Learn to save money and live a happier life
Use these money saving tips to relief the stress that comes along with being more frugal was not a decision that I thought much about a few years back. At that time both my wife and I had full-time jobs, paying good money, with benefits. Now things have changed a lot. Currently my wife works part-time in retail, which does not pay much or offer benefits, and I run a handyman business that has clients on and off; again not very stable as far as income goes.
With this new monetary condition we found ourselves in, we had no choice but to rethink every way we spend money.
A large part of frugality or money savings is adapting to a more minimalist lifestyle. This in no way means that you can not have a high quality lifestyle. It really means that you just need to narrow your choices and only own, eat, wear, and live what you truly love. Money often makes you think happiness can be bought. You really need to be a happy person with or without money. Money should only be used to lighten the burden of your current responsibilities.
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Here are some of the things that we changed in our life that has allowed us to not have to worry about money on an hour by hour basis. Some of these tips may help you also, so that you can enjoy more of life and maybe find that you appreciate the things that you do have a lot more. Worrying about how much money you have or don’t have will not give you a better life. These tips will help you out while you are in the process of finding ways to bring more money back into your life.
Money Saving Tips #1: Transportation
We had both been use to having newer vehicles when we both worked. At the time that our past jobs ended we had a small SUV, that we leased, and I had a mid-sized truck that was almost paid off. We still had 8 months left on the lease that we knew we could no longer afford. We were able to negotiate an early turn-in with only 1 month’s payment as a penalty. We got lucky and a family member was able to sell us one of their older cars for a great family discounted price. We kept the truck for my handyman business. We did get rid of all of our full coverage auto insurance and only carry the minimal.
Next, in this category we spend our Sunday’s planning out for the week where all that we need to drive so we can group the trips to save money on gas. We try never to just go out driving just to drive. It is important to learn to BATCH you driving needs.
We have also learned to walk and bike to more locations, which is good for our wallet and are aging bodies.
Money Saving Tips #2: Housing
Over the last 5 years has been one of the worst housing debacles in recent American history.
Unfortunately it affected us very closely. As I had already said, both my wife and I both lost our jobs with-in a short period of each other and we were not prepared to handle a financial situation such as this. We did end up losing our house that we had spent 5 years and almost $40,000 fixing up.
What we got out of all of this were a few lessons that other people may be able to use. First, and to us the most important thing, was we had to understand that material possessions do not define us or make us whom people love.
For a few years we rented a home, which allowed us to start to save some money and use more of our energy to build ourselves up instead of spending time working on our home. We did finally buy another home about 3 years ago. This time we bought a much less expensive home that is much easier to afford, maintain, and renovate.
Money Saving Tips #3: Material Items and Clothing
This issue is very difficult for many people to get a handle on. For me personally it was not an issue. I have never really been a person that thinks too much about items or clothing. I do like nice things but, I have learned really well over the years the big difference between wanting something and needing something. That being said, it was not as easy for my wife. She has never really spent a lot of money on any one thing, but it was difficult for her to not be able to just go and buy something on the spot because she thought she needed it right now.
After spending a lot of time fighting over stupid material items I think it just clicked one day with her and she came to realize that they really don’t have to hold power over you.
We now buy many more of our clothes second hand, we do not replace any electronics unless they just completely break and we can justify that we really do need them. Even then we still try to by some of them second had or see if any friends or family have some that don’t get used anymore.
What we have done is live a life with fewer items but with much more feeling and appreciation then we ever have.
Money Saving Tips #4: Food and Eating Out
We are both big time “FOODIES”. We love everything about cooking great food and eating great food. We use to go out to eat 2 or 3 times a week, we did not even realize how much money we were spending on food, when we were both working. Now, we only go out on special occasions. We have always been big cooks so learning to cook was not an issue. If this is a problem, do not worry. With a little time and a few simple cook books anyone can learn to cook good tasting home cooked meals.
Home cooking is where you will save the most money and in turn make yourself and your family much healthier. By learning to stick with the basics; fruit, vegetable, fresh meats, dairies, and good quality breads and grains, you will lower your grocery bill and feel physically better. Processed or prepared foods tend to much more money and contain things that no human should be consuming to much of.
We spend time on the weekend every week to plan out our meals, make a detailed shopping list and only buy from the list. This has cut our food shopping cost by more then 50% over the last year alone.
Money Saving Tips #5: Entertainment
This area is very different for different people because everyone’s interest very.
As for us, we both really enjoy using the internet, watching television, listening to music, playing games, working out, playing sports and jut hanging out with friends and family.
We had to make real sacrifices in a number of different areas to put money into different areas that we knew long term where more important.
The first thing we did was get rid of cable and home internet connection. The cable has not been completely missed anywhere as much as we thought it would be. We realized we spent more time watching standard stations then cable stations anyhow. The best thing is now we just watch much less television altogether. The much harder part for us has been the internet connection at home. A few years ago this may not have been as big of a deal but, now we run a web business in which we have numerous websites, we buy and sell items on line, and we do at least 10 hours or more of research per week. For us this was an easy solution, the public library. We have a beautiful public library that is only 1 mile from our house, which we do walk to so we can save on our driving cost.
I think the employees consider us regulars by this point. We spend a combined total of 20 to 30 hours per week at the library. The other benefits of using the library besides the free WIFI is they have a huge selection of Books, DVDs, audio books, magazines, & music that is either free or very cheap compared to other sources.
The next thing we did was to get back to doing the things we us to do more of when we were younger like bike ride, play games, and play sports that do not cost hardly anything and bring us together as a family.
Well, these were only 4 areas that we have had to make some major changes over the last few years in how we spend money and how we view our lives. It is very important to put your life in to prospective, be very honest with yourself about what you can afford, and instead of believing that the new pair of shoe will make you happy first believe that the family member sitting next to you will make you much happier.
By: Tom Corliss