Just stop buying avocado toast right? Uggh. Spending is personal and sometimes emotionally driven. Oftentimes the advice we receive to cut down on spending isn’t realistic nor particularly helpful.
For this article I wanted to share things that I know have helped either myself or people I know and trust. They’re not meant to be strategies that will make you a millionaire, just tweaks that can potentially add up to something important.
Marie Kondo your shit
Why might getting rid of stuff help you spend less? Because Marie Kondo’s strategy has you organize all of your stuff in a way that you always know what you have because you can actually see it.
Some of the advice she gives gets a little fluffy for me. I’m not going to kiss my extra scissors goodbye. What I love is actually knowing I have scissors so I don’t buy more.
Marie Kondo also gives you tools for being more intentional about what you bring into your home. Once your space is decluttered there’s incentive not to clutter it up again. Personally I found it to be subtle yet significant, especially in buying new clothes.
Since this is a blog about saving I suggest not buying the book – you can use the Overdrive app, youtube or even your local library (totes old school). Then pile all of your shit up and donate or sell it.
Audit your subscriptions
In 2020 the top subscription based consumer apps grossed $13B. That is an ungodly amount of money making its way out of people’s wallets.
I’m personally curious how many of those apps were being actively used by the people paying the subscriptions. More times than I would like to admit I have signed up for a free trial to “save” money and then totally forgotten about it just to end up paying for the damn thing for months.
These payments are so easy to forget about because they’re priced to be small enough to not remember. The threshold I learned working in ecommerce is $20 for impulse purchases. That means that industry as a whole has a lot of data to back up people thinking “ahh it’s just $20” that’s why prices tend to stay below that mark for subscriptions.
Use your freezer
The average US citizen throws away 30-40% of their food every year. Sit with that for a minute, is it true for you? It was true for me.
In dollar value that ends up at an average of $1866 a year per household straight into the garbage. Meanwhile, most Americans can’t cover a $1000 emergency expense.
I read that and all I could think of was the scene in the hunger games where The Capitol citizens are making themselves throw up so they can eat more while the districts go hungry.
And let’s not even get into how fucked up this is for the environment.
Instead let’s focus on what this means for your bank account. If five years ago you had stopped buying food you were going to throw away and instead had invested that money – you would have over $11K sitting pretty right now. In 10 years that would be $31K.
Now if you’re like me, one of the many reasons you throw away so much food is because you get lazy, don’t feel like cooking and order out. Let’s say that happens twice a week and the average cost is $25. Over the course of ten years had that money been invested instead it would be worth $40K.
In this hypothetical scenario we have someone losing out on $70K every decade. That’s bananas.
Enter the freezer – this handy dandy tool which almost all of us have can help you to avoid throwing away food and allow you to have food on hand when you don’t feel like cooking. Just freeze extra food (ok not salads). Boom $70K just from cutting down spending on food that was headed for the trash.
Fall in love with Poshmark
This advice comes from a friend who somehow manages to always look fabulous and also has no debt. What a bitch 🙂
Her advice was to go shopping, find exactly what you want – try it on and everything. Then go home and buy the exact same thing used on Poshmark.
I love this advice for a few reasons –
- It cuts down on spending, without sacrificing quality.
- It keeps clothes out of the dump. 85% of all textiles go in the garbage each year.
- It keeps more clothes from being made – 10% of carbon emissions come from the fashion industry.
The average person spends $161 per month on clothes or $2K per year. Used clothes are significantly cheaper (how cheap depends on how used you want to go…)
Even if you don’t choose to save the money and continue to spend it on clothes, your dollars are going to go further. This means you’re more likely to buy something you like and actually wear it rather than let it sit in a pile until you get frustrated and donate or toss it.
And the most impactful way to cut down on spending? Say no.
I can’t take credit for this advice, it comes from The Budgetnista. It is my favorite financial saving advice and it is also the one that is a continuous struggle for me.
The story The Budgetnista tells is how she would go to brunch all the time with her girlfriends. She finally realized that brunch was her friends’ love, not hers, so she started saying “no” to the invites and stashing away the money saved towards things that really were her loves.
Before the pandemic I was out on the town all the time. When quarantine hit, like many people, it was a moment of reckoning for me and my lifestyle. It turns out I’m much more introverted than I ever realized. All this time I had been spending money on outings I didn’t really want to do.
As things are opening up, I’m trying to figure out how to find balance between reconnecting with the people I love and not burning out on energy and funds.
I think it will be a lifelong journey to learn when to say no and when to head out the door.
Have any techniques to cut down on spending that have worked for you? Please do share below![/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]