live it active

On learning what I don’t need to (happily) survive

Since graduation this past July, I have been slowly watching my finances deplete. Soon, Ontario Student Loans will be a knocking and my dwindling funds will be even further depleted. Yes, I run my own health promotion business, but times are tough for most North American businesses and therefore investing in a health promotion strategy isn’t feasible for many at present. I know that I am not alone in the dwindling-bank-account-department as many North Americans are in a more precarious financial state than I. Remembering this during low periods has definitely helped me.

In order to ensure that my dineros deplete less quickly, I instigated a number of money-saving techniques that have been unbelievably useful. Thus, not only have I saved money over the past few months, I have learned perhaps a greater lesson – that I truly do not need that much to survive.

So what did I do?

1. Created a budget and started writing down every purchase (yes, even those 50 cent purchases).

2. Scrapped dying my hair, purchasing any major cosmetic products, and waxing. Cost savings = $920 per year.

3. Got rid of my gym membership. Fortunately, I teach 5-7 fitness classes per week so this decision was easy for me. Cost savings = $600 per year

4. Reduced my alcohol intake and thus, purchase of alcohol. Cost savings = $500 per year.

5. Made a weekly meal plan that incorporated less meat and more beans, lentils, and chickpeas. Cost savings = being figured out.

6. Started drinking more water and less pop. Cost savings = $270 per year.

7. While I bought clothes a few months ago, I haven’t purchased any athletic gear since graduation which is a major challenge for me. I love new athletic gear more than new shoes, clothes, makeup, you name it. Cost savings  = $400-500 per year.

8. Started grocery shopping at Food Basics and No Frills instead of Zehrs/Loblaws. Cost savings  = being figured out.

9. Stopped purchasing coffee out. I now make my second cup at home which is easy for me as I work/search for part-time jobs from home. Cost savings =$780 per year.

10. We stopped going out for cheap dinners (as much) and save up for special occasions. Cost savings  = $1560 per year.

In total I am saving approximately $5030 per year! And that is not including the savings from shopping at cheaper grocery stores and reducing my meat consumption. And not only have I saved a bunch of money, but I have become healthier. Drinking more water and less alcohol/pop, eating more grains/lentils/etc., and not dying my hair are much better for my body.

And as I said above, I have realized something very important – I don’t need much in order to survive, and to happily survive at that. Yes, sometimes I wish I could purchase something without feeling the purse-strings tighten, but I continue to move forward. And to be honest, it’s quite refreshing and enlivening to not have so much unnecessary stuff, products, food, etc. lying around the house.

I encourage you to see what you can (happily) live without. I think you’d be surprised.

Happy budgeting.



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  1. * Jenny says:

    Great post, Morgan. This really hit home for me as well. Living in Toronto, I have quickly come to realize is not a cheap place to reside. You can get caught up in wanting to live the high life – eating out at fancy restaurants, purchasing the latest trends in fashion so you can ‘fit in’ with the catwalk-that-is-the-sidewalk..the list goes on.

    We have saved money by also purchasing the ‘no name’ food items at the grocery store, and trying new adventurous recipes. Cooking a meal together with your partner is romantic, healthier and satisfying – plus, leftovers are great!! We also buy the bulk bag of Starbucks beans to home brew every morning = good coffee at a much lower cost. My co-workers are jealous.

    Especially at this time of year, it’s hard not to get caught up in the consumption craze. Homemade gifts that may have less frills, but much more thought are often more appreciated – spending more time on gifts and less money is my motto for the season.

    These are all great tips you have provided – and would love to hear what others are doing to trim their budgets!


    | Reply Posted 6 years, 3 months ago
    • Those are great pieces of advice, Jenny. Thank you for sharing those! I agree, making a dinner with your partner is more satisfying, better on the bank account, and healthier!

      I would love to hear more ideas as well!

      I forgot to mention that we stopped buying K-cups and moved to buying ground coffee in a tin. Our Keurig has sadly been put away, but it was costing us 50 cents per cup! Our new method of coffee making, while a little more labour intensive, costs only 12 cents per cup!

      | Reply Posted 6 years, 3 months ago
  2. * Chris Valeriote says:

    Really enjoyed the article Morgan!

    Great Job!

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 3 months ago

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