WARNING: Unsolicited post about money forthcoming.
Just thought I’d offer that up as this topic can be touchy. Please, please read or don’t read; these are just my ideas intended to get your ideas churning as well.
Having gotten that out of the way though, I’ll be honest, I’m stoked for this post. That’s because I’m pumped about my latest financial goal and sharing this with you guys is a way to keep that excitement top of mind.
To start, it helps me to have a couple of guiding principles no matter how big or small the goal. 1) As much as possible, I try to spend less money on the things I buy rather than taking them away entirely. Just like with a diet, if it’s too restrictive for too long, it’s going to result in a binge. 2) No amount of money is too small to save. It’s true that saving $1 here and $2 there isn’t going to make me a millionaire, but the mindset that every dollar matters just might.
I’ve also found it’s true what they say - a budget is a must. How in the world can I know how to get where I’m going without a map and a plan? It can be daunting at first, sure, but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it.
And now for some specifics.
Reusables. These have the dual benefit of helping your budget and also the environment. Win, win! Potential candidates? Anything used only once or a few times, and then thrown away.
Paper towels - I got in the habit over the years of using paper towels for all of my cleaning. Then I spent $1 on a stack of washcloths and now I use those instead almost exclusively.
Sponges - They make washcloths with a scrubby side (who knew?) - that, plus allowing stuck-on stuff to soak for a bit, has negated my need for sponges at all.
Plastic storage bags - Granted the reusables need to be rinsed/washed after use, but I no longer need to purchase the one-time-use ones at all so, worth it.
Cleaning supplies. I’ve got to agree with the zeitgeist on this one, guys. There’s not much you can’t do with vinegar, baking soda, and Dr. Bronner’s (or blue Dawn). Hand to heart.
Food and coffee. I know, I know, it’s been said ad nauseam, but for me this step is key: eat at home (cook at home, even better) and make your own coffee. With good beans and the right grinder, you can make a cup that blows Starbucks away anyway.
Also key? Avoiding food waste; a struggle for me as I tend to overbuy - still - for one person. (I am a sucker for all the great stuff at the farmer’s market!) But, I’ve learned to rotate my fridge and eat what’s getting ready to go bad first, and I utilize the heck out of my freezer.
Miscellaneous. My guess is that we all have stuff on which we spend mindlessly. For me, it’s usually stuff I enjoy, but when I look back over a month or so I think, how the heck did I spend that?!?
eBooks - A curse on you Amazon 1-click(!), which used to be my downfall until I discovered eBooks from the library. No need to leave the comfort of my home and I can read books for free! Patience is sometimes required, however, for newer or more popular books.
Clothes - This is where I spend a lot - it’s kind of my thing - but when I’m really in saving mode, I’ll dig in the back of my closet and re-mix pieces to make a “new” outfit. I’ll also buy a new necklace or other accessory to make an outfit I already have feel new. Not only does it prevent me from spending too much, it’s also fun and lets me be creative.
Target - The bane of the wallet for many of us. My only solution is that I just don’t go there unless I have to; once a month tops, and I stick to a list. Then I look at home catalogs for my browsing fix. Heck, I can’t stop them from coming no matter how many times I ask anyway.
Parking - Even if it’s a dollar folks, I hate paying for parking, and if I can avoid it by street parking or parking an extra block or so away I will do it every time. Parallel parking is a life skill that has unassumingly saved me countless dollars over the years.
And if you’ve gotten this far, thanks for indulging me! I’ll keep you posted on my progress and if this has sparked something for you, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for yours as well.