I had a realization a few months ago while looking at my monthly budget, I used to live and survive on a lot less money. I worked a minimum wage job all through college, I had my own apartment (a $400 studio but still a place to live), I took the bus a lot more instead of driving, I still ate well and honestly, I never felt stressed out about money. I didn’t have a lot of money but I also didn’t need a lot of money. Flash forward to starting my career, slowly climbing the ladder, getting promoted, etc. which ultimately means more money and I’ve never felt more stressed out about it! Why can’t I live like I did in my 20’s and just stack cash?! Unfortunately, it’s the human condition to consume things – we gotta’ eat, have a place to live, transportation, medication, emergencies, treating yo’ self – no matter how much we argue that our existence isn’t tied to money, it is. Our existence is in fact so tied to money that people are even arguing for collecting a wage simply for existing, it’s a sad but inescapable reality. Anyway, I only have about 30 more years in my working life to save money (if anyone my age will get to retire) and I find myself trying to be a lot choosier with where my money goes. Some things, I like to spend on but other things I’d rather not – it’s all about having a balance, or so I keep trying to convince myself.
I don’t think that there are a lot of ways to save money when it comes to having a place to live, especially in a metro area. I’m a little snotty when it comes to where I live, I don’t want to be bothered, I don’t want to live around bullshit, I want to have a short commute and I want to live in a nice building with moderate amenities. All of that costs money but I love my apartment and I don’t see myself moving unless it’s a deal that I absolutely couldn’t refuse.
I’m only one person, it’s not hard for me to save on groceries. I buy a lot of bulk, fresh fruits & veggies, little to no pre-packaged snack foods or otherwise and this keeps my grocery bill low. When I splurge on food, it might be for a fancy baguette or this green olive spread that I am addicted to but most anything can be made at home for much less than purchasing it prepared.
I don’t purchase cheap clothing, I do have some splurge items in my closet but on the whole, I thrift shop a lot. I also live in the vicinity of a lot of yuppies and elitists so the thrift stores in my area are amazing. To all of the bored housewives buying clothes they don’t need or really want and then get rid of after wearing once, thank you so much, keep doing you.
My theory here is that by investing in really well-made furniture and other large home items, they will last longer. I won’t need another furniture set in my lifetime, barring any unforeseen events.
I will always drive a vehicle that I own outright, it just doesn’t matter to me to drive a nice vehicle and throw money away on something like interest. As long as it is reliable, I don’t care what it looks like. Also, I don’t mind taking public transportation to save on fuel, I think Americans have gotten much too used to these cheap fuel prices and should live more like we did when a gallon of gas cost your $4.
I could just stop paying for frivolous salon services and save a ton of money but that’s probably not going to happen. I don’t mind paying a little more for a salon service that I am happy with and that will last me a good few weeks instead of saving money, not being happy with the service and potentially needing to get it corrected. Now, are all expensive salon services good? Absolutely not (see my lash extension saga), I am lucky to have salons that I’ve been going to for years that aren’t terribly spendy where I receive really quality services.
It depends on what I am doing really, if I am going out to eat then it’s a treat and I will probably splurge since I rarely eat out. If I see a movie, then I prefer to go to a matinee rather than pay full price.
Unfortunately, I have very finicky skin and have to purchase spendier products. I think I am literally the only person ever who breaks out from using CeraVe which sucks because it makes my skin feel perfectly moisturized. Also, I might only purchase new, staple products every one to two months and this is easy to budget for.
I believe that my system mostly works well as long as I stick to it. I still don’t understand how I spend more money simply because I make more money, it’s really annoying. Have you found that you live more or less frugally since being on your own? Where do you like to save your pennies?