We spend a lot of time here talking about ways to over come personal challenges; regret, job dissatisfaction, house cleaning… you name it! How about our biggest day-to-day challenge then – saving our precious pennies. Despite having a great economy, the people of our country continue to struggle with personal debt and the burden of loans and checks. We argue that our minimum wage isn’t high enough, school is too expensive, and the cost of living is soaring in comparison with flatlining wages. What are we going to do?!
An issue we face in our country is the low threshold o f services for people who do not make a lot of money. Even the cost of public transit is getting unaffordable to those who need it most, never mind the cost of raising a child. There are ways of surviving however, that most people have a hard time seeing due to habit or lifestyle. Let’s check out a few sneaky options today.
The rich get rich by living like they are poor. The poor stay poor by living like they are rich
1. Keep your lifestyle in check.
If you are not making enough money to support a surplus of expenditures, you need to be humble enough to realize it. That means cutting out the cable packages, buying cheaper makeup, and spending less time eating out. If you have impulsive shopping traits, or love retail therapy, you should start to train yourself to enjoy smaller things (no more Gucci handbags!). If you like customizing your life but find it to be too expensive, do it slowly and in smaller portions. Try homemade soaps, book giveaways and student discounts to satisfy your individuality. Ask your network of friends for things to spruce up your home instead of doing heavy shopping.
2. Stop eating out (full service restaurants).
We all need a break from cooking and like to be seen, but cutting out your daily or weekly drink or night out is huge monthly savings. Give yourself a day a month for “entertainment” : as in, eating out somewhere. You will love the release when it’s that special day – make a night of it!
3. Stop eating out (casually).
If you have a habit of picking up a sub on the way to work or eating that expensive salad for lunch from the local food court, you need to start packing a lunch. Remember that a $10 lunch a day is $300 a month. This is what might be your entire monthly grocery bill if you just shop for the home! You will see huge savings if you start packing a lunch, and your friends will be impressed with your savvy life skills.
4. Defeat the “Latte effect” .
If you haven’t seen it in economic news, let me bring you up to spe ed on the savings-killer that is the “Latte effect.” It simply refers to the groups of people who pick up a Starbucks or similar brand coffee on the way to work each day. Again, another $5 expenditure that amounts to hundreds of dollars per month. Brew coffee from home and take it with you. You need to be strong enough to change your routines, if you want to actively save money.
5. Use public transit.
Some people swear against using the bus, underground, or metro rail, for any number of reasons. Maybe you think it’s for kids, or you rely too much on your car. But against an expensive economy, we all know that cars are meant for those with plenty of disposable income. We can talk about upfront costs, insurance bills, winter tires, damages, etc, well, you know how it is! Cars are expensive. Think about the incredible savings you might be able to make if you just sucked up your pride an d took the tram. You could make a few thousand of the sale of your vehicle, and the monthly savings will be immeasurable.
6. Eat cheap foods.
Stop buying the fancy rice – it’s just rice. Stop buying excessive condiments and learn how to use salt when you cook. Buy foods that are vital to your health, not in excess or for pleasure. That’s those $3 boxes of cookies, $6 bags of trail mix, $5 boxes of cereal; opt for breads and dips, cheaper deli meats and pork instead of beef. Your body can’t tell the difference between the foods and tastes once you ‘ re full, but your wallet sure can!
7. Shop online.
When you shop at a mall or store, things will be more expensive because a lot of the price you pay is also paying for huge monthly rents and labour for the company. Shop online using Chinese sites like www.AliExpress.com or www.Amazon.com. You can find millions of independent sellers offering cheaper wares at competitive prices that can be simply shipped to you. Sunglasses, bags, clothes, housewares, decor and even food can be found for cheaper than at the store, and you don’t have to worry about travel costs or your valuable time on your day off either.
8. Don’t make alcohol or smoking a habit
This one can get personal, but it’s up to you to define your life. Smoking is an expensive habit unless you live in a developing country, and alcohol most certainly is. A drink or two a day could be hundreds of dollars a month. Instead of alcohol, keep soda water or Diet Cola at your home to have something bubbly to drink instead; and quit smoking – it’s not good for you, period.
9. Learn to love what you have.
Instead of spending so much time shopping for new things, find ways to enjoy your older possessions. Styles and habits come and go every few years – those old jeans or shirts that you think look funny now, will be pretty cool again in a few years. Keep them around and be able to sport them in the future. Find new ways to wear the styles you have now by matching them with different accessories and colours to keep your styles fresh. It’s not about what you’re wearing, it’s about how you wear it!