Staying with the theme of my last post, I wanted to elaborate on my pledge to live beneath my means. For years I lived on the edge of financial ruin and didn’t realize it. I made good money, had multiple credit cards and never thought anything would go wrong. Who….me?? Anyway, you know how that worked out for me.
After I crashed and burned financially I was terrified of it happening again. I saved every penny I could find. After all, pennies make dollars! I also opted to eliminate all, ALL unnecessary expenses for at least six month. I cut my cable, house phone, subscriptions, extras on insurance and every frill I could find. I subscribed to multiple frugal websites, decided to “shop” from my pantry for at least one week a month instead of going to the grocery store, and to make my own cleaning products when possible. For cleaning, vinegar is my old standby. I mix 1/2 cup vinegar, 2-4 drops of concentrated dish liquid and water in a spray bottle and I use it to clean counters, windows, and most other surfaces. I also decided to make my own laundry products such fabric softener and laundry detergent. There are a ton of free recipes on the internet; look around and find one you like. I also make my own fabric softener using Alberto Vo5 conditioner, which is .69 a bottle. I pour the conditioner in a gallon container, fill with warm water, shake well and use a cap full per load. When I want more scent I use a couple drops of essential oil. I carry my lunch and snacks to work–bonus–I’m eating much healthier! I don’t want my lifestyle to sound like drudgery and doing without. That isn’t the point I want to make. By saving money in as many areas as possible, I have the opportunity to spend consciously rather than absent-mindedly. When I want a pedicure, I get one. If I want a new outfit, I buy one. However, I make sure it’s not an impulse, trendy reflex purchase. Added bonus here-I look better too!
Keep track of all of your spending for at least three months. I was living in denial and did not realize I have a problem with eating out. A LOT. I also became a big fan of Dave Ramsey and Suzie Orman. PAY off debt first! I hope you’ve gleaned a few ideas to save money and improve you consciousness of spending.