Making the initial decision to start saving money can be scary. After all, in order to save, you have to cut back on spending. It’s fairly easy to not go on vacation or buy that 73″ TV (I didn’t even know they made them that big until I saw one in the Best Buy circular this week), but what about cutting back on current expenses?
This is where you may have to make sacrifices: drop the cleaning service, give up your car, stop the weekly manicure. That means you’ll have to clean your home yourself, be at the mercy of the bus or train schedule, and do your own nailcare. But in the long run, you’ll be saving the $100/week it cost to have the cleaning lady, the $500 in monthly lease, insurance costs and gasoline associated with owning a car, and the $50/week for the manicure. Right there? $1,100 back in your pocket, off the bat.
Foods can be convenient — prepackaged foods tend to be cheaper than fresh, raw foods like vegetables and meats. But just because they’re cheaper doesn’t mean they’re good for you. Fast food, something I swore off a few years ago, is a perfect example of cheap food with poor nutritional value. Sure, you can get a small cheeseburger and fries off the dollar menu, but you’re also getting a lot of calories and fat. Instead, buy your own ingredients (cheaply and using coupons, where possible), and prepare your own meals from scratch. They’re sure to be healthier and cheaper than convenience foods, and you may find you enjoy cooking, as I do.
You could take it one step further and give up the convenient location of your housing. Are you living IN a big city? I know around here, the expense of living in New York is insane. Rents are double or triple what they are in North Jersey (an already-expensive area), food and toiletries cost more. But those in NYC are likely there because they’re close to work. If they’d move to the suburbs and accept a longer commute, I’m willing to bet the monthly savings would be nearly $1,000-plus, despite the cost of taking mass transit into the city,
Do you have to give up convenience in order to save money? Yes, to a point. But if you’re resilient, you’ll quickly adapt to the changes and be thrilled with the cash you’re saving.
Readers: Have you make any extreme sacrifices in order to save money? Do you miss the conveniences? Or have you cut expenses but only found it makes you miserable or causes you stress to do everything yourself?