Instead of spending money, read about saving money

Sometimes I buy things I don’t need. Sometimes I spend way more than I should. This is tragically over-common in America. Tonight I really wanted to go and buy some stuff. Maybe some clothes at Old Navy, a piece of furniture or cuptainer for my apartment at Bed, Bath, and Beyond- stuff I do not need.

I told a friend, which felt mostly good, besides being a wee bit embarrassing. It’s the truth, though, and I’ve really started to think about saving over spending, and how I can moving on paying off all this debt (some credit card and monstrous student loans mostly).

They suggested that instead of going out and spending, I read up on money-saving blogs.

It is feeling wonderful, and I found myself going from page to page and link after link of great information. I even found a good sight that has a site “The Simple Dollar” that has a 31-day plan to fix your finances (it costs $2 to download, which I can totally respect, so as I get around to really making this happen, when I find $2 I have clearly saved, I will purchase it)

Here are some of my favorite tips I found:

1) The most obvious- getting out of debt first – come up with a plan that focuses on paying off debt efficiently so you can get to saving. This plan must be strategical, involving GOALS, and REASON FOR PAYING OFF PROCESS (for instance if you are going to pay off a credit card, which one first and why).

2) Think before you buy– Sometimes I just get the “urge to splurge” and there are certainly reasons behind it. Recently a friend “froze” my credit cards for me. I told my family about this and they were like- “What! How did they have the power to do that?!” And I realized they thought I was saying froze in a legal way, but it was very literal- he took my cards and put them in a container with water in the freezer. That way, if I want to use them, I have to wait several hours for them to thaw. This has really helped me cut back on spending. So often I just want to buy something that I definitely do not need.

3) Be happier about not spending– use rewards (that are of little or no financial cost) and re-focus. I like the idea of making posters or pictures of what you are saving for around your house and even their simple suggestion of keeping up your personal appearance. When they showered, shaved, and put on some cologne they felt life to be much more manageable. I like that idea and have also felt that way after simply showering (which is sort of odd to me). Similarly, I like earning more in pleasant ways (even though my full-time job is more than full-time), and I am thinking of ways to trade and barter instead of buying things I need- freecycle!

4) CUT YOUR FOOD SPENDING! This is a huge one for me, and I really like the beans and rice blog I found. I have cut back on dining out and it’s made a difference. At this age (mid-20’s) it’s so easy to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars a month on food. I do love to eat healthily and organic, and spending at Whole Foods can equal Whole Paycheck. Limiting eating out, and shopping at several different stores for different things has really helped. Getting a food budget and sticking to it, as well as eating more rice, beans, and vegetable dishes could really help.

5) JUST DO IT. Take a look at this awesome job this blogger did on sprucing up an old wood table. Amazing! There are so many good ideas out there. I have to start adding more to my life and enjoying the process.

One I can think of is making Christmas gifts for people. Because I didn’t go shopping on Black Friday, I really wanted to buy gifts for people today, and I am in a tight situation. Instead, I could really start implementing some of these tips, and perhaps make some soap? Print out my own pictures and make gifts with those? Crocheting? Lots of good ideas.

Blogging is a really fun and free activity that makes me feel better. Organizing my digital photos is also a good idea.

I am a saver! (I do have an ING direct savings account which I love, but right now there is not enough in there to make me happy). Day by day. I started off tonight on the right foot, by not going and shopping for no reason, fueled by false values.

Take that, excessive consumption monster! Reminds me of when we interviewed people at college for a project for an environmental science class and only 3 out of like 50 people said anything about thinking about the environmental impact on all the shopping and wrapping involved during the holidays.

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