For the last year or so we have been taking steps towards simplicity. For some its a semi-fast process… not for us, its been little by little changing habits, purging stuff room by room and fighting the need to buy more. It’s amazing to me how things creep back into the house under the guise of ‘good things.’ The most recent example of this is books.
I’ve realized that I’m NEVER going to read all the fiction books I’ve acquired. So I decided to purge (again) my book collection down to my 1 favorite collection that I can read over and over. Just removing fiction book equaled around 30 books out of the house, next I’m going to tackle my cook book collection.
At the same time I was purgeing I created a list of books I needed to buy….umm WHAT?? How does that even make sense?
So after a few days of…justifying that they were personal development or Bible Study books and then moving on to the Nook vs physical book argument (full price vs clutter.) I finally checked the library to see if they had the books on my list. They did, of course. So now instead of adding to my collection I’m going to check them out, and read them. Then if its one I need to mark up and re-read I MIGHT buy it, used. But mostly I’m just going to keep a note book going so I can look back at that.
So there you have it, I’ve hit two things I’m working on this year, less clutter and less money spent.
What simple steps are you taking?
We are thinking a move is in our future…but not for a few years. Until then we want to make sure we are redoing the things we can in our house so that when we do sell it, its more appealing to buyers. As an added bonus it will be more appealing to us in the meantime
We were in the process of making a plan when our faucet started leaking…no spraying out water and our cook top cracked Mission number one was the faucet, we still have 2 burners that work on the cook top, so it is 2nd on the list.
I’ve been searching sales and craigslist for a while and bam this last Friday I found the perfect faucet at less than 1/2 the price it would be in store. PLUS it came with a stainless steel sink!!
On top of that good luck my parents came in to town and my dad is great at this stuff so he helped us get it all installed. Oh and the garbage disposal connecter on the new/used sink just happened to match our disposal so we didn’t have to mess with removing that from the old sink! That turned out to be a very good thing because after my dad and hubby got everything hooked up the faucet wouldn’t turn off….umm thats not good. It took them another 1/2 hour of fiddling but they found out that at some point the handle had been messed with and put back together wrong. A few changes and we now have a new sink and faucet that would have cost us over $400 new but we only paid $80. Green and Cheap!
Honestly I think E-Bay and Craigslist are two of the best things to be invented for those who want to live more sustainably (ie buying used) and spend less money. You have to be smart in what you buy, make sure to take a good look at the product or buy from a reputable seller but over all I’ve had great experiences with both buying and selling through these avenues.
What was your best score on Craigslist or Ebay?
So in the last few weeks I’ve come up with a list of needs….weird they weren’t things I needed a month ago and my life situation really hasn’t changed….so why all the sudden do I need these things? Turns out I’m a stress shopper…and I can justify things pretty easily.
This round was bags and thankfully I only bought on and it was with the hubbys blessing. I’m not sure I really talked myself out of the other bag I was going to buy though, more like I got lucky. I delayed long enough looking for a deal that my friend finally said “don’t buy it that was going to be my gift for baby #2.”
I did however make an impulse buy of a new baby carrier that was on SUPER sale…I love the design I have been looking at it for a while but I’ve never purchased it because it is basically a slightly different version of our Ergo. Oops! Well when it gets here hubby and I will check it out see if it will get used and if not I got such a good deal I should be able to sell it at a small profit so it will work out.
Blah blab blah, the point is why is my stress ‘reliever’ something that will just cause more stress ($$/adding to clutter?) I’m not sure it always is my outlet, I think when I’m able running is most of the time but right now that’s no longer an option.
For now I’m not going to beat myself up, I recognize it and hopefully next time I can catch it sooner. I didn’t blow the budget and I didn’t buy anything outrageous so it will all work out.
Do you have a stress relieving habit that just causes more stress?
I’m going to make a broad sweeping generalization here…..Americans have their priorities wrong. We don’t NEED TV, we don’t NEED our cell phones, however we do NEED food and shelter (with all that includes, heat, electricity and such.) If we are spending every dime paying the cable company and delaying our payments to the gas company then we are doing it wrong.
Mac and I’s priorities are different than most peoples, basic bills first, then our cell phones and then travel (not just vacations but going to see my family too, it all costs money) and our hobbies, things that get us out of the house and moving. Do these things cost too much? Probably, do we stop doing them when the budget is tight? Definitely. But we have decided that we are going to eliminate some of our un needed bills in order to save more so we can continue to afford things that are priorities to us.
An obvious area of over spending was TV, to get the sports channels we ‘needed’ for hockey it was $99 a month…ahem that is $1200.00 a year for TV!! So we called DirecTv and told them we were going to cancel, they gave us a great discount for the remainder of hockey season so we are going to hang on for 3 months and then…bye bye TV. We are going to purchase 2 things (Apple TV or something similer and NHL.com for the 2014-15 season) a this year that will equal 2 months worth of TV so all together for 2014 we are going to pay for 5 months of TV out of 12.
We have also taken a deep look at out budget and found that despite using cash for dining out we were still justifying to many extra times out equaling more than $1,000.00 over our budgeted amount….I can’t believe I just admitted that. I’m proud to say that we have stuck to our cash budget the last few months and its been great, better for our health and our wallets!
Where do you need to re-prioritize your spending?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the reuse part of the 3 R’s lately, not only is it great for the environment but its great for our budgets.
A decent reuseable water bottle (one you can carry around without leaking in your purse) will run between $15-$25 average. Compare that to most bottles of water at the store lets say $1 each and you have broke even in 15-25 bottles and everything after that is saving you $.95 cents or so (figuring the cost of tap water.) Now lets say you buy bottles of water by the case and average about $3 a case anywhere between 5-9 cases you have broke even and are saving money!
How about bags? Specifically Purses and work/daily bags I”m not going to say my particular taste in brands is cheap…its not. There are plenty of high quality bags out there at a decent price and if you find one you love pay a little more and then re use it from year to year. I have a purse for each season so I’m always feeling like I get a ‘new’ one, but really its the same one as last year! I do the same thing with my work bags just keep them rotating.
Buy purchasing clothes or household items of a little higher quality we can use them over and over and in the end save $$ and be a little greener by not needing to replace those items often.