Monday, November 29, 2010

10 Great Money-Saving Reasons to Radically Downsize Your Life

We are in the middle of a radical downsizing of our life (see previous posts). We are moving from the typical American lifestyle (big house, lots of expensive junk that we never use, horrible consumer habits, etc) to something quite different (renting a room for a home base and traveling with just what we can carry in our suitcases). This experience has been hands-down, one of the best ways to save money that I have ever found. Here's why:
  1. We don't/can't shop for stuff any more. Since we are in the process of getting rid of stuff, it doesn't make sense to bring any more stuff into our house so shopping trips have been reduced and when I do find something I want, I realize that soon I won't have anywhere to put it so I don't buy it.
  2. Knowing that we have a deadline looming, it really brings into focus what is important--namely bulking up our savings as much as possible.
  3. We aren't spending much on food these days. Our goal is to skip going out to eat (we haven't done this much lately anyway) so that we can eat up the food we have in our cabinets instead of packing it up and giving it away.
  4. Instead of being consumers, we are now on the other side of the equation--I am selling stuff like a maniac on EBay and Craigslist.
  5. While we still have one car, we are looking at the possibility of eventually being totally car free. If we do end up traveling mostly overseas like we have planned, we will have no need of a car. I didn't realize how much a car actually costs until I got rid of my car. I had had a car since I was 16 and didn't think twice about paying all of the expenses that went along with it (car payment, insurance, maintenance, parking, etc) until I got rid of my car and found that I had an extra $800 to $1000 PER MONTH!
  6. The purchases we do make are now analyzed, scrutinized, and evaluated for overall usefulness and cost. Now instead of needing a half dozen fleece jackets, I need one. When determining what kind of camera to get, I decided on a nice (and inexpensive) small point and shoot type instead of the multi-lens (and much bigger and expensive) SLR camera. Ditto for the one good pair of walking shoes, the couple of pairs of pants and t shirts (instead of multitudes), etc.
  7. When I review our bill list each month, I literally can not wait to sell the house and move. Our monthly bills will radically drop because we will be paying a small, flat fee for a room instead of huge heating bills in the winter, cable TV/internet/phone, utilities, a big house payment, etc.
  8. I'm not stockpiling stuff like I used to. I used to be the coupon queen. If I could buy a dozen bottles of dish soap because they were on sale and I had coupons, I would be in heaven. Now I look around and the cabinets are almost bare and I feel surprisingly much better, like the great weight of being responsible for so much stuff has been lifted off of me (this has also saved me a lot of money!).
  9. I don't have any credit cards, hubby has one more to pay off, and when we do this, we will be saving money that would have otherwise went to interest. Oddly enough, I used to feel so secure with a wallet full of credit cards. These days I look in my wallet that contains my ID and a couple of debit cards and I feel indescribably light and free.
  10. I think my health will improve the more we downsize. No car means more walking. Less work means more time for yoga and walking. More freedom means less stress. All of these things will probably save money on health costs.

I'm sure we will realize even more financial benefits as we continue on with our journey

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