Saving money, and spending less is not for everyone. It’s not everyone’s cup of decaf tea, it’s not necessarily for your neighbor or friend or family member. Even if you think those in your lives should save more money, spend less money, if it’s not for them, it’s okay to move on and accept this.
For me, it’s like freeing my soul, and giving it wings to fly in forever freedom! Basically, I’m so incredibly passionate that living on less, brings me so much more, I can talk and write about it all day long.
Yet, we live in a world, where spending large amount of cash or credit is the norm. It’s easy to subscribe there, buy this, buy that again, buy that, need this, and rent that, and buy into that, and just buy buy buy. And that’s not even including the regular bills, the regular necessities that are impossible to get out of. I was watching Extreme Cheapskates on TLC years and years ago, and this adorable Asian woman (who I do think had a mental illness about saving money to a certain degree), did not understand why she had to pay a BASIC fee for her GAS bill, even though she was not using her gas. So instead, she turned off her gas stove and purchased an electric cook-top instead, removing the fee all together.
My family and friends and community save me from turning into one of these humans, because it would be actually really fun to see how LITTLE you could live on, BUT, let’s get back to real life here.
Why is spending less, and saving more – important?
Because it gives us freedom. Not wanting and not needing more than what we already have is freeing. We don’t have to work extra, or we don’t necessarily have to work more. We have freedom to work as we please or freedom to do work that brings us the most happiness. My son was eating breakfast today, and he turned his head away from a commercial, and said, “You know what mom, I don’t like commercials, they just make you want to buy stuff we don’t need.”
It made me laugh thinking I’m staring at a little young-old man, but he somehow gets it. Ironically we never really talk about saving money or not spending it with the kids just yet (because they are young), but perhaps he gets it, because he knows the only place we really go to spend our cash is the grocery stores! And that’s enough for us, for now.
It’s really freeing to wake up each day and know you have all you need.
I’m a regular human wife mom woman and community member and neighbor. I want the nice stuff too!!! But, it’s more important to me to not have a new charge on my credit card bill, than brand new flip flops (which would be massively amazing right now.) I get it, I’m with everyone else and I can appreciate nice and expensive and quality and fancy and fun and beautiful things. It’s not like I’m living under the rock and can’t see the value you get by spending more on quality things. But, I would rather not buy something, if I truly don’t need it.
It’s a practice, a practice we can all perfect as time goes on.
I remember a life, perhaps a decade ago, where I would spend my weekends at the mall. I would shop Lord & Taylor, and Marshall’s, and Walmart, and buy everything from nice bags, to nice clothes to everything my home needed. And now-a-days, I spend my weekends cleaning my home, or cooking inside, or being outside with my children and neighbor-friends.
Was I any happier back then? Did I feel better about myself? Absolutely not. If anything, I’m totally digging my life of LIFE so much more now, than the buying and buying I was engaging in nonstop before.
Replace your spending habits.
We’re all creatures of habit. We like to do what we do, what we’ve done, what we’ve been taught, what brings us feelings of nostalgia, and fun and love and care, and comfort and security. But when all of that does not bring us more comfort or security, it’s time to replace our spending habits with habits that do. Instead of running to Macy’s for a Saturday sale like every Saturday, stay home instead, or go walk at a park. Instead of buying a brand new dress or outfit for the next event, just wear what’s in your closet. I know, instantly and immediately, we might get a sense of insecurity. But what if I don’t look good or feel good? But what if you do? What’s more important to you?
We are a society and world who craves and is used to instant gratification. Credit card companies and all banking institutions that lend us money at a ridiculous FEES are making billions and billions on this phenomenon. Start living the way we lived in the past: If we had it, we spent it, after we saved, and if we did not have, we did not buy.
If you don’t have $80 right now in your bank account to pay off your current credit card bill, then you don’t need a pedi, or a new pair of jeans, or a meal out.
If you don’t have enough in your bank account to be debt free from all credit card debt, you don’t have enough to plan a vacation, or buy a new pet.
I know these sound like really harsh words, and I know you may be cursing the screen right now calling me a crazy horse, but take a deep breath, and realize that getting in tune with your truth, your goals, and what you have to do, is a must. The longer we are in denial, the more damage we can cause our financial selves and future.
Because we’re all different it’s okay to acknowledge our priorities. Perhaps you love spending on yourself at the spa each week, or maybe house cleaning, or maybe with the grub you buy, or the car you drive, or the gadgets in your home, or the books you buy, or education, or hats or bags or shoes or travel. Whatever it may be, we all have something that we can not or do not want to comprise on. I’m okay with this. I think it’s important to have things we are passionate about, but you can’t be passionate and prioritize it all.
If you love spending on your kids’ clothes, good, but then cut back on your own threads. If you love your car, cut back on your home, if you love a good bag, then cut back on your shoes. Whatever it may be, choose 1 item, or 1 category, and start there. For me, it’s certainly food. I love buying food and shopping for it, and it’s hard for me to walk away from the $6.29 pasture raised eggs from Publix, and buy organic or cage free ones instead, or even the $.79 ones from Aldi, that are “normal.” I will buy those ridiculously expensive eggs, because that’s what’s important to me. Buttttt, you won’t see me out grabbing lunch at a restaurant ever, or dinner, because I know in my head I spend ENOUGH already at the regular store. And every time I eat an egg or feed them to my children, I think about their value and appreciate them.
But that’s me, that works for me, and that’s what I prioritize right now in my life. And when I say this works for me, I mean, I have to spend A LOT LESS ON groceries, and continue to EAT through what we already have. Groceries are always wayyyy toooo expensive and it’s always a budget area I have to get better at saving.
Start off with just tracking what you buy, what you spend, and then slowly cut back and cut things out. I’ve been tracking our spending in January and February and it’s AMAZING how many things come up. Birthdays and gifts, and new flag football signup and then a $250 tackle football sign up, and then this and that, and a celebration that requires more grub, and a new water heater, and camp and this and that, and it’s endless. And that’s ON TOP of regular bills. I can see why most of us have a hard time making it each month without carrying over a credit card balance. Add on top of this all the EXTRA and unneeded we buy each month, and we’re buried. We’re buried, and it’s hard to point to a reason why we’re in this situation except to accept the responsibility and task ourselves with the digging out.
Find pleasure in the free.
Especially when changing our saving and spending habits, we have to get busy living that free life, and doing activities that do not cost money or do not cost extra. Can you get yourself out of the house to the beach or to a park one day each weekend? Can you take your pet to the dog park? Can you do a lot of things, you used to pay for, yourself? Can you wash your own car, can you scrub your own toilets (I know this is gross, but it may be worth it), can you eat in or eat out, by making a picnic and taking it to a local outdoor spot? I know, I get it, change sucks and it’s hard and it’s obnoxious, and it may even feel unfair.
See, we create our own lives. We don’t create what we have been given, or what we have not been given, but we certainly create the LIFE we want going forward. It’s not always fair – the financial discrepancy between people – but it’s still okay.
Some of the wealthiest people are unhappy and miserable – people who appear to have it ALL, and then the most impoverished people – are some of the happiest and most free humans out there. And most of us are somewhere in the middle. We are healthy, we are smart, we have access to information, we can think for our selves, and BEST OF ALL – we can always reverse the damage, especially when we start today.
Figure out your plan, write it out, and execute. It’s so much fun.