Sunday, January 9, 2011

10 Ways to Spend Absolutely No Money

I have been unemployed for a little over a week so far and my main emphasis has been to hold on to my money as long as possible which basically means spending nothing at all if I can help it. Here are ten things I have done to do just that:
  1. Stay home. Inevitably if I go out--shopping, mall walking, to visit friends--I end up spending money. On the days that I stay home I don't spend any money. Simple!

  2. Kill your habits. My habit is (was) a daily Starbucks Green Tea Frapuccino. Since the first of the year I have not bought a single frapuccino and I figure I have saved around $40 so far. Obviously if my habit was smoking or drinking I would have saved considerably more money by not indulging these habits.

  3. Hang out in free places. My usual MO was to go to a coffee shop nearly every day either to meet friends or break out the netbook and get some work done. I know from #2 above, that if I go into a coffee shop, I'm going to buy something which I don't want to do. So now in the mornings I go with hubby to the local casino where he plays his morning poker game, I set up my netbook in their coffee shop, and enjoy the free beverages they offer (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and pop is offered self-serve for free there). The library is another good option.

  4. Appreciate what you have. I have been drooling over a new MacBook Pro, however my laptop and netbook work fine. Ditto with clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. Whenever I think I want to go out and buy something new I remind myself that I have plenty of things that, while not new, are just perfect for me so I don't need to go out and buy anything new.

  5. Make substitutions. I had a giant bag of oats and wanted to make a big pan of granola cereal for breakfast however I was out of maple syrup which I always use in my granola recipe. When we went to the store hubby saw that syrup cost $8 for a small bottle and said "geez that's a lot, why don't you just use the jar of honey we have at home to make granola." Duh, what a good idea! So I did use the honey and the cereal came out great!

  6. Eat at home. One of the simplest temptations for many people is to go out to eat. There are so many restaurants, the food seems to taste "better" there, it is quicker, you may be out of ingredients you need to cook at home, etc. Eating at home, however, will cost you zero dollars, and when you are trying to save every penny, this is an obvious option. We are also trying to "eat down" our stock of food before we move so eating at home is even more of a necessity. We have come up with some pretty interesting recipes trying to mix and match all of the food that has been stuffed in the back of the cupboards for years and turn it into edible meals.

  7. Enjoy freebies. I am always on the look out for freebies. This week I have enjoyed food samples at Costco for free, had a free sample of red velvet cake at another store, learned how to put ads on my Tumblr page just by Googling, got a free pen from a friend's office, and had a free dinner compliments of another friend. I like free stuff!

  8. Do your own work instead of paying others to do it. When out house inspection came back with a few things that needed to be done prior to the appraisal including cleaning the gutters and replacing some plastic in the crawl space, we decided to do these jobs ourselves instead of hiring others to do it for us. Money spent on these jobs: $0 (we happened to have a roll of 6 mil plastic in the garden shed).

  9. Utilize free services. I could have put a (paid for) ad in our local newspaper to sell some of the stuff in our house that we need to get rid of before we move but I decided to put free ads on CraigsList instead. There was also a free vaccination clinic at our local health department recently that, should I have needed vaccines, would have been happy to participate in and get a valuable service for free.

  10. Make it yourself. When I was mall walking, I was tempted by the cookie store, Cinnabon, and a place that makes great smoothies. Instead of spending money, I went home and made cookies and a smoothie at home. I'm considering making cinnamon rolls at home today. I have also made handbags, quilts, and a garden shed at home instead of buying these things already made.

We live in one of the richest countries on the planet and Americans typically have more "stuff" than just about anyone else on the planet so there are more than enough ways to get by with spending very little, if any, money on many of the things we want.

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