Like most Americans the recession has really taken a toll on our check book. We’ve been trying to cut back on the amount we spend, and find deals on the things we have to have. Over the past few months I’ve simplified my life and tried to change my life to one that doesn’t revolve around buying “stuff.” I’m in a much better place now (more relaxed, less clutter and s few bucks in the bank), and I thought I would share a few things I did to get here:
1. Get rid of your credit cards and pay with cash. You will be AMAZED at how much cash is left over when you get rid of the swipey things.
2. If you are looking for something specific set up a search on slickdeals. Tell slickdeals to e-mail you each time the item you want to buy is mentioned, and compare the deals over the course of a few weeks. When you see a good deal pounce on it!
3. Take a coupon class with southern savers. The $10 class we took paid for itself the first time we went to CVS and the grocery store!
4. Learn to make creative and fun meals at home. Eating out is expensive and you would be amazed how often you will eat at home when your meals taste just as goo as the fancy restaurant in town (you can use allrecipes to find delicious meals).
5. When you cook too much food vacuum seal the rest and freeze it. My foodsaver paid for itself within the first six months I had it.
6. Focus on the little things in life. Being with your significant other, taking a hike, watching the trees blow or watching birds. Once you focus on the little things you will realize that you don’t need a whole lot to be happy. This will save you money in the long run!
7. Use craigslist! You can find a lot of useful items for next to nothing. You can also set up searches that will alert you to new items that match your search. I found a lot of my gardening stuff this way.
8. Read more books. Not only will you increase your marketable knowledge but you will eventually realize that you no longer need cable or a TV. Canceling your cable will save you a bunch of cash!
9. Find your true passions. This took me a while to figure out but I now have 3 – 4 things that I’ve grown to love. When you focus your time on things you are passionate about you will have less time to spend money on the ‘net or at the mall.
10. Attend free activities. We have concerts, art festivals, cooking classes and just about anything else we could think of here. A lot of the events are free, and it makes for a very relaxing day to listen to some tunes or check out some art. If we like the musicians or artists we will toss them a couple of bucks or let friends and family know about their work.
There are probably dozens and dozens of other ideas out there. I’m still trying to perfect my list of ways to save cash and enjoy life without spending money. Sometimes it’s hard, I definitely am in no way perfect. I occasionally treat myself, and I think everyone should do the same.