Sunday, August 12, 2012

25 Concessions

When we decided we wanted to live a lifestyle with a lot more freedom and a lot less money, we took a hard look at where our money was going and decided we could continue to live as we were (spending like maniacs and working like maniacs to keep up) or we could totally change our lifestyle so that we would work less and spend less.  We decided on the later and I couldn't be happier but there were a lot of concession we had to make in order to make this lifestyle work.  Here's a list:

  1. We moved from a city with a higher cost of living (outside of Seattle) to a city with a lower cost of living (Las Vegas).  While I like Seattle a lot more than Vegas, the much lower cost of living has sold me on the place (not to mention the SUNSHINE!).
  2. We bought a house with payments that are 1/3 the amount the payments we had on our last house.  While it is a smaller house, I just love it and with a smaller house comes lower utility bills, no yard so no yard guy to hire, less time to clean, etc.
  3. No more new sports car for me.  We have one (well used, older) car that we both share.  And it's paid off so no car payments.
  4. No more manicures and pedicures--I do this myself now.  Unfortunately the results are nowhere near salon quality but it will do.
  5. No more cable TV.  We bought over-the-air antennas for each of our TVs and receive free TV.
  6. No more cool cell phones and expensive cell phone plans.  We use basic cells phones and $30 per month pre-paid plans.
  7. Instead of every-six-week appointments at the salon for a $35 haircut, I now use my $4.99 coupon for a haircut at Great Clips (and try to wait at least eight weeks between haircuts).
  8. I don't buy books anymore.  Instead I check them out from the library (it only takes one time of having to pack and move an entire library of books to make you want to switch every book you own to an e reader!).
  9. No credit cards.  Which is why I am dying for a Samsung Galaxy 7" tab but have to wait until I actually have the cash to buy it.  This does, however, save a ton of money over paying with credit cards then sweating the payments each time you get a bill.
  10. We don't buy movies any more.  Hubby checks them out from the library (at an alarming pace!) and now we don't have to pay for, store, or take care of a bunch of movies we will probably never watch again.
  11. Fewer vacations.  Fortunately I am not having vacation withdrawal yet because we traveled so much over the past couple of years (easy to do when you don't have a house payment!) but there is no more booking a cruise or two each year in addition to a few cross country vacations.  On the bright side, we live in a vacation destination so people can come visit us!
  12. Less stuff.  Besides having less food stored which I don't much like (I like a big surplus just in case) it is much nicer having a lot less stuff to deal with.  Our garage is positively sparse...I could roller skate in there!
  13. We eat leftovers.  A lot.  I hate the thought of wasting food and if a meal was good once it will certainly be good again so we tend to eat leftovers rather than throwing them away.
  14. We don't go to restaurants nearly as often.  For many years we ate out at least once, often two or three times a day, and that was super expensive (not to mention super unhealthy).
  15. No dry cleaning.  If clothes don't survive the washer-dryer test we don't wear them.  Needless to say I am quite happy that I haven't had to wear a business suit in a couple of years.
  16. No spur of the moment shopping.  Each shopping trip is planned and budgeted for (which was kind of a bummer when my friend was here--she was shopping with abandon but I didn't buy anything because we hadn't planned or saved for me to buy a new dress or a new pair of shoes).   
  17. We actually go out of our way to control our utility (water, gas, electricity) usage.  We never tracked our spending on utilities before and just paid whatever the bill was, but now we are hyper aware of what we use because we know that each kilowatt hour of electricity adds up.
  18. We also track how much driving we do.  Gas is expensive these days!  Actually gas was expensive before but I didn't really care.  I used to drive a lot and spend a lot on gas but now we group all of our errands together and try to not drive a couple days a week in order to save gas.
  19. Our shopping cart is decidedly less colorful.  Instead of the pre-packaged, pre-made food we used to buy (expensive and unhealthy!) we now buy meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, and rice (with an occasional splurge on junk food from the $1 store for me).  Kind of basic but much healthier.
  20. We don't wander around the shopping mall for entertainment.  Actually I like to walk the huge malls here in the summer for exercise (it's too hot to walk outside) but it makes me want to shop so now I try to walk around casinos because I have absolutely no urge to gamble.
  21. We don't give much money or many things to people anymore.  Which is unfortunate but it is one of the changes we needed to make to remain financially solvent.  I would really like to give the grandkids those little games you see kids playing (I found out they are Nintendo DS3s) but at $180 a piece that is way out of our prices range!
  22. We don't give ourselves many presents any more either.  It's been years since I bought a new Coach purse and hubby doesn't buy many things for himself either.  We used to justify extravagant purchases because "we deserved it for working so hard" but we don't work so hard any more and while we may "deserve it" we don't want to slave away at a job just to have it.  On the flip side, if the hubby and I are both healthy and happy, that is more valuable than anything...cue violin music :)
  23. Our hobbies have change too.  I used to like shooting (ammo is expensive!) and going out dancing and the hubby used to bowl all the time but we are both aware that the expenses from hobbies can get out of hand so I have started doing genealogy (which is more expensive than I thought!) and hubby plays poker (with a small, limited budget each day...fortunately he wins more often than loses) as our hobbies.  I also like walking with the Volksmarchers every weekend (which is good exercise and cheaper than a gym membership).
  24. We do without things that most people would just purchase.  Currently we have two night stands which are actually TV tables with cute covers on them simply because we haven't been able to find nghte stands of the kind we like and at a cheap enough price.  Before I would have just went to a furniture store and bought what I liked but that is very expensive so for now, TV tables work fine.
  25. Finally, we look for any other way possible to save money.  This includes but is not limited to: ordering free water-saving shower heads from the water utility, shopping on senior day at the Goodwill, buying a lot of things at the $1 store (especially produce), using coupons for food and restaurants, attending the rare movie during matinee time and on senior day, having parties at our house and cooking at home for the parties instead of taking everyone to a restaurant, etc.
While there are a few things that I miss about our previous lifestyle (mostly buying whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted) I am much happier now that we have a very stress-free life.  Of course it takes work and a lot of concessions to get to this point but whenever I am feeling like we are missing out on a lot of things, I ask myself if I would rather have a new purse, car, computer, etc or if I would rather have the freedom to not have to work and the freedom of not being strapped with monthly payments for these things.  Of course the answer is always a resounding yes to the latter!


  1. Great post! I was just telling hubby that this is the first summer that I didn't run up any credit card bills. In the past, on my summers off, I would get bored and run up the credit card by shopping online. Not this year. I've been so busy selling on Ebay and at flea markets that I actually saved money! We also didn't take a vacation, but that's okay.

  2. That is a great list! My spouse and I both work full-time but we have made most of these concessions as well so that we can remain debt-free and have a high savings rate.

    Thanks for adding me to your blog roll!