I was inspired to write a blog about spending, shopping, etc., since I realized how much my spending has gone down as we've been saving for home projects. Side tangent-our sewer is fixed <insert happy dance>. I've been especially saving in the makeup and beauty care items department, as I've been making a conscious effect to use what I have and only re-purchase items that have run out. It's been amazing how many samples I've used up and makeup items (like face powders) that I had and they needed to be finish up. I don't collect makeup, but I do love hair styling products and had a drawer full in my vanity that needed to be used and/or passed on to someone else. I guess my 'wear everything' clothing campaign has also trickled over into a 'use everything' motto. Hehe!
(Here is a video blog from 2013 that I'm chatting a bit about my financial past)
A few subjects I get asked a lot about is advice about shopping and spending. Shopping on all levels; home decor, groceries, clothing/shoes, and home services (cable TV, cell phones, etc.). But before I go any further I have to preface this with a few facts about Derek and myself and our household; we are not in massive debt due to schooling, medical bills, etc., we are a one car couple, we have duel incomes, own our own home in a somewhat economically depressed city and both of us are relatively healthy. Why the preface? Well, there is a variety of reasons of what causes people to spend and are due to things beyond their control and I want to be sympathetic to those reasons. I remember surviving on next-to-no money while still working full time. I get it, I really do.
I also have been asked to write a comprehensive list of where I shop for clothing (including eBay sellers), but I'm still debating on that blog subject.
Tips and Advice From My Experience:
+Groceries: Can be a #1 budget buster for some people, but it doesn't have to be. Now mind you there are thousands of online advice on this subject, but I will give you this one; Make a shopping list, make a weekly menu and cook at home. I learned to cook simply by being forced to and having a small income meant; using coupons, paying attention to sales, cooking with seasonal produce and the biggest money saver---shopping at Aldi. Yep, I still do all these things and it helps to control our diets too. Oh, and take advantage of farmer's markets or local farm's in general!
+Eliminating Extras: Cable TV? Gone and replaced with Netflix and Hulu. Satellite radio that came with the car? Gone and replaced with loads of burned CD's. Going out for a drink? Whittle down to 'once in a while' and replaced with making cocktails at home. Major Network Cell Phones? Gone and replaced with no contract phones.
+Second Hand: 99% of my furnishings in my home are second hand. Even if you don't love mid century modern mixed with kitsch and the macabre like I do, you can still score some things that suit your aesthetic from thrift shops, charity shops flea markets, garage sales (or boot sales if you're in the UK...I love that name) or Craigslist/newspaper 'for sale' sections. It's a amazing how a little money, some spray paint and elbow grease can really turn other people castaway's into beautiful decor. You know how I thrift for clothing, so I don't need to go into that way of saving. *Wink*
+Make Lists: This one may seem odd, but I pretty much make a list for everything. I use the old school way of using pen and paper as I am not too good with using my phone to track of everything. (Hello, I am Meagan and my smart phone makes me feel stupid) I have magnetic note pads on the fridge, as we tried the dry eraser system and things got forgotten about......and the paper always gets recycled, always.
I usually have three lists going. To-do house list is a great way to help with the 'I don't know what to do' days, so we look at the list and things magically get done. Wooo! The household needs list is for things that we don't purchase at the grocery store, like laundry detergent, shave cream, etc., and a grocery shopping list for when we run out of something. Always write it on the list!!!!! *Looks at Derek*
+Being Happy With What You Have: I have to remind myself of this on a weekly basis as I window shop, read blogs and work in a retail environment. I am tempted all the time to blow my paycheck on an impulse buy or treat myself to something, because I'm feeling down or had a bad day, or I got an email with a 25% off sale. Self control is a bitch. I look all around me and think, "This is more than enough." Don't get me wrong, I am not a cheap ass and I don't expect you to be. I just worked so hard to get myself out of debt that if I don't remind myself of what I have, I could spiral right down that path again! Annnnnnnd, I most certainly don't want to encourage any of you to go down that path either!
Alright, I'm going to stop right here before it turns into a novel, phew! How do you like to save and do you have any budget and/or spending tips you'd like to share? By the way, when did I become so responsible?!?!?!? ARGH!
Thank you for reading, until next time!