My husband and I have been listening to Dave Ramsey as of late, in an effort to curb spending so we can start saving. We both feel trapped, because neither of us can do anything risky, such as take a low-paying job or plan a trip out west, when we are tied down to a million payments. We have to make a lot of money to support this lifestyle, and yet we aren’t even getting what we really want! For me, a lot of it has to do with emotional spending. When I feel self-conscious, or upset, the easiest way to cheer myself up is to get online and buy something adorable. And with Amazon Prime or Target RedCard, there is no shipping, so I can just get online and buy something. So instead of really living the life of my dreams, where I am able to work with passion and travel with passion, I am stuck in a rut with a bunch of cute trinkets that I keep having to clean up. It is such a slow way to die. So, without futher ado, here are a couple tricks I’ve discovered as I’ve been going on my journey to frugality. (And it is a journey, friends. A journey with a long road ahead!)
1. Unsubscribe. Take an hour (or two) and unsubscribe from every promotional email list for which you’ve ever signed up. Just go through your trash folder and knock em’ off, one by one. It is SO hard to resist a sale, even though we all know that no sale can ever really save us money… without taking some money first! So get that digital clutter out of your inbox and start off the day without a million little temptations. Out of sight, out of mind. 2. Go on a spending freeze. Do you ever have those times where you binge shop like no body’s business and then feel super guilty? *raises hand* Sometimes my husband and I will go on a spending freeze, where we don’t buy anything except groceries (notice I didn’t say food… I’m looking at you, Chipotle). We tried to do it for a month once and it didn’t work in the least. So take it in smaller chunks… a day at a time is a great place to start and build up to a week. Everything, except groceries, can wait a week. It causes you to be innovative and trust that you can live without. Run out of conditioner? Use some coconut oil! Catch my drift?
3. Have a spending day. The one thing about Amazon Prime that I truly dislike, is the temptation to buy every little thing that comes to mind, right when it comes to mind. Like cottonballs, or coffee, or little boy’s suspenders. I can just log on, and press “buy now.” No shipping and hardly any thought- let alone feeling- goes into the purchase. The myth that Amazon would like you to believe is that this will save you time and money. They are completely playing you (and me too). You end up with a bunch of things you hardly use or don’t work well for your life. And you don’t really feel like sending it back… so the junk piles up. Instead, keep a running tally of things that you need to buy. Have one day a week that you sit down and do the shopping, online when possible. I guarantee you that at least a couple of those purchases you thought you absolutely needed will fall by the wayside (read: little boy’s suspenders). The rest of stuff you actually do need, you’ll be able to get all at once, which will cut down on any shipping fees, and the best part is that you will actually know how much money you are spending a week on MISC. Also, you won’t be on the internet shopping throughout the week, so you won’t be drawn to stuff you never would have thought you needed anyway.
4. Ignore the sales. This one is SUPER tough for me. But this has the same sort of principal that Dave Ramsey applies to credit cards: the amount you save is completely nullified by the amount you will spend. The company is counting on you spending money with them that you otherwise wouldn’t have. Read that again: that you otherwise wouldn’t have. Meaning… had their been no sale, you never would have spend $100 at Gap. The $20 you save has nothing on the $100 you wasted. *The one exception I have for this is: if there is one article of clothing or item that you are just dyyyying to have, you can wait for that to go on sale. Just don’t get distracted and buy 3 other shirts just because they are on sale, too.
5. Cancel your credit cards. Dave Ramsey just comes out and says this one. Like, a LOT. For the longest time, I always pushed it aside. I have always paid off my balance every month, so I thought it didn’t apply to me. But the reason he tells you to cut up your credit cards is because swiping a credit card has no emotions tied to it. And the “points” or “miles” you gain by spending with a credit card pale in comparison to the money you spend because you don’t feel anything. If you think about how much you will save by just paying with cash or debit cards, you’ll be able to afford a MUCH nicer vacation with that money.
6. Don’t feel “frugal shame.” I am totally guilty of being embarrassed by being frugal. For instance, if I am out with some friends, I hate to be the only one to buy the PBR, when everyone else is getting a craft beer. Or I hate being the one to suggest going to a cheap restaurant. Or I REALLY hate being the one giving the inexpensive birthday gift. But if you compare yourself to, say- your sisters or your parents- you will not live within your means. You will begin living within their means, which you can’t afford. Don’t compare yourself. Period. Just asses where you are, and what you can afford! There is no shame in that, and try to remember that everyone has been exactly where you are.
7. Envision your payoff. Do whatever you need to do to envision the payoff at the end of saving. Whether it be a new car, a trip to the beach, or just a debt-free life, envision it!
all images via Design Love Fest