My Wake Up Call to Stop Wasting Money
These last few months have given me a wake up call to stop wasting money. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a saver. However, since I’ve graduated college, I haven’t found that high paying job I was dreaming of, yet I still have to pay bills. It makes things difficult. The real wake up call was when my roommate left in the middle of our lease. I was working part time at a job I loved, while also working on building a side business not making a profit yet. I had to decide, if I was going to stick out my lease or beg for mercy, leave and damage my credit score. Luckily, I had a savings, which literally saved me until I found another part-time job.
Now God was definitely there with me through that time, helping keep me together when my anxiety was tearing me apart. He was also there before it all, when he gave me wisdom to plan ahead and keep saving. And He was definitely there, when I was able to find a new job so quickly. I had been searching for months and finally everything fell into place.
How I Stopped Spending Money on Unnecessary Things
Even before my roommate left, I was only able to save $100 or so, if I was lucky and no additional expenses were coming up. Most of savings came from my college financial aid days when I got large sums of money and didn’t have much bills to pay. Now there are bills and so many tempting treats to reward ourselves after those hard adulting days. Now that I see that hard work pay off, it makes me more motivated to keep saving and help others along the way. It’s actually fun for me to shop around and see if I can’t get a bargain. Even more fun is when I have something already that is given a new purpose, so I don’t have to buy anything at all.
How to Stop Buying Things You Don’t Need
It’s common to buy things that you don’t need. We all do it. We think it makes life more bearable. However, over time it becomes just another thing that controls us. Then it starts to make us feel bad with struggles of clutter, impulse buys, and buyer’s remorse. The key is to learning how stores trick you to keep the vicious cycle going. Over time it will become easier to say no and take back control of your mind and pocket book.
Stuff You Don’t Need But Really, REALLY Want
Annual Savings: About $1,200
Duh, I mean everyone always says this. Even when I had a roommate, we never got cable. I miss the recorded shows at times, but there are so many more affordable options that it’s worth it to wait a few extra days or until the end of the season. Plus, in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not that important. There are plenty of other reasons to get rid of your cable. Adults watch an average of 5.5 hours of TV a day. There are so many healthier and more beneficial things to do with your time and money.
If you decide to stop wasting money and cut the cable, be careful what you spend your money on as an entertainment replacement. There are plenty of services marketed towards cable-cutters. Sometimes, you need a mix to get all your favorite shows covered. If you decide to go without TV period, then replace it with activities that aren’t going to eat into the other parts of the budget. Here is a great article going over the savings from cable cutting and the options you might look into as a replacement.
Annual Savings: $1,700
Jeans and shoes (undergarments obviously) are the only I buy new these days. I’ve been wearing the same brand of jeans for 6 years and they’re the only fit I like. Shoes are kind of the same thing. I have bigger feet than the average size woman, so to find a practical, yet cute pair of my shoes in my size has yet to happen.
Eventually, if I move to a bigger city with more options, I’ll have better luck. For both these things, I usually receive a gift card for my birthday or Christmas. Or I tell someone what size and brand of jeans I wear and they’ll get them for me. Other than that, I only buy a few articles of clothing each year, when I just get bored of wearing the same thing, so many times.
Sometimes, I get some negative comments about my simplistic dress, but really, why I should I care? They don’t pay my bills or know my situation. Who are they to tell me what I should spend money on? Plus, did you know some of the most successful business people wear the same thing every day. They have the sense to realize there are much more important things in life than having the latest fashion accessories.
The American family spends $1,700 on clothes annually. While this only accounts for about 3.5 percent of the budget, it represents a much larger issue. In 1930, the average American woman owned nine outfits. Today, that figure is 30 outfits — one for every day of the month. Whhhhaaat? Not only is it wasting money, but time and effort sorting, collecting and disposing of all that. It’s just necessary, so stop wasting money and gain your freedom back!
Avoiding instant gratification is one of the most important rules of personal finance, and waiting 30 days to decide on a purchase is an excellent way to implement that rule.
Quite often, after a month has passed, you’ll find that the urge to buy has passed as well, and you’ll have saved yourself some money simply by waiting. If you’re on the fence about a purchase anyway, waiting a while can give you a better perspective on whether it’s truly worth the money.
Annual Savings: The sky’s the limit
Skip the new car, new clothes, appliances, and so much more. When you buy new things, you get wrapped in the value. I hate to tell you, it’s just stuff. In less it has a practical purpose in your life, get rid of it.
Your kid plays in the mud and ruins their clothes? Eh, it was only a couple of dollars. No biggie. We spend a lot of time worrying about those new, expensive things or how we’re going to keep up with the Jones’. Stop wasting money, time and energy on stuff. Instead, focus on making memories and living a better life.
Plus, when you buy used, when you don’t need it, you can just sell it for what you paid, sometimes more. New stuff depreciates instantly, used is a much better value.
Annual Savings: $170
These are free at the doctor’s office, you know? Just kidding, but in all seriousness, there’s a better way. Don’t buy full price magazines direct from the publisher, instead buy from a discount site. You can trade with friends, browse at the library or find magazine discounts.
This is my biggest weakness, but I’ve made great strides to stop wasting money in this area. There is huge benefits to cooking at home, for both your health and pocket book.
I used to spend about $200 on groceries and about the same on eating out. Eating is my favorite thing and after a long day all I want is a mushroom swiss burger. There are a few ways I’ve been able to cut back.
One, my mom helps me with pre-cooked meals, this has a made a huge difference. Even, if you don’t have a mom as awesome as mine, you can make your life way easier and make your own. When I worked less, I spent the weekend making breakfast or lunch for the next few weeks. This helped make eating at home easier.
Annual Savings: $857
Sometimes I’m shocked about how much money I waste on monthly subscriptions. Sometimes, these are monthly services, such as Netflix or a newspaper, but monthly box subscriptions are becoming more common. And the thing about those boxes is, what do you do with the products you don’t like or can use? Throw them away? Probably. Or maybe they sit around and collect dust. The average America spends about $857 on monthly subscriptions.
One of my favorite frugal activities, is to research cheaper ways to do something. Often there are free services or cheaper services than can accomplish the same as those with monthly fees.
If you’re a cable cutter, your savings could be eaten up with streaming services.
You can stop wasting money and subscribe to one service at a time. You don’t really need to subscribe to all the streaming channels at once. If you have Netfix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, you’re paying roughly $25 a month. If you drop Amazon Prime, you could save $99 a year. If you drop Hulu or Netflix, you could save $95.88 a year. Tip: Hulu allows you to put your subscription on hold. So if you find yourself having less time for binge-watching, try suspending your Hulu account until you have more time for it and save yourself that dough.
Skip the latte
Annual savings: $949 (plus taxes!)
People get upset when this subject comes up. While, buying a specialty drink once and again isn’t that big of a deal, buying one every day adds up. And poor spending habits isn’t based solely on this, it usually indicates a bigger problem. A medium latte at Starbucks costs $3.65. If you stop by every day before work, that adds up So, suffer through the free coffee at work and think instead of the new kitchen where you can create your own coffee bar.
These are some basic tips to help you think about how you are spending and find areas you can cut back on. Sure life is short, but it’s much more enjoyable, if you’re not stressed out every month. Find your own ways to stop wasting money. Make it fun and challenge yourself. It’s fun to hunt for that perfect outfit, but finding a frugal way to do is even better. Don’t think about it as having to give something up because really you’re gaining a much more peaceful and worry-free future!
How to Stop Wasting Money on Food
The other thing that has helped is cutting down on my shopping trips. I joined a local community supported agriculture group. Each week I get a share of vegetables. I go to the store once a month and get a month’s worth of meat, dairy and toiletries to go with it. This saves me tons of times and keeps me from wasting money on treats and other things I don’t need.
When it comes to saving money on groceries, the biggest tip I can give is to get organized and minimize shopping trips. If you’re interested in really getting serious about reducing food waste, check out these article jam packed with tips to reduce food waste.
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