You want to save money, but you are unwilling or unable to give up those little pleasures in life that will help you save money. It may be that you are stubborn or your significant other is stubborn. Either way, there are items in your life that you just refuse to downsize. Relax. There are still little ways to save money when you’re not ready to just give up those little pleasures.
That Soda Addiction
If you have anyone in your household who drinks soda like they breath air, you know there is no point in not buying soda. The main reason for this is because the person in question will go out and buy soda when you aren’t with them. Not only that, the soda will be from a vending machine so it will be more expensive. Instead of trying to cut off your soda expense entirely, try a few of the following tips. Try store brand soda. Many store brands taste as good as the name brands. Also try buying your soda in 2 liter bottles. Keep them cold and well capped when not in use and it’s less likely they will go flat. Perhaps you can gradually reduce your soda intake without anyone having a meltdown.
Fast Food Favorites
Sometimes you don’t go out for fast food because it’s convenient. Sometimes you go out for fast food because you crave a certain dish. Instead, try making it yourself. Often it will taste better and be made from higher quality ingredients. It will save you in gas and in fast food costs and most likely the amount of money you would’ve used to buy fast food will result in more meals. Also, consider keeping similar tasting foods around the house. Sometimes it’s not the taste of the food we crave. Instead it’s an ingredient that your mind equates with that food. Figure out what that ingredient is and find a more cost effective and healthy substitute. It may take some time for your mind to readjust, but it will be well worth it.
Shop around for better priced packages for internet, cable, or phone service. If you find something, check to see if your preferred company will match the price. See if you can get rid of channels that you don’t use. Find games that don’t require a subscription. Some games even have suitable generics that are free. Shop around to make sure you’re getting the best price on your entertainment.
Not to be over dramatic, but payment plans are the chains that bind us to the floor of uncertain financial life. They should be avoided at almost all costs. There are many benefits that go along with this point of view.
Peace of Mind
I may not have the latest car model. My furniture isn’t off the show room floor. What I do have is peace of mind. Nothing that I need can be repossessed. I don’t have to have full insurance in order to own something. I don’t need to worry about what can act as collateral when I decide to buy an item because I don’t need to apply for a loan. It does take me longer to get the things that I want, but once I have them they belong to me.
Lower Monthly Costs
I don’t buy items using a payment plan and as a result I don’t have monthly payments. This keeps my monthly expenses down by hundreds of dollars. I also don’t have to have full insurance coverage on certain assets unless I choose to. In addition to this, I don’t have to worry about pay dates or late fees. It also makes weekly budgeting shorter and less stressful.
Less Buyer’s Remorse
For me buyer’s remorse happens two ways. Either I pay too much in full for something I shouldn’t have and it lasts a day or two. At most this type or buyer’s remorse is gone in a month. The other kind of buyer’s remorse lasts as long as it takes to pay off the item I purchased. With payment plans that could be years. I would consider selling or returning items and sometimes that works out for me. However, you can never sell for purchase price of the item, so there will be a loss there. In the end it effects my confidence when making the next purchase of a similar product. Which is good in one way, then I learn from my mistake. But to you, I hope you don’t have to learn the hard way!
When I look around my home I like to see if I can find another purpose for the items that I already have. It save me money because most of the items I have don’t cost too much to begin with, are easy to find at thrift stores, and can have multiple uses.
Lemon Grass and Citronella Candles
These wonderful little candles have a fairly decent smell, can set the mood for a nice chat with your significant other on a moonlit night, and keep the bugs at bay. What could be better than that?
Depending on the herb you pick, herbs can be used for decoration, upkeep of health, or simply for seasoning food. Some can even be a fun treat for your pet, such as catnip.
I love trays for all sorts of reasons. They can be decorative. They can be for eating, carrying things room to room, or a makeshift desk when on the bed or couch. They even make great book stands for those of us who like to read in the tub.
Flower Pots and Baskets
Flower pots aren’t just for flowers anymore. They can be used in crafts, for holding pens or pencils, and can be made to look decorative while being functional. Baskets are the same way. They can be used for storage of things such as toys that can be moved from one room to another and quick clean up after playtime is done. Or they can decorate the bathroom while holding spare washcloths, spare toilet paper, or just some reading material for those longer trips.
The best thing about cardboard rolls is that they come free with your toilet paper or paper towels. They aren’t just for children either. They can store art supplies such as paint brushes, crayons, colored pencils, and paper. They can store past drawings or paintings that aren’t contained in a pad or book. They can even be decorated with crafting duct tape and hung over a desk as a honey comb storage system. It’s great when one needs to find space vertically or just keep things out of a drawer exploring child’s hands.
What items do you own that serve two or more purposes?
Sometimes the best way to save money is to just to get stubbornly creative about it. There are many ways to get what you want or need without spending a dime more than you already planned to.
Make It Yourself
It’s not hard to flavor your own water. All you have to do is put a tea bag into to the water and let it sit in the fridge. My favorites are mint teas and fruit teas. You can save vegetable scraps to make soup stock. You can invest in a dehydrator to make your own dried fruit or jerky. If you are crafty, you can save fabric scraps to make blankets or yarn for children crafts. If you have objects that naturally stack (like plastic baby food containers) use those for toddlers to stack instead of pricey store toys you know your child will grow out of in a year.
Refuse To Pay
Don’t buy Facebook credits. Don’t frequent games you have to subscribe to. Don’t spend money on something you can get for free. This can include music, television, games, learning tools, and kids crafts. When it comes to these services you can find them for free online. They are also items that you can go without. Visit free sample sites (hello Freebie Felicia posts!) and request free samples often. These items work great for travel or emergency kits. Also check out freecycle.org and craigslist.org to see what items are being given away.
Collect store flyers and study them to know what you want and where you can get it discounted. Also sign up for Amazon local and Groupon. These two sites can give you a good idea of what discounted services are available in your area. Also check community boards and free community websites. They usually have a calendar that shows times and locations of free or discounted activities.
We all like to try to make sound investments, and sometimes those investments come in the form of stuff. When we make these types of investments it’s important to learn all we can about the item before we do so. It’s also important not to take on too overwhelming of a task.
When You Can Fix It
If you have the skill to fix a broken table or an old car, and it will be more cost effective than buying a slightly used or newer item, then by all means, get the item, fix it up, and proudly display it in your home. If you even know someone that has a restoring skill it’s worth looking into. You could end up with a very nice piece of furniture or car for very little money.
When You Have The Time
Flipping houses has become a bit of a money making venture for many people. It can be a very profitable venture as long as you don’t bite off more than you can chew. Always make sure your have the home inspected first and have the proper resources. Most of all, when you plan to do a good deal of the work yourself make sure you have the time. Factor in your work, family time, and recreational activities away from home. If you don’t you could end up with a second home that you just don’t have time to restore.
When You Can Sell It
We have heard the stories where someone sells a masterpiece at a garage sale for fifty cents. The story also can go the other way. People can and have spent hundreds of dollars on junk. When buying an old item with the intent to sell it again always try to be aware of what you have and what it’s worth before you buy or sell it. Do your research beforehand or take some time to reasearch a find before making the splurge.
It’s one thing to have a tight budget and be able to downsize. It’s quite another when you are on a tight budget and have nothing left to downsize. Don’t panic. Instead, keep your cool and get creative. Here are a few things that have saved me a bit of money when our budget has been tighter than usual.
Use your junk mail. Start clipping those coupons. Shop around to see if you can find a less expensive grocery store. Use pharmacy and grocery store reward cards. Buy generic brands of everything. Buy in bulk and build a surplus for a rainier day. Also, buy dry goods. It takes a whole lot longer for them to go bad.
Turn lights off and unplug the things that you are not using. Take sponge baths and a rinse to conserve water. Use sunlight during the day and electric lights only at night. Have cook free nights. Open windows when it’s too hot and use more clothing and blankets when it’s too cold rather than relying on climate control.
Keep track of your symptoms in very specific detail. Record what medications and in what quantity you or the patient has taken. If you need to go to the doctor knowing these things will possibly reduce the chance of you needing an expensive medical or lab test done. Keep all medical records in a safe place, particularly shot records. Find out what free or discounted medical care is available to you. Some places offer free vaccines for children. Others offer free prenatal vitamins for pregnant women. You can also find lower price clinics for routine female check ups. Be on the look out for cards that offer a discount at the pharmacy. I have often seen these in clinics and doctors offices.
What do you cut out when you have nothing else left to cut out of your budget?
Recently our family has discovered buying in bulk. For us this is a big advantage. When our budget is tight sometimes it helps to have a surplus of food and household goods. The best way for us to inexpensively build that surplus is to buy in bulk.
Some buy in bulk places cost more than others. Some are online with free shipping and will even get your order together for pick up. Some include basic packages as well as premium memberships. Some are as inexpensive as $45. Others cost $100 to join. Know if you want to include pharmacy perks, or if you want to add other people to the membership. While these perks are nice they may not be what you need.
Price Check and How Much
When buying in bulk check your prices. The object of buying in bulk is to get a large amount of what you want for a bargain price. Some bulk items could be a large amount for a bargain price. At the same time your product may be coming in a size that you won’t use. On the other hand you want to make sure you’re getting a quantity that you feel is worth the quality. The best way to do this is to take a calculator with you to break down what the price would be for individual units of your product. It also helps to research the price your product would be originally. Also know when to limit what you are buying. You will most likely never have too much toilet paper. The same can’t be said for eggs.
Don’t Buy What You Won’t Use
When you are just beginning with the idea of buying items in bulk sometimes you focus on the savings and not the product you are buying. This can result in you buying things that your family doesn’t eat or won’t use. It’s best to stick to the items that you know your family has used in the past.
What are your favorite items to buy in bulk?
We all want to get out of debt. It’s an evil monster that sucks at our resources and leaves us feeling trapped. What would we give up just to break free of it?
There are plenty of modes of transportation that don’t include gas money, insurance, or a car payment, not to mention the registrations, taxes, and potential legal fees. Depending on how far away you work and the weather there is walking and biking. For those who find the distance between work and home just a little too far, check out your local public transportation. Paying for the subway or a bus pass can cost much less than the expenses that go along with owning a vehicle. Also check to see if your medical offices include a pick up program. When you just have to have a car, try to have basic insurance and car pool when you can. At least you’ll be able to save gas money.
If you don’t need it, get rid of it. Get rid of the cable, the internet (okay, maybe not the internet but go with the cheapest version), and all those little internet subscriptions that go along with it. Cut out movie rentals and buying. In fact you can downsize the television if it reduces temptation and pay something off that came with the money from spending it. Give up going for dinner and the movies. Make your meal and talk at the dinner table instead. Visit free parks, pools, and activities. Give up the gym membership and enjoy jogging outdoors or doing yoga in your living room. These expenses may not seem like much, but they are little cuts in your budget bleeding your money out.
Things You Should Do Without Anyway
There are the items harmful to your nutrition. We can do without chips, candy, and soda. Pre-made and packaged food usually costs more than buying the ingredients which will make more than one meal and be healthier. For a while you can even cut part of your grocery bill by going meat free. Instead, get your protein from lentils, beans, and eggs.
Then there are the things that are addictive and bad for your health. Time to give up cigarettes and all things nicotine. Let go of that wine or beer. Instead drink water. It has more health properties than wine does anyway, and any health advantages you could get from wine you can get from eating the fruit instead.