There is a very popular radio show on which the host says something about living like no one else now, so you can live like no one else later. The idea being that if you cut out every form of spending other than the bare necessities now, you can get out of debt and then have all of this discretionary spending money later in life to spend on whatever you want. What a wonderful thought, and it is not bad advise except for the fact that it is a very difficult thing to do. It is similar to a diet. If you cut out every extra calorie, every food that was bad for you or anything that was beyond a pure nutritional need, you could loose weight and have a supermodel body. Most of us, however, have difficulty doing either. Just like with a diet, if you cut out all spending except for the essentials, you end up feeling very deprived and its very had to stick with it for any length of time to really make a difference.
Here are some easy things you can do to save a lot of money without depriving yourself.
If you dine out a lot, instead of cutting that out of your budget completely, use curbside service instead. Most chain restaurants offer this. You can get the same food without having to pay the 15%-20% tip you would pay for full table service. You save even more since you aren’t typically ordering drinks. This can conservatively save you $15 per visit or $780 per year if you dine out only once a week. No deprivation, because you are eating the exact same food.
Bonus savings tip: Add a side of vegetables or another quick and inexpensive side at home. Because restaurants are notorious about giving very large portions, you can easily order one large meal to split between two people.
Bonus Benefits: You don’t have to wait in line or have a bad experience with the service both of which can ruin a meal.
Stop seeing movies in the theater. While it is nice to see movies on the big screen, the savings you get from renting from a vending machine rental is well worth it. When movies cost upwards of $8 a ticket, not to mention snacks, waiting the time for them to come out on video will save tons. You just have to get over that initial hump. Once you stop going to the movies you will have to wait a little while for those to come out on video, but once they do, you will always have a good choice of movies to rent and there is no deprivation because you still get to watch the same movies. Even if you only go to the movies once a month and sneak in your own candy, you can conservatively save $18 a month or $216 per year.
Bonus savings tip: Get movies from the library. They have new releases, and they are free.
Bonus Benefits: Every movie seems better when it costs next to nothing. There is nothing worse than spending $40 on movies and popcorn only to see a mediocre movie.
Go grocery shopping daily or every few days. When you stock up on too many things it is very easy for food to go to waste. How many times have you tossed fruit that wasn’t eaten or partial loaves of bread that have gotten stale? You don’t deprive yourself of the food you want, in fact your choices are actually greater. Because even throwing away a few items a week probably adds up to a minimal $5 a week or $260 per year, you save a lot.
Bonus savings tip: Doing a quick search on the Internet or newspapers for coupons and store sales saves you even more if you do it daily or weekly because you get the items on sale on one store one day and another store the next.
Bonus Benefits: Dinner is easier to prepare when things are fresh and you don’t have to decide ahead of time what to take out of the freezer.
Shop at thrift stores for clothes, jewelry, or household items. If you haven’t tried it or think you aren’t going to get nice things, think again. Many people hate to throw away nice quality and designer clothes. So what do they do? They donate them. My favorite is Goodwill because all shirts are one price, all jeans, another, so you will get designer items for the same price as discount store brands. Yesterday I bought a very nice skirt from Talbot’s and very nice designer shirt for $3.69 a piece. Both looked new. Men’s suits and ties may be rarely worn yet show up there. Nice suits, some with the tags still on, are only $25. There is no deprivation when you can still shop an still by high quality items. Here is an example of estimated savings based on what I bought this week. It only takes a few items a month to save big. 2 Pairs of Sterling Silver ea rings, $6 vs $20. 1 game for the kids, sealed and new. $2.00 vs. $15.00. 1 outfit for myself $7.38 vs. $50. $69 for the month or $828 per year
Bonus savings tip: Go often to find the best stuff.
Bonus Benefits: Rarely will you find antiques and collectibles, toys, jewelry, music Cd’s and books all in one convenient and small place. Extra Bonus Benefit: If you normally don’t treat yourself to designer items now you can.
Save on fast food by carrying water with you or keep the fridge at work stocked with your favorite drinks. You aren’t deprived if you still eat the food you want. Who would miss a $2 drink in a paper cup with ice and a straw. If you save $2 a day on a drink that is $10 for a work week or $520 a year. Big savings.
Bonus savings tip: Brown bag it if you can.
Bonus Benefits: Trading the soft drinks for water has a health benefit as well
Here are some quick trades to save you some money.
Trade your deodorant for baking soda. It works great.
Trade your expensive shampoo for Suave. You really don’t notice the difference.
Trade your household cleaners for baking soda, vinegar and water, bleach and water, or a steam machine.
Trade your colored linens, towels and underwear for white ones. They always look fresh and clean because
you can use bleach so you don’t have replace them often.
I hope these tips help you save lots of money, so not only can you live later in life like no one else, but so you don’t have to eat beans and rice every night for the next two years to do it.