside and prepping meals at home. Once the week was up, I would feel so accomplished and proud that I’d often be more motivated to keep saving.

How to Quit Impulse Shopping

Don’t Go To Stores that You Have Trouble With

The places that would always suck me in to buy things on impulse were Target and Forever 21. If I knew that I felt weak, but I needed laundry detergent, I would go to CVS or Walgreens instead of Target. Though laundry detergent is less expensive at Target, I knew that if I went there, I would probably end up buying way more than just laundry soap, so this was a savings overall. After time, I was able to go in to a Target without feeling the urge to buy everything.

Quick Tips

A few quick and simple tricks that helped me overcome impulse shopping were: carry only the amount cash you’ll need when going to the store, (no credit or debit cards), freeze your credit cards if you feel it’s necessary, and try to get all of your shopping done once a week, and make lists for the things that you need to buy – and don’t stray from the list.

These tips all helped me to quit impulse shopping and stop impulse buying. When I quit impulse purchases and went minimalist, I was able to save money to travel the world full time.

Your Turn!

  • Which tip is your favorite?
  • What would help you quit impulse shopping?

 

How Minimalism Saves Me Money

I found minimalism through a Ted talk, and I was immediately drawn to the simple way of life. I wasn’t expecting to save so much money – but it was a pleasant side effect. This is how minimalism saves me money.

How Minimalism Saves Me Money

Intentional Shopping

I stopped impulse shopping and became more intentional with my purchases. This was a massive wake-up call, as I had never realized until this point how much I was spending on little impulsive purchases. A coffee at Starbucks, a quick stop for snacks at Whole Foods, and a drink with a friend at night can easily add up to $40 in a day of money I didn’t need to spend.

When I became more intentional with my purchases, I also learned more about sustainability. I quit purchasing fast fashion and started buying my necessary clothes from second hand stores. By creating a uniform, I saved even more money.

I Cut Out a Lot of Bills

When I adopted the minimalist lifestyle, I cut out everything that I didn’t need. I quit my cell phone plan and ran off wifi only. I cut out cable, I stopped drinking as much, and I cut back on extras like coconut waters and kombucha. I stopped renewing subscriptions I didn’t need like audible, spotify and other services that I could get for free. I quit my gym membership and started running and hiking outside, which I enjoyed more. I moved for cheaper rent, and I spent a lot more time with my family. How Minimalism Saves Me Money

I Sold My Extra Stuff

When I went through the decluttering process, I had a lot of clothes that I was getting rid of. I sold as many as I could. I had lots of purses and shoes, and I sold those too. I sold anything and everything that I wasn’t using regularly, and then I sold most of my furniture so that I could travel full time and live out of a backpack.

I Saved on Groceries

How Minimalism Saves Me MoneyI simplified my meals and started eating the same thing for breakfast every day. I would eat similar meals that required few ingredients, and I started flavoring my meals with spices instead of sauces. I stopped eating so many processed foods, stopped eating desserts regularly, and started buying less expensive wine. I started using a reusable water bottle so I wouldn’t need to buy bottled waters. I learned how to cook, which resulted in eating out less.

Minimalism has saved me so much money over the years, and this simplified way of life has allowed me to cut my living expenses drastically. I now travel the world full time and work completely online, which allows me more freedom than I could have ever had at my 9-5.

Your Turn!

  • How has minimalism saved you money?
  • Would you use any of these tips?

How Minimalism Made Me Rich

I’ve experienced so many benefits of a minimalist lifestyle – but one of them that attracts so many newbies to the minimalist movement is the ability to save a ton of money. These are five ways that minimalism made me rich:

How Minimalism Made Me Rich

1. I Stopped Spending Money On Stuff I Didn’t Need

Pre-minimalism, I’d spend insane amounts of money every month on things that I didn’t need. I’d stock up on cheap jewelry from Forever 21, random decor from Target, and tons of tops that I decided later that I didn’t like. Now, I go to the store with a plan and only buy what I need.

2. I Got My Time BackHow Minimalism Made Me Rich

I stopped going out to eat or get drinks with friends who weren’t benefitting my life. I realized I had so many “let’s get drinks” friends, but the people in my life who truly added value were those close relationships. I saved heaps of money by cutting out the “let’s get drinks” friends and spending time primarily with my close friends and family. The bonus was that I didn’t tend to spend a lot of money when I’d spend time with those close to me.

 

3. I Started Working For Myself

I started a side hustle which turned into a (mostly) full-time gig. I started earning money from various sources and all of that added up to a substantial income. Not only is this type of work more flexible (time-wise and income-wise), I have the ability to do it from anywhere. Having an online business usually means low overhead costs, flexible schedules, and the ability to scale your income.

4. I Travel Full Time

It’s a common myth that travel is super expensive. In the last two years of traveling full time, I have spent less per month than I would spend living in the United States. The United States is an expensive, first world country; a lot of the countries that I visit are much less expensive. I lived in Thailand like a queen for $700 a month. Living for less means that more money goes into savings.

How Minimalism Made Me Rich

5. My Lifestyle Became More Sustainable

Aside from having a side hustle (which turned full-time), saving money on things I didn’t need, and being more flexible with where I live, I’ve also gained more money from minimalism because of the little lifestyle changes I’ve made. I have simplified my meals, cut out unnecessary foods from my diet (I’m looking at you, sugar), and simplified my daily life (which cuts back on spontaneous meals out). By making little changes to the way I live, I’m able to save heaps of money every month.

These are just five ways that minimalism made me rich. Becoming a minimalist helped me easily change my lifestyle, figure out what I want out of life, and save tons of money.

Your Turn!

  • How has minimalism made you wealthier?

6 Things We Gave Up to Get Out Of Debt

In order to get our consumer debt paid off, my husband and I had to be willing to give up some things. We had to consider what aspects of our spending behavior we needed to change so that we could hit our goal as quickly as possible.

Here are the six things that we decided to give up in order to help us pay off our debt:

“Browsing” at our favorite stores:

The more time I spent browsing, the more I realized that there were items out there that I didn’t even know I “needed” and ended up buying. When I did our spending analysis at the beginning of our debt journey, what I found were my weaknesses for Target and the drugstore. That’s where I tended to get into the most amount of trouble when it came to spending impulsively.

I quickly realized that if we were going to get out of debt, browsing in those stores wasn’t something that I could be doing any more as too much money was getting wasted on items I didn’t need.

Shopping without a list:

Whenever I shopped without a list, my focus was easily diverted to all of the other things that I might “need”. In order to cut back on the amount we were spending, we learned that we needed to not only shop with a list, but stick to the list.

Shopping with a list included more than just groceries. When we need clothing, or anything else for that matter, I’ll do an inventory of what we have and then come up with a list of what we need so that when we go into the store we are not as easily distracted and wasting money on items that we don’t need right now.

New clothes:

Instead of shopping at the regular retail outlets, we now shop for new-to-us clothes at the thrift store. In doing so we have saved a lot of money, cutting our clothing budget in half. In order to save even more money, my favorite day to shop at the local thrift store is on their 50% off day.

Convenience food:

One of the biggest ways we saved on our grocery budget was to give up many of those convenience foods that are pre-made or pre-packaged. Many of these processed or pre-made foods tend to be overpriced and you can do it yourself for a lot cheaper. We make our own bread, pancake mix, hot cocoa mix, side dishes, and pizza. Not only is it just and easy to make these things, it’s also comforting to know exactly what’s in it.

Free time:

In order to get our debt paid off, we were also willing to give up some of our free time to generate an extra income, giving us more money to throw into our debt snowball. Both my husband and I have our respective “side hustles” that allow us to use our talents or interests to earn even more money.

Living life without a budget:

budget money

Living on a budget focused our spending and allowed us to gain control of our money. Having a plan for our money allowed us to see how much we needed to live and get by and then how much money was left that we could throw at our debt. Once we got on a written monthly budget, we truly felt as if we had gotten a raise because we were now telling our money where to go instead of wondering at the end of the month, where it went.

Your Turn!

  • What are you willing to give up to get out of debt?

 

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