Tag Archive | how to not spend money

Spending Less-on

This month (Feb) we have decided to “try” to reduce our spending. The reason for this is vehicle insurance. It is outrageously high, and in order to avoid paying extra fees, my husband likes to pay it all at once, rather than making monthly payments.

In order to do this, we take money out of savings twice a year for two different vehicles.

This time around, since it is my van that we are insuring, I said no. We’re not taking money out of savings to pay this. I felt that it must be possible to survive all month on our cash and money in the chequing account. This was an experiment for both of us. For Ernie, it was completely out of his thinking, and for me, it was a reminder of how I wanted to do things.

Half way through the month of February, our spending on food is at $84.  We do actually, have a secret. We have a large garden from which we harvest 90% of our vegetables. We also harvest our own fruit — raspberries, apples, strawberries and buy in season blueberries and freeze them. So this goes a long way to helping us save money on food. But it can be done without a garden.

It’s important to understand that most people spend money and time on many things that they don’t really want. Little things add up and end up creating big results. This occurs in areas that we don’t like or want as well as in those we do. Spend a whole bunch of money on things you don’t need, like processed food and junk food and without realizing it you end up malnourished and broke (an exaggeration obviously, but you get the idea). Spend two hours a day on social media and you have wasted hours and hours of your precious life over a month or year doing something useless at the expense of actually making a difference.

Instead of buying crap to eat, which is usually a single serving or snack anyway, you could put $2 a day in a jar from your pocket or wallet and you have $730 at the end of the year. We are doing just this. We started with the jar on November 29th and now have $154.00.

Within a year, I will have my laptop, and with no difficulty to us during any specific month.

Spend a half an hour a day writing (or doing whatever it is you like to do) and eventually you will have an article or a book. But most people spend that time easily on social media or buying crap to fulfill simple and immediate cravings.

I believe this is mostly because humans have difficulty with things that take a long time. We all want instant results for everything we do.

Well, I for one will no longer be participating in this type of thinking.

Sometimes doing something other than what the masses are doing seems impossible. How can we stop wasting time doing useless stuff if everyone else is doing it to? After all there is so much important stuff to see and keep up with.

This month, I have started asking myself, before I do anything on the computer, is what I am going to do important to me or help me move towards my goals? If not, I don’t do it, no matter how much I am drawn to it (i.e. FB — the draw to check social media is strong. I have found I can overcome it by using the method above).

By spending less on food, we are also accomplishing a great deal. The most important thing being having to actually THINK to create good quality meals out of what we already have and what we are able to creatively buy. It is like puzzle, seeing how little you can spend and create something new and interesting to eat.

By doing what is best for me I am automatically not doing what everyone else is doing. When you do your own thing, likely in no way will it be the most common route. It will be unique by default, even if you occasionally need to use social media to accomplish that.

I challenge anyone reading this to give something up that you think might be keeping you from accomplishing something of importance in your life. Start small and see what happens. Life is more interesting and creative this way. We’ll see how it goes for us by the end of February. Let us know what you are changing for yourself if anything.

Advertisements

ONE Tip For Redecorating Without Spending

We have two pink sitting chairs. Well, three if you count the one we gave to my aunt because we had no room for it. We actually bought the third one at a yard sale because it was the same kind as one we already have. We thought we could use it upstairs in front of the TV up there.

Turns out we didn’t.

This happens a lot, or HAPPENED a lot to us before we clued in to what we were doing. I have to say here that I have always been a frugal advocate, but somehow, as I have said in another blog post, I got a little lost.

Turns out we were buying things left and right and not realizing it.

Then came the chair issue. The two pink chairs in the sitting room are ugly and don’t really look good there. Both were in this house when I moved in. But when I figured out our recent spending habits were not sustainable, I decided that the chairs HAD to stay, no matter what they looked like.

After I had committed to keeping the chairs, I was starting to get a back ache from sitting the the one I usually sit in. It is not a lounging chair, just a temporary sitting chair. The one Ernie sits in is a recliner and very comfortable, even though it is pink.

So we switched the pink chair I was using for the black leather recliner that we had bought for Ernie several years ago that was in the other room.  We don’t need a new chair. Even though the black chair is leather (which actually prevents dog hair from sticking to it), and has some small tears and extra folds we are NOT GETTING A NEW CHAIR.

So the one redecorating tip is to just move stuff around, adding only things that you already have.

It is so easy to think that you need something new to fix a problem.

You probably have something in your house right now like that. It’s something that you don’t really like, is in too good of shape to get rid of it but you still feel it is out of place.

It started when I was a kid.

When I was a kid I used to rearrange my parents basement furniture and put things on the walls to decorate the area. My parents were not going to buy new stuff for the basement. But we had to play there and enjoy the place, so I decorated it.

I just simply moved stuff around until it looked fresh and interesting.

I did that again when I was living at my parents house and was in university. Redecorating weekly and sometimes daily was kind of like meditation for me. I didn’t BUY anything unless it was from a yard sale and under $1, I just used what we already had. This included dried flowers I made from our garden flowers and stuff I pulled from boxes that was stored.

So the lesson of this post is what many of you frugal and homesteading people already know. You don’t necessarily need to throw money at something to fix it. Just use your imagination.

Happy Homestead Redecorating Without Spending!

 

 

M is for Meaningful.

Since we got back from our “vacation” we have drastically reduced our spending. This is part of how I have always wanted to live anyway so it is not much of a problem.

I think I have explained in past blog posts that we prefer to spend money on things that are important to us and not just willy nilly on everything for a quick fix. This is very easy to do sometimes, and is mostly just a bad habit.

In case you haven’t already guessed, M also stands for money, in this post anyway.

One of those things we buy for a quick fix is eating restaurant meals. When we make a regular trip to the city for supplies in the past we have purchased a meal there. This was done completely for convenience since we would be there at the same time as we would normally have lunch or supper.

Just for fun, or to torture ourselves, I have calculated the amount of money we have spent over one year on fast food when we were away from home. I was able to do that because Ernie keeps a daily journal of what we do, eat, etc. and has done so for three years.

We averaged $80 a month.

Some places are more expensive than others but in general a meal for two people is pretty much $20 – $25 each time. If we had a take out meal at home (purchased in our village) that would be added on as well. I did not include convenience foods that were included in a grocery purchase simply because I did not have that info.

This amount and habit is unacceptable to me, so we stopped buying food in restaurants and any extra convenience food items. Now, some people WANT to buy meals out, and reap great benefits from that (this is different for everyone), which is fine. However, for us it is not that important to do on a regular basis. It has always been my belief that (unless you are independently wealthy) you can’t buy everything you see. You have to weight how much benefit you get for something over how much it “costs” you.

Actually, even if someone has lot of money to spend, it could be considered irresponsible to buy a bunch of things just for the sake of buying, convenience, or just because one can. Purchases that are well thought out (to me) are much more satisfying and useful. And less impactful on our earth.

I feel life is more about experiences than buying things, and I’m sure many of you reading this feel the same way as well. Sure, if you want to experience travelling to different countries you’ll need money, or to experience staying at a first class resort.

The way I like to look at it is these things are worthwhile if they are meaningful experiences. If they are, then great. But if they are just for relaxing and pleasure because you work too hard, or if they are for bragging about, then they are likely not meaningful experiences.

IMG_1684

So back to the original point of this post.

We stopped spending money on food in restaurants because it is more meaningful to us to eat our own food that we prepared at home.

There may be an occasion for buying a meal at a restaurant at some point, but for us the regular habit of it is gone. We will take the time to make food at home before we go anywhere, and then save the money for a more meaningful experience later on.

I admit it takes more planning and a bit of organization to get it done, not to mention the time. For me though, time spent making and growing our own food is one of the reasons I am a homesteader, so again it is not an issue.

Getting out of the habit of buying what you think of will immediately “solve your problem” is the most difficult part. It requires desire to change and live differently. It was something that we felt we had to do. Again, not everyone will feel this way about spending money on meals, but there may be something else. What is a meaningful experience for you that you spend money on?

Happy Homesteading.