How I Live On One Income

how i save money.jpg

This is going to be a tip heavy, long, and a very honest post about how I support myself on one income. If that isn't something that you're interested in learning, no offense taken. I will see you in the next post. If you're interested in learning about how I save money in my every day life, keep reading.

I believe that we tend to spend our money on things that don't make our lives better but are easy. My first tip is to write down the things in your life that make you happy. Moments and experiences that are relaxing or bring you joy. If you know what in your life brings you greater happiness then you can keep better track of times when you're spending money on things that you know don't enhance your life in any way. Here's my example. Something in my life that makes me happy is when I experience things. When I go to a museum, or a play, or a farmers market. I realized, in my life, even when I'm exhausted from work, if I go out of my house and take myself somewhere it brings me energy. When I see my close friends and family, it brings joy and energy. I say that to say this, when I'm spending 60-70 a month on cable that I'm not watching it isn't bringing me joy and I'm waisting my money. I could instead either save that money or spending 30 of it at the farmers market and save the other 30. And if I spend the 30 on local produce I'm being environmentally responsible, it makes me happy because I went to the farmers market, and now I can cook at home and save money that I would have spent going out to eat. That circle makes me happy just thinking about it!! 

I love my parents and they have instilled a lot in me when it comes to saving. I firmly believe there are savers and there are spenders. I am a saver who likes to spend, but is very picky on what she spends money on. I worked/scholarshiped (is that a word, we'll go with yes) my way through college. I never had a 4.0 but there are still scholarships you can find. I hate saying this because I hated hearing it when I was in college, but I wish I had spent more of my time searching and applying for scholarships. College is the one time in life where businesses are very willing to give you their money if you're wiling to look for it. What other time in life are people willing to give you thousands of dollars to learn? Very few!

Don't get the meal plan. It's a waist of your money and it's not healthy food. I know it's hard to cook, but you can do it. One way my friends and myself got around it, was to have a dinner together every Thursday. That way we always knew that at least one day a week we were going to have a home cooked meal. If you have to microwave meal it sometimes thats ok! Also, cereal is your friend! 

Don't chase the tag. By that I mean this. The name that is on the tag of your clothing only means what you let it mean. In fact, it only means something because the collective group of people decided it means something. Go after quality over the logo. A quality piece of clothing right now may cost what two of your other popular brand shirts may but it will last you longer and you will be happier with it. Don't go crazy with the spending but realize that a tag doesn't always mean something is better or worse quality. If shopping is something that makes you happy, then be smart about it. Don't shop in the front of the store, check the sales racks. Find the thrift stores in your area that have the good quality items and check there. I have found burberry at goodwill, just saying.

Walk around with it. Impulse buying is what the stores want you to do, but not what your bank account wants you do to. When you pick things up, walk around with them. Think, where in my house is this pot holder going to go? Do I need another candle? If you, like me, love candles that is a hard one. The last time I moved I realized I had an entire box just of candles, why am I buying more! Clearly I have enough that I can burn for now. When I get down to two then I'll think about buying more. 

Enjoy what you have. Something that Emily Gilmore said in the revival was that she was getting rid of items that didn't bring her joy. That's so smart!! If you walk around your apartment or house and think "ehh" those things should go. Don't go throwing away your couch because you think it's ehh, but enjoy what you have. We don't need much to survive. you don't need another purse, you just don't. But you do need your house to be a safe and comfortable zone that brings you joy and energy. Love the pieces you have or trade them for ones you will love.

Think ahead. I would love to go to Europe this summer, but I need to start planing that now. The closer you get to something the higher the prices tend to be. If you check online now for flights you can play with dates and find the dates that work for you and are the most cost effective. If you are strict on your dates and plan only weeks ahead, your prices are bound to be higher because you have fewer options. 

Learn what give you incentives. I love coffee!! I have a starbucks rewards card because I know I will earn enough points with or without the card to reap the benefits. Don't get a rewards card and spend more just because of the card, but learn how the card can work for you. I also have a credit card that I earn points on. I'm going to pay bills and purchase gas each month anyway, why not earn rewards for doing so? I will say a caviot to that is, I know I won't overspend because I have a credit card. If you know yourself and know you will spend more just because you can, don't get the card!

Every time I come back from a trip I look around my apartment and think about all the things I don't need. You just spent however many days living out of your suitcase and now you have all of this stuff again. Its a wonderful way to realize how little you need. Honestly, even the idea of this post is a blessing. To have the opportunity to downside and not be always thinking about how you're going to pay for your next meal or find a new pair of shoes is a wonderful blessing. Donate to places that help others. It feels good, but also you really are helping people who need those plates much more than your cabinet does. 

The only way to save money is to either make more or spend less. So if you love painting, see if you can maybe sell a few of your pieces on etsy to earn some extra fun money. There are ways, even in the most fugal of lives, to save or make more. Think outside of the norm and find those ways in your life.

You can do it!! What ways have you learned to save money or make more?