Over the weekend, I tried to clear out my junk mail folder, but more e-mails kept appearing with things I needed that were on sale. I am going to be honest, what I like to spend money on now is not necessarily more clutter, it is less. I am buying very introspective gifts, and I am loving it.
I am doing this because I have found in really thinking about the things I want more of, it’s not necessarily more items, it happens to be more of the feeling associated with the item. Catch my drift?
Last year, I was worried about money. Worry begets more worry. This year, I am not worried about money, but I am learning to have a much better relationship with it…so it can last longer and perhaps do that thing in my bank account called multiply. No matter where you are in your money journey, this lesson is for you.
7 Ways to Spend Less (and really have more):
- If money was no object, make a list of things you’d really want. Seriously. Now look at that list, and think about what you really need. Go back and circle those items. Of the ones circled is there a pattern you can identify? Like clothes? Food? Things to keep you warm? Do you have lots of things on your list that are far-fetched or is there a feeling behind them that you are trying to reproduce? Write down the feeling if the word comes to you. Just let it sit there and marinate for a while.
- Look around your house. What is truly enough for you? Do you have plenty of food in the refrigerator? Do you have plenty of clothes? I read the other day that we, in the United States, have so many clothes donated that yearly clothes are being thrown away in landfills…and they don’t magically go away. It’s not like they are biodegradable. I know that I am a clothes hoarder, so I listened to what it said about maybe just buying the higher quality items that last a while longer instead of the cheaply made things. I also thought about all the ways you can reuse items. If you are crafty, you know those pins where you magically turn your shirt into a vest or a scarf? I love those ideas in theory, but I am just sticking to buying less.
- Save the dough. There are a few theories about paying for things in cash. I personally have been paying off credit cards, and trying to get my husband on board with this no credit card thing. Sadly, he isn’t as on board with this idea, so I make him turn around and pay it right off. He never looked at the interest really…he was a minimum monthly payment guy. I said look, there is no point in couponing the heck out of everything when you can save money just by actually using cash. Seriously. I mean if you have mad couponing skills, go ahead with your bad self. I am lucky if they take the one off the package that I buy specifically because it had that coupon attached. And that’s okay. Don’t feel guilty, just shop smarter on big purchases if you can.
- Bargain hunt…your gyms, yoga, exercise classes. I admit that it’s probably easier to stay at one place, but how often do you buy a contract for ohhh say $60 a month and not go? I stopped doing that after I realized I was wasting money. I even stopped my $10 gym contract. I now only buy what I need. Groupon for a month on my local yoga studio is half the price. Special offers, I will take that. New people get a week free, oh sign me up. But the best kept secret is the places that offer 10 class passes as they are cheaper and you are sure to use the number of classes. Read all the fine print and the expiration date. Let’s be honest. In January you are going to think you “need” to join a gym. Ask for a 10 pack of classes somewhere for your Christmas gift or birthday. Also, ask for your friend to ask for the same thing so you have an accountability partner.
- Create mostly free night outs with your friends. Do you like to journal, color, or just chat after a long week over some wine? Well, invite everyone to your house and make it half the price as going out. Likewise, get your friends in on the deal. It really can be a nice way to spend time without paying lots of money. Set up monthly rotations if you want to, but it really does save money!
- Circle back around to your list from up top. Identify where you spend money to feel better. I used to shop mindlessly because new clothes made me feel better. Now, I buy a few online courses for around $10 and work on quiet practices. I buy my friends books off of Kindle when they go for sale for like .99 cents. If I am feeling restless, I head out the door on a walk or I do yoga outside or at a studio. I have identified the problems that were making me want to spend money on things I didn’t need. One of the first things I notice is have I been on the computer too much? Why is this a problem? That brings me to my last point.
- You are enough. Your friend is posting about her new car, clothes, expensive bag, trip, hat <<< whatever. What feelings rise to the surface as soon as you see it? Observe these feelings for a minute and then be happy for your friend, but know that you are enough. You have enough. There is no one out there like you, and that is true. Comparison, in my opinion, is the root of many woes. We see the glossy surface of the person…the trips…the selfies they upload every single day, but in reality, it tells you nothing about what is going on underneath it all. It is just the highs and trust me, everyone equally has their fair share of lows.
In the end, you know that money doesn’t truly make you happy…okay, fine. It does help. However, paying it forward to someone in need, donating gently used clothes to a family, collecting food, donating your time to the soup kitchens and making the homeless blessing bags.