Saving money! We all want to do it right? Well, cutting your expenses back is a great way to get in gear to get out of debt. What’s really important is to not throw yourself a pity party while you do it! Who likes being the one that is always whining about what you don’t have or what you can’t have? Not me! Getting your expenses down is important, but if you don’t have the right mindset you are just going to be absolutely miserable and more likely to forget about the big picture!
Ditch the Frugal Pity Party
Ever seen a friend on a diet where they are only allowed to eat carrots and salad or some other ungodly combination? What ends up happening? They end up getting frustrated and giving up and diving into a big box of donuts. That’s what happens when you are too strict on yourself and your budget as well. You want to make changes that are lifetime changes not just a quick fix that you plan to do for a few months and then go back to your old ways.
The easiest way to do this is to embrace the new you. Learn to love being frugal. Think of it as an accomplishment and something to brag about! Think about how you can share how much you have cut back and stashed in your savings account. Sounds great doesn’t it?!
Know What You Can and Can’t Live Without
To get this party started, make a list of things that you absolutely couldn’t live without. I mean things that if they were gone you would throw a temper tantrum that would make a toddler proud. Be honest, and really put some thought into this list. Next, to this list write of things you think you might be able to live without. If you only watch TV for a few shows, subscribe to a gym you have never set foot in, or have a Netflix membership but are never home to watch movies, you might want to write them in this list.
After you have gotten these lists together, take a good hard look at them. See which of your “have to have” list items you could probably put in the “live without” column. If you aren’t quite sure, take it for a test run. Live without the item for a week. If you are absolutely miserable at the end of the week, it needs to stay in the “have to have” list. On the other hand, if you hardly missed it at all, then you can move it over and save even more money.
Here’s my list of things that I have to have:
- Eating Out Once a Month
- Turkey Hill Ice Cream
- High Speed Internet
- Coffee with Friends on Tuesday nights
Things I could do to make saving money easier:
- Gym Membership ($60/mo)
- Cable TV ($100/mo)
- Getting my hair colored at a salon ($50/mo)
- Paying someone to groom my pets ($50/mo)
Total I could live without: $260/mo or $3120 a year!
To make this even easier, I have made a list of 5 steps to cut your expenses! You may just be shocked that you find that you actually feel like you enjoy your life more not less!
5 Steps to Saving Money
1. Make Your List of Things You Really Enjoy: Be honest with yourself, and write a list of things that would end your world if you didn’t have.
2. Make Your List of Things You Could Do Without: Do you pay for cable, but really only watch a few shows? Have a gym membership you hardly ever use? Find these things, and then right them down!
3. Challenge your “must have” list: Take a second look through your list of “must haves.” Is there anything you can remove? Is there a way to save money on the things that have to stay on the list? Challenge yourself to still find a way to make your favorite things less expensive!
4. Enjoy free activities in your city: Most cities have TONS of FREE activities, you just have to find them. Love going to museums? See if they have a day of the week that is free or discounted.
5. Barter, barter, barter: If you have a friend that is hairstylist, barter for her services! Rather than paying a stranger see if you can cook her dinner in lieu of a new hair cut! Same goes for piano lessons, babysitting, or other expenses. See if you know someone that does what you need and ask if you can do something in exchange for their services!
Just adding up the little things that you could live with out, it really adds up! I don’t even miss it, and I am loving the new frugal me. I have made over $300 disappear from my debt in just 6 weeks!
So challenge, yourself! What can you live without? How can you change to live frugally?