I started a new job with an office, coworkers, and a commute. Previously, I worked from home in my pajamas, blissfully ignorant of the many shopping temptations that accompany an office job.
Working outside the home I found…
- Lots of opportunities to buy food and drinks.
- More consumer products, fashion, and gadgets. Hmm, that Kindle is smaller than mine and looks cooler. Should I buy new work clothes like those?
- More opportunities to shop. I can easily shop on my way home or walk to a store during lunch.
- Thoughts of grabbing dinner on my way home.
And finally, I felt compelled to buy something on my way home Friday. You know, as a reward for a job well done at the office.
In the end, I didn’t change my spending habits this week. But I can see that it’s easy to spend when you’re exposed to so many products and stores.
What do you think? Do you feel more compelled to buy things when you work outside the home?
My daughter grabbed a basket at the supermarket.
“Let’s get a cart in case we want to get something big,” I said.
“But this basket holds less. I’m trying to save you money,” she insisted.
And so we shopped with a basket.
We found a few things that weren’t on our list (pretty typical when shopping with a child). However, since we had less space and had to carry everything, many purchases were averted.
The basket forced us to carefully consider our purchases. We stuck to our shopping list like glue.
Which got me thinking… when were shopping carts invented? Shopping carts first rolled into stores in 1937. The concept was delightfully simple: make shopping easy for customers so that they’ll visit often and buy more.
Ah, but of course!
If you want to put the brakes on your spending (and improve your upper body strength), go old school. Use a basket.
What tactics do you use to buy less?
I just finished reading ‘Dream Save Do’ by Betsy and Warren Talbot. Betsy and Warren spend their days meeting people, traveling the world, and trying new things. Sounds pretty fun huh?
How did Betsy and Warren become world travelers? Betsy and Warren were your basic corporate drones, who on the cusp of turning 40 stopped buying things and started saving for their dream. Traveling the world.
In two years’ time they saved $75,000, more than enough to fund their travel budget of $100 a day (read Dream Save Do for all their money saving details). Last fall Warren and Betsy packed their backpacks and traveled to South America, then Antarctica, Europe, and now Thailand. They’re living their dream and inspiring others to do the same. Very cool!
Are Betsy and Warren the real deal? Yep! A couple of years ago I met Betsy when she was stockpiling cash and selling her possessions. I thought Betsy was fun and full of interesting stories (and this is before she started traveling!).
I love reading about people following their passion because they inspire me to do the same. Reading ‘Dream Save Do’ got me thinking about my dream.
What does my ideal day look like? If I could live anywhere, where would I live? What would I do? And what can I do today to make my dream reality?
You can read all about Warren and Betsy’s adventures at MarriedwithLuggage.com.
Life is short. Live your dream.
I’ve been paying monthly gym fees for years. And years. I probably could have bought my own pool by now. OK, maybe not – but it feels like it sometimes.
Some months I swim a lot. And then there are months where I… um, don’t go at all. The bummer about memberships is that you pay whether you use the service or not. So this month I gave myself an ultimatum – use my gym membership, or lose it.
I decided that 10 visits a month is a reasonable goal.
Sounds simple, but 10 visits is much more than I’ve been doing in the past. To meet this lofty goal, I’m doing a couple things:
- I have a white card on my fridge to track my visits (goals that I don’t track are forgotten).
- I set up a regular time to swim (2 pm) and blocked it out on my calendar.
I’m happy to report that the regular calendar appointment and the card on my fridge are helping me reach my goal. I feel much better about my gym membership now that I’m using it.
What memberships or subscriptions do you have? Are you getting your money’s worth?
Any time is a good time to reevaluate memberships and pull the plug on the ones you’re not using.
My 365 photo blog post for today:
“When you cut your expenses to the bone.
You have a surplus.
This surplus allows you to be generous.
Which mysteriously turns around and makes your surplus even bigger.”
-Seth Godin (Seth’s blog)
You don’t need a six figure annual income to become a millionaire.
Really, you don’t.
Thomas J. Stanley, author of The Millionaire Next Door and Stop Acting Rich, spent years researching millionaires and found that many millionaires don’t live in expensive homes, wear designer clothes, or drive sports cars. And many millionaires never had a high annual income.
For example, most teachers in the United States don’t have six figure salaries; however, there are educators who are millionaires. How did this happen? It didn’t happen overnight.
Accumulating wealth is like a marathon. It takes years of frugal living and wise investing to accumulate wealth. Here’s an excerpt from Stop Acting Rich that stood out for me:
“Annual income is not a predictor of wealth. It’s not how much you earn that counts, instead it’s how you live each year. What matters more than annual income is how much you save and invest each year.”
Anyone can be a millionaire. A high annual income is not needed. Instead, frugal living, wise investing, and living well below your means are key.
So as Regis Philbin used to say: “Who wants to be a millionaire?”
I have a new frugality tip, but I can’t recommend it whole-heartedly since it’s sorta stressful and solitary.
(did I just say that?)
This past month I worked like a sled dog and found little time for shopping or entertainment. My income grew (I’m paid hourly) and my expenditures shrunk.
This is mostly good, however, I found myself cooking less, which can be expensive since most convenience foods are inconveniently expensive. Also being a sled dog is tiring. Pant, pant.
Thank you employer for the opportunity to work like a dog, but now I’m done. My deadline died and I’m home enjoying a weekend of leisure. There’s nothing like long work days to help you realize the sweetness of leisure, and time spent with family and friends.
Ahhhh! Now I’m riding on the sled, which is much more fun than pulling it.
I hope everyone had a great summer!
I traveled by plane last week and was amazed (and annoyed) by all the extra charges.
- $25 for an exit row seat (it has a couple extra centimeters of leg space).
- $25 dollars per suitcase.
- $8 for a bag of something salty.
- $3.50 for a personal bottled water. This was offered before the free water.
- $10 or $12 for an upgrade meal that came wrapped in gobs of plastic.
- $$ for the in-flight movie.
There has been talk about charging for blankets and bathroom visits, but luckily this hasn’t happened yet.
Why do I find these charges so annoying? Is it because flying is annoying enough without extra charges? Maybe. Or maybe I dislike paying for things that were previously free. Either way, I make a special effort to avoid all charges.
To avoid extra charges I…
- Pack light (I carry on my bags whenever possible, or I fly Southwest airlines where bags still fly free).
- Bring an empty water bottle and fill it once I’ve passed security.
- Bring plenty of snacks.
- Bring entertainment.
- Book an aisle seat. I like the possibility of maybe stretching my legs.
What do you think of the extra charges? I wonder what I will be charged for next? Air?
A year ago I was laid off. One day I was employed and the next day I was home in my house pants dreaming of cafeterias and cardkeys.
It was a humbling (and scary) experience.
However, getting laid off helped me tighten down my spending hatches. Not spending money became a game. How many days can I go without spending one thin dime (stop shopping, it’s easier than you think)?
A year later I’m working again, spending dimes and saving quarters. Recently, I spent a pile of quarters on an investment. An investment that I hope will generate passive income - a rental house. Nothing fancy, but once the house is paid off, the rent will be a nice source of income.
How did I buy this? My paychecks are not huge, but I’ve minimized my spending and maximized my savings. My savings started as an emergency fund and grew into a rental house.
I truly believe that frugality helps you get what you want and keep what you’ve got.
How about you? Why are you frugal?
Standing in front of an aisle dedicated to printer paper, I asked my daughter which printer paper we should buy. I read all our options: premium, copy, multi-purpose, laser jet, inkjet.
And she asked, “Is there recycled paper?”
A huge smile appeared on my face (and my heart grew three times larger – oh wait, that’s another story).
We searched for recycled printer paper. It wasn’t front and center, but it was available. Envirocopy™ paper. The price? 5.99 for 500 sheets, or one dollar less than the multi-purpose paper.
Wait a second! I thought I had to pay more for green products? Or do I?
Angela over at My Year Without Spending posed this same question today. “Is it more expensive to be green?“
What do you think? Is green expensive?
Or course the greenest choice is no paper (not buying new products), but no paper is a tough sell with school age children. If you’re interested in green frugality, check out these great blogs:
And of course this one. :)