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I never realized how much fat was in my monthly budget until I desperately, urgently, wanted to leave my old job. I knew that in order to do that I needed to slash my budget…by a lot.
I was super motivated but I won’t lie, it was really hard to do in the beginning but there were 5 areas that I purposely (and accidentally) focused on that made all of the difference.
I love fashion. I love: coats, cute hats, shoes, and accessories. For some reason that I can’t figure out, I decided to do a No Shopping Challenge…for a year.
It worked. I broke my shopping habit like a bad piece of technology. I also discovered that I was shopping when I was bored, when I was lonely, and out of habit.
When I reintroduced shopping back into my life I have to admit I was worried. Would I go back to my old ways? Would I forever have to say “no” to pretty new things?
Nope! Fortunately, I figured out some strategies that enabled me to shop from time to time, enjoy my new items, and not go broke!
- Ebates.com-I was slow to understand how fabulous Ebates.com is but you earn rebates as you shop via the Ebates.com portal. Just sign into your account and then find your favorite retailer, buy your items and earn some cash back. If you’re new to the site and sign up with using my affiliate link, you’ll receive a $10 credit towards your first purchase.
- ThredUp.com my favorite online consignment shop. They have an amazing variety of fashionable gently used or brand-new items. ThredUp also has a closet cleanout program where customers request a closet cleanout kit and ship your items to ThredUp (for free). If your items are approved, you will receive a credit or cash. Nice.
I don’t shop that often anymore but when I do, I strategize and make sure to use these resources so that I save money. #neverpayretail
I love food. I love: buying it, eating it, looking at it, you get the picture. The point is I live to eat. As a result, there are very few cooking ingredients I don’t enjoy cooking with.
But, my grocery habit was out of control. Like most Americans, I have a ton of food in my house. I had a well-stocked pantry, food in my freezer, and a ridiculous amount of spices courtesy of Whole Food’s bulk spice area. I made a couple of easy tweaks to my grocery process that saved me a ton of money:
- I cut down my shopping frequency. Instead of popping into my favorite store several times a week. Shockingly, that saved me a lot of money.
- I started planning my meals. No, I’m not intense about it like some people. I just look in my fridge and in my pantry and then Google new ingredients if I’m bored with what I’m eating.
- I eat seasonally as much as possible-it’s cheaper.
- I now use Ibotta, a grocery app that helps me save money on my groceries. I really like this app because it always has vegetables, eggs, soy milk, basically, the food that I like to buy. I did notice that the more I used the app the better my deals became. Sign up using my affiliate link and get $10 towards your first $20 payout. Once you earn $20 you can transfer it to your Paypal account or redeem it for a gift card. I also love Ibotta because it was developed in Denver. Love Denver? Check out my website all about it.
- I rocked some No Shopping Challenges as well. Yep, I decided to stop buying food and just…eat what I had in my home. I know, crazy talk. You would be amazed at how long you can do a challenge like this but you do have to listen to your body and make sure you eat balanced meals.
- Soda Stream Dreams! I purchased a Soda Stream which helped me manage my sparkling water addiction. I’m addicted to Perrier, but that addiction was getting expensive.
Bye, Bye Verizon
A couple of years ago I was paying $105 a month for cell-phone service. Did I mention that the price included a state employee discount?! Each month I became angrier and angrier until I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was spending $1260 a year on phone service and I don’t even enjoy talking on the phone…even though I love to talk to people in person.
I side-hustled to pay my way out of my cell-phone contract and said hello to Republic Wireless and a $30 unlimited monthly bill. Nice.
I do my own hair nowadays and have for a long time. It doesn’t mean that my hair looks fabulous, but it does mean that I no longer sit for hours getting my hair done and paying a ton every couple of months on extensions, straightenings, etc.
I love getting mani-pedis but is stopped getting them and started doing them myself. I do treat myself at the beginning of summer but, in general, I do it myself.
My home is small. I bought it several years ago and even though I do plan on renting it out at some point currently it saves me a TON of money on housing costs. The average one-bedroom in Denver costs a minimum of $1200 and I don’t pay anything close to that and I love it.
My transportation needs are simple but I used my transportation benefit at my previous job and was able to ride the bus for free. I didn’t own a car so I paid nothing for transportation.
Now I work from home and do own a car that I paid cash for (that I never use). I normally ride my bike, walk, or take public transit to get around.
Am I Suffering?
No, I feel very relaxed and happy. By embracing these different choices I’ve slashed my monthly budget by $1000 or more a month.
I’ve also noticed an increased level of simplicity in my life as I continue to simplify my expenses and get rid of items and habits that don’t serve me well. But, personal finance is personal. I’m not saying that you should do what I’m doing, but, I’m hoping that some of these ideas and tools will be helpful to you.
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