Thursday, April 5, 2012

10 Unusual Ways I Save Money (So I Can Spend My Cash on More Important Things)

People tend to have a lot of habits that they waste their money on.  These may not be very expensive habits--you may not be buying a new car every year or gambling away your retirement fund--but a slow drain on your wallet will have the same result, namely all of your money going to things you can't even remember meanwhile, you miss out on the opportunity to spend your hard-earned cash on things that can make a positive impact on your future (or at least help you face TEOTWAYKI with a whole host of cool gear).  Here's ten unusual ways I save money each month:

  1. I don't have cable TV.  I bought a $20 digital antenna from Walmart, plugged it into my TV, and I receive about 20 stations free over the air.  That's more than enough TV for me.
  2. I don't have a smart phone.  I had one for a while but got tired of always being connected (and got tired of the big monthly fee for a combo call/text/data plan).  Now I pay $30 a month and have a basic cell phone which still allows me to access the internet if necessary (albeit very slowly compared to the warp speed of my old smart phone).
  3. I don't have a home phone.  My cell phone works just fine.
  4. I don't subscribe to Netflix or other movie services.  I go to the library and check out a dozen movies at a time which, again, is plenty of entertainment (and most of the movies are new too!).
  5. I don't have internet at home.  Actually the place we live currently has an iffy community wifi signal but I tend to do most of my work at a coffee shop or at the library, both of which provide free internet.  Since the internet was invented, I have been "connected" 24/7 but after traveling for a year and a half, I realized that I enjoy not being so connected.  I do, however, enjoy reading and doing shop projects which I now have plenty of time for.
  6. We have one vehicle, bought new, paid for with cash, and we will drive it until it dies. Literally.  This saves money on interest, the cost of continuous monthly payment, and as the vehicle gets older, registration and insurance costs drop dramatically.
  7. Since my wardrobe is no longer business professional but tends more towards hippy traveler, I tend to shop at the Goodwill and Walmart.  I haven't been to a mall in a couple of years and don't miss it at all.
  8. We eat at home almost all the time.  Aside from the occasional meal out, we tend to cook from scratch and eat nearly all of our meals at home--a much healthier and cheaper alternative to the daily drive-thru.
  9. I don't do subscriptions. No newspaper subscription (read it online), magazine subscription (ditto), gym membership (go outside for a walk)...basically anything that was a recurring payment besides necessities (like electricity) got the ax.
  10. We've ratcheted the lifestyle way back.  When we shed our house, cars, and nearly everything we owed more than a year ago so we could travel for a year or two, we shed our entire lifestyle.  No longer do we shop for entertainment, gatherings are potluck instead of me footing an extravagant restaurant bill, gift giving has been scaled back, and we have gone minimalist in almost all areas of our lives (note that if we hadn't spent so much money on consumer crap over the past few decades I would have more than a million dollars in the bank).
Now there are a bunch of things I do like to splurge on--travel, firearms, educational opportunities, etc--but at least now I am in control of my money instead of just spending like "everyone else" so I could "keep up with the Joneses".  Most importantly, I don't miss the things listed above, things that "everyone" considers a basic necessity.  And of course, your expenses may vary depending on a number of factors, but the more control you have over your finances, the more opportunities you can create for yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment