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.