Most folks with a finite income we have to make choices to afford what we want. So what are your more drastic savings ideas and what do you still splurge on.
For me, I have been cutting my own hair for about a year now- since it's long and usually in a pony tail it doesn't need to be perfect. Almost never buy new clothes and if so need to be on sale. Just got horsie the Dovers shipping boots on sale for $40.00. I pay $45.00/hour for my riding lessons. I board at an inexpensive place $175/month. Never buy starbucks. Always pack own lunch. Rarely eat out.
I buy a season pass to my favorite ski area. Family has a house up there so I'm not paying for lodging. I got cheaper paddock boots which I did not like (I'm a sucker for high quality leather) so spending a little more for some I think I'll like better. Wine club memberships (I know this is bad but I often give wine as a gift- if I don't end up drinking it
Splurge: Commuting. My commute via car costs $22 a day before gas, not to mention wear and tear on the car. I have no idea what it would cost via the train or bus, because I DON'T CARE. I did my time on public transit and my quality of life would become unbearable with the bus/train. I drive, I pay to park, and man, when I get into that car at 5:10, I'm almost home already.
Save: Everywhere else. I coupon, I save. I'm a frugal soul.
Save: clothes and shoes (I buy almost nothing, and always on sale if I do), I color my own hair and go to a barbershop of one of those cheap Clips places for a cut, I always pack my own lunch, I get coffee from home rather than stopping for a cup on the road, my cc bill is paid fully every month by automatic payment so I don't have to worry about interest fees, I usually take public transportation (it's free in my city) unless I'm going to the barn or outside the city, I almost never eat out or see a movie in a theater. I *just* upgraded my 13 year old car for a newer used car.
Splurge: food. I cleaned up my diet and now it's quality over quantity, so if I want to try the ridiculously expensive apricot kernel butter I damned well will get it! I board at an expensive place because it's close to me and has a covered arena, I started with a personal trainer last month and I take the occasional massage.
Save: I bought a really small house (1,000 sq, feet) so I could have a really tiny mortgage payment. So I also spend less than others might on utilities, property taxes, and upkeep.
I don't spend much on clothes. I'm sure the people I work with can tell the day of the week from what outfit I'm wearing!
I stopped buying a lot of books and reintroduced myself to the library. I used to average over $100 a month on books. I kind of had to change this because see above re: small house!
Splurge: Most of my adult life I've owned more than one horse, and I board. I'm currently at two, having recently been offered a great opportunity to take on a very nice horse who really so far seems perfect for where I am right now in my riding goals.
I buy a mini season every year in the lower level arena section for Carolina Hurricanes hockey. Fortunately for my wallet, it's been several years since I've had to struggle with the internal debate over whether or not to buy playoff tickets! (Thanks, guys. )
Save: Another really small house person (1300 sq ft), tiny mortgage. 12 more years thank you! Drive older (dependable cars) 2000 - Mazda 626 -182k, 1991 -Miata 191k, 2001 - Outback 130k. All paid for, all just keep running for very little money, outside of maintenance, so we keep driving them. No credit card debit. 401ks not maxed out but more towards that side than not. Also save X amount each month. I also will put off buying something or doing something if I need to finance it.
Splurge: VACATION! We do go somewhere nice every year for a week. This year is Alaska on a cruise.....#2 on my list. Last year was Costa Rica. Bahamas the year before, HI the year before that and Vegas/Grand Canyon the year before that. Next year is Canada and also Bermuda (if things go as planned). Horse stuff lets face it, it is all a splurge even if done on a budget! Hair and work clothes. I am a professional and while I do not go spend $100 on a dress I do want to look like I did. I get my hair cut/colored every 5 weeks for $90 (****ing grey!). Most of my clothes I try either old navy or target for the basics. TJ maxx. Then I hit up Ann Taylor, Talbots, Belk and the high end consignment store in town.
Save: Cut my own hair. Spouse and kid cut their own too. Large garden so cheap veggies. We don't spend a lot on clothes, cars are well maintained and last a long time (recently retired my '94 Honda.) Cheap or no vacation 3 out of every 4 years. No smartphone; just a bare bones cell phone.
Splurge: A nice cruise every few years. Two away from home A shows each year (but not this year as horse is on stall rest). We always buy a good car when we need one, and we buy new instead of used. My new ride is a 2012 VW Golf diesel with a sunroof and navigation package.
Smart: Contribute to 401K. We bought a fixer-upper house last year and put a LOT of time and effort into it and it looks great. It's renting for $300 more per month than the real estate agent thought we could get when looking at it before renovations, and even then, we are renting it for maybe $200 less per month than we could get. We recently bought a condo to use as another rental. Cash flow should allow us to keep our money in the 401K longer. No credit card debt. Our own house is not fancy but it's home. Stay healthy. Eat right.
We are on a cash dite. A cash diet is useing cash only, not CC's.
DH and I started in Jan this year. I use to use only use cash, then got married and went to DH's way and then ended up in the hole big time with all the problems we ended up having out here. The cost of living is much higher and my pay check is much smaller.
In Jan I put us on a cash diet. We started Jan in the red just about half of our monthly income. Now two months later we are in the black that same amount. We each get $20.00 a week for spending money to use on things like lunch, juck food. when that $20.00 is gone then we have to wait till the next week. We fill up with gas on Sunday and have to make it last for the week. We are bronw baging it for lunch, I was doing this more then DH was before. We go out for supper once a week, before we would eat out 2-3 times.
DH was very hard to get to come around. He didn't want to give up his cards he was sulkey and bitchy and the first week was the hardest for him. He would just buy stuff to buy stuff and we don't need anything, we have everything we need. I did give back one card but after he used it to go out to luch with the guys at work I had to take it away again. He is now on board after seeing what we could do. On Feb 29th I had all the bills paid for the month of March and had mad big payments on the CC's and we still had almost a pay check amount of money left over. It was harder for him then it was for me only because I use to live that way for years, but for him not being able to just pull out the card and buy has been hard.
It is now after the 15th and most months at this time we would only have a few hundred left after payday, we have almost a full paycheck in the bank and other them gas money we are good I only have to pick up a few fresh things from the store. I think we will be making a much bigger payment on the CC's this month. I am very happy with the way things are going.
My life motto now is "You can't fix stupid!"
Are you going to cowboy up, or lie there and bleed