I grew up with a minimalist Dad and Mom during my childhood. Although my life is full of more ‘stuff’ these days, the value of simplicity still remains. I don’t live beyond my means and I don’t carry a credit card balance… that’s a skill these days! So how can you start saving money in the New Year? Here are a few tips and tricks that I use:
#1: Stop getting flyers sent to your house!
Our homemade “No Flyers Please” sign evaporated last winter in the wind and snow and suddenly we were getting huge stacks of flyers in our mailbox every week. Just for fun I opened up the 2 inch pile and began browsing through. All of a sudden I found a ton of things that I wanted! Those fancy coloured flyers with “rock bottom sales” informed me that it was only a weekend deal, so I had better get down there and buy those bathroom accessories! I would have been stupid not to buy at these prices. “Yeah… I could use brand new towels… sure I have enough towels, but these ones are fluffier!” I couldn’t wait to hand my money over.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. IT’S BULLSHIT. It’s all fucking bullshit marketing that makes me think I need things that I absolutely do no need! GET RID OF THE FLYERS!! DO NOT LET THE MARKETERS INTO YOUR HOME!
#2: As Britney Spears says, “You better work, bitch.”
Who would have thought I would ever take advice from Britney Spears? I just watched a movie that had this catchy song in it. “You want a Lamborghini? Sippin’ martinis? Look hot in a bikini? You better work bitch.”
Okay, okay, so I don’t care about Lamborghinis. But I do care about having enough money to buy quality food, red wine, and keep my Toyota Matrix going. When a big car repair bill comes in, I want to make sure I have some money tucked away for this unexpected expense. How? Work a few extra hours and open up a savings accounts, one that you cannot use your bank card to pull the money out of. Throw 10% of your cheque into this account every single paycheque. Don’t have enough funds to do that? You better work, bitch.
#3: Start Cooking.
Keep track of how much money you spend on eating out. Seriously, calculate it. (Calculate the last 6 months of eating out that you have on your credit card statements… this doesn’t even include the cash you pay.) Now, just allocate half of that much for eating out. I know, I know, you love eating out! I also love eating out! I’m not giving it up completely. I’m just downsizing. Just put half of the amount you typically spend in restaurants and throw it in a mason jar at the beginning of the month. Label it, “Eating Out Extravaganza!!” and use only that amount. When the jar is empty, stay in and cook.
If you’re half of the DINK duo (Double Income, No Kids), first of all CONGRATULATIONS! And second of all, fuck you. Just kidding. (Sorta.) I realize that some of you just haven’t conceived or adopted yet; this suggestion isn’t geared towards you. But, if you are in this kind of relationship by choice and you’re both making a decent income, then you might have a financial jump on us parents. But if you are dept (whatever the reason; bad investments, expensive vacations, etc..), take a look at where you are living. Do you own a huge house? Are there only a two of you? Maybe a fur baby included? Ask yourself, do you need a huge house? Why not downsize to a small cozy home? Pay your mortgage off faster and get to financial freedom! I have many DINK friends who live in large homes. Hey, whatever floats your boat… but this is a blog about how to save money. This is exactly how Mark and I lived when it was just the two of us and it allowed us to save a lot more. So there’s my suggestion for you.
#5: Do some soul searching.
Yes, marketers are geniuses at getting us to buy things, but in the end, you need to find happiness through things that don’t cost money. Listen to some free meditations online and ask yourself the hard questions. If you aren’t happy, why not? How do you define happiness… through ‘stuff’ or through a peace in your heart and mind that money can’t buy. Search your soul, my friend. Take a long walk, sit on a bench and start figuring it out. It doesn’t cost a penny to ponder your life and the choices you’re making. Create a life of gratitude. Money can’t buy that!
If you want more ideas and a better understanding of being a minimalist, check out these guys: http://www.theminimalists.com/
I just watched their documentary on Netflix, an excellent motivator for the new year!
Have a happy and healthy 2017 everyone!!