Instead of making New Year’s resolutions about food and fitness, this year I decided to focus on finances. Being in a brand new home means wanting new things. It is hard to sit back and just be happy for the fact we have a roof over our heads, instead of focusing on all the furniture we do not yet possess. However, home ownership is a work in progress. I have come to terms with not having everything right now, especially since our home took almost two years to be built.
Here are the tips I am following this year to switch my money mindset to one of saving versus spending.
Learning to Reset the Way I Handle Money …
I always have loved thrift store shopping, and Plato’s Closet is my favorite. Some of their items are brand new, with tags, and many of my most complimented pieces come from this store. It saves us a lot of money, and I don’t feel bad when I grow tired of an item because it only cost me $3. You also can make money by selling your gently worn clothing to them, which you can turn around and use to buy new things there–basically spending no money.
Sell the books you already have read to a local used bookstore. If any of the books have recipes in them, take pics of the recipes on your phone so you have them before you purge. I read quickly, so I go through books rather fast. It’s nice to know I can turn around and sell them back to the bookstore where I bought them.
Remove yourself from all online store email lists. Receiving these in our inboxes each day prompts us to check out the “sales” they are promoting, which leads to spending money. If you never receive the emails, you won’t even think about them. Out of sight, out of mind. If I do buy something online, I always make sure to “Google” the term “promo codes” or “coupon codes” from the store to get additional money off or free shipping. Also, when I love an item that is carried on multiple websites, I always do a Google search for the item to find the store that has the item at the lowest price before I make a purchase.
Go through the Instagram accounts you follow that make you feel like buying new clothing, makeup, etc. and unfollow them. I found that following clothing boutiques just made me want clothes more. Plus, the one time I did buy from one of those sites, the quality was horrid. So, I can attest to it not even being worth it.
Listen to podcasts and watch shows/documentaries that talk about mindfulness and minimalism. These will put you in the mindset and frame your thoughts around what you DO have, not what you think you NEED. This weekend I watched free YouTube videos with Marie Kondo (author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up) and cleaned through all my random kitchen drawers, throwing out anything not “sparking joy”.
Instead of reading fashion blogs and coveting overpriced clothing, read articles and websites that focus on saving. My favorites are: And Then We Saved, Learnvest and Dave Ramsey’s Blog. I love to read back in the archives to stories of other savers and how they have paid off thousands of dollars of debt. It really motivates me.
This tip really got me through my stressful home building experience. When you have quiet time in the morning, or at night before bed, write out what you are grateful for. It can be just your top three things, but this will bring you to a place of mindfulness for what you DO have already, making it easier to not think about all the things you think you need.
By changing my daily habits and the everyday influences I receive from social media and advertisers, I’m working to reset the way I handle money. Here’s to a year filled with savings!
What about you? What ways are you learning to reset the way you handle money?
Elizabeth Coe is a freelance writer who blogs at hauteandhealthy.com about living a conscious life in everything from health to home. She recently survived a major home renovation that took two years and all of her money, while living with her in-laws.
Great tips! I second thrift store buying. I like Clothes Mentor (I can’t fit into Plato’s Closet stuff any more, womp womp). I would suggest focusing on quality brands at the thrift store in the first place so they’ll last a long time. I’m going more for timeless pieces that I love instead of fads. That keeps me from going through a crapton of in-style clothes and contributing to the landfill. It keeps my budget happy as well. :)
I am changing the way I grocery shop. Instead of trying to buy a week’s worth of groceries at a time, I am aiming to buy 2-3 meals worth of food at a time. I found that I was over estimating how much food we actually eat and some of it would go bad. Now I buy the ingredients for 2-3 meals (which will usually last for 4-5 days, we like leftovers) and the challenge to use up what we have on hand before heading back to the store. It runs counter to the mainstream advice of staying out of the store to avoid spending money, but it is working better so far.
Might I suggest visiting your library for books, if you aren’t planning on keeping them anyway?