Ok, I admit it. I recently fell off the wagon, the thrifty wagon that is. I can’t really explain it. I just started spending money with reckless abandon, well reckless abandon for me. I ordered things on Amazon, bought shoes, and clothes that I actually needed, and a few big ticket items, like a new roller carry on bag. Most of the clothes were admittedly second hand, and those bought new we’re 75% off, so maybe I didn’t do so bad. But my recent spending spree reminded me that I need to remember not to spend money unless I really have to. So here’s some tips for Not Spending Money that can help us all spend less:
Eating out for lunch even only a couple times a week can run you between $8-15 dollars a day. Not to mention snacks and coffee. Your total spending for food on the go can quickly exceed $20 a day if you’re not careful. Even if you only do it a couple of times a week, that’s up to $2080 a year. Better option? Brown bag it. Spending a little bit of extra time in the kitchen to prepare food you enjoy will not just save you money, it could make you healthier. Don’t forget the snacks when packing your food for the day. My favorite is baby cut carrots and homemade humus!
Sometimes we end up spending money on things we already have at home but not with us when we are out for the day. It doesn’t hurt to carry a few essentials to avoid purchasing duplicates in a pinch. I typically carry a small first aid kit that includes nail clippers, a small pair of scissors, needle and thread, cutlery rolled in a clean cloth napkin, pens, a notebook, multi tool and the end part of a roll of duck tape. Don’t forget a couple of heavy duty zip lock bags. Also keep an eye on the weather and carry a compact poncho or umbrella to prevent sudden unplanned purchases. Reusable water bottle? That’ll save both you and the planet.
Cash & Carry
This may seem counterintuitive, but I tend to carry cash for my spending money, and never more than $15 at a time. That is my spending money, and once it’s gone it’s gone. Now, of course I have my ATM card for emergencies, but I generally only use it for planned spending like groceries or gas, not incidentals. One of the benefits of using cash is you get a very real sense of how much money you have and the fact that you’re handing it over for something else.
Ask “Do I Really Need This?”
This is a hard one: need verses want. It’s a difficult balance to maintain. I’m not in anyway promoting a life of depriviety, but it doesn’t hurt to know what you really need and what you really want. I often ask myself “do I have something at home that will fill this need?” More often than not I do. By taking the time to ask myself this question, I keep myself from spending needlessly, and decrease stress by spending less and having less stuff at home to deal with.
Plan For Big Spending
Now, who doesn’t plan for big spending? There aren’t many of us who just go ot and impulse buy a refrigerator, although I admit I did impulse buy a piano once. But that’s not the kind of spending I’m talking about. For me, big spending is anything over $40. Planning for Big Spending can help in a number of ways. For example, you can plan on how much you want to spend on a item and maybe do a little inteweb research to figure out who has the best price. It’s also a good idea to do product research to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money. By putting genuine critical thought into large purchases, perhaps you will be less careless and frivolous with your spending. I know I am.
Nobody is perfect. We all have unplanned expenses, maybe indulge in an impulse buy or two and may even purchase things we don’t want or require to fulfill an emotional need. It happens. But, by employing some best practices perhaps we can all fall off the thrift wagon a little less often.