You probably shouldn’t do everything you read on the Internet, but trust me here. If you’re spending money on these things, you probably shouldn’t be. Take all of these suggestions with a grain of salt. No one should give up a hobby if it brings enjoyment(unless it is just plain unhealthy). The message you should take from this is that, if you’re creative you can continue living a full exciting life without breaking the bank.
1. Music– Now some of you are going to hate me for this one. One of my greatest loves is music. I love finding new music, supporting local artists, going to concerts, organizing my playlists (seriously you guys – music is my boyfriend). However, I am able to support my unhealthy addiction without breaking the bank. For exploring music there are a MILLION options: grooveshark, pandora, spotify (My personal fave), youtube, myspace (not kidding, check it out), 8tracks, soundcloud and soooo many more options! But what about the artists?!! Yes, by all means buy an album and support these people but also remember that when you play their songs all the way through on sites like Spotify or Pandora, these artists are seeing money by way of royalties.
2. Books – One word. Library. Yes they still exist and they are amazing and full of awesome resources. A cool thing that is popping up in Atlanta are roadside libraries (they look like birdhouses, but they are full of books!). You drive up, drop off your books, and pick one to read. It is great idea and definitely adds a sense of community. If you don’t have these available, you should. If you don’t want to build a road-side library, fine, you can implement the same sort of community in your office, neighborhood, social circles, etc. Share your resources!
3. Fast Food– This is a convenience that you pay a premium for. It is not quality. It is not healthy. A little foresight in planning snacks and meals for the day will make cutting this unnecessary convenience out of your life for good.
4. Cable– I used to be one of those people that couldn’t imagine going without my favorite tv shows. After cutting the cord, I’ve found a million other uses for my time and can honestly say I’m a much happier person. Instead of going home from work and vegging out on the couch, I do a number of meaningful tasks such as: cook, walk my dog, garden, call a friend. So simple and so fulfilling. I do not miss the tube at all. I do subscribe to Netflix where I can get my fix of TV if need be for about $8 a month as opposed to $100+.
5. Gym Membership– This has been the hardest for me but the little extra work I’ve put in so far has been worth the savings (in membership, commute time, and gas money). I do have a gym at my office, but without this I would still be able to get by. There are so many resources on the Internet and it’s true, you don’t need fancy equipment to get in shape- Just the road and your body weight. The hardest part about this has been forcing yourself to work out at home. A cool app that has helped me stay focused is Gym-pact. The days of paying to stay fit are long over. With this app, you make a pact to work out so many days a week and if you meet it you get paid, if not your pocketbook takes a beating. Shouldn’t be too hard to meet you pact though if your priority is to be healthy.
My savings this year from the changes I’ve made: (Jan – March)
Cable ($360) – Netflix ($24) savings = $336
Spotify Subscription savings = $30
Books (I was a frequent Amazon book buyer) savings = roughly $50
Water savings = roughly $40
Gym membership savings = $180
That is over $600 in savings for just three months and my life is fuller and more meaningful. What can you cut out? What have you cut out that’s not on my list?