So you really want to save money, huh?

Okay, so the other day, I was reading my Facebook news feed, and one of my friends had linked to an article on how to save money in these hard economic times. The article, I have to say, made me laugh because the lady writing it made it through the year on only $75,000.

Yes, I am containing laughter as I type this because I have never in my adult life lived off more than $32,500.

If you really want to save money, here are my tips.

1. Stop paying for television programming more than once.
Believe it or not, you’re probably paying for your TV programs twice. Even three times for some folks. First you pay for your internet subscription (where you can get all the TV you need ever), then you pay for cable TV, then you pay for Netflix or Blockbuster. This gets expensive!

Monthly DSL or Cable Internet: $30 – $45
Cable TV: $30 – $100 (Depending on the channels you get and whether you pay extra for HD, DVR, etc.)
Netflix or Blockbuster Delivery: $18 (For 3 movies sent to you per month + streaming)

Right there, you can blow a big chunk of your disposable income each month.

The beauty of the internet is that, like DVR, you watch shows on your schedule, and because you are taking the time and effort to choose the show, you know that what you are watching is what you want to watch – so there’s none of the frustration of whining, "There’s nothing on TV." There’s always something on the internet. There is only a matter of finding it. So where do you look?

These LEGAL sites will open your eyes to a world of awesome television available to watch immediately, with the click of your mouse button.

ATDHE – For Live Television and Live Sports, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN

My Easy TV – For Live TV, Movies, and radio from US and around the world.

Surf The Channel – A well organized content aggregator site that has television shows from all over the world, organized by season and episode with links to where people have put them up to be shown streaming, like Hulu.

Side Reel – Another content aggregator site focused primarily on American audiences.

Hulu – A content provider focusing on American TV. For an extra fee you can see full episodes of all the past seasons of many available shows there. That’s one of the benefits of being owned by the studios!

And then, of course, there’s You Tube which has a surprising number of television shows if you just look for them.

Not to mention the number of TV shows with their own websites where they offer full shows AT the site — like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, two of my personal favorites.

2. Stop buying into marketing that says you need the more expensive things.
The truth of the matter is, as the human animals we actually are, we need a lot less than we think we do. The cosmetics industry especially works hard to tell us that we need them. We don’t. We like them. A LOT. They help us feel good about ourselves, and that’s important!

Granted, sometimes you do need the $20+ cream for your face because you’ve been hiking and your skin is cracked and peeling and broken and holy cow, your skin desperately needs and deserves moisture. But sometimes you don’t.

Only you and your financial situation knows if you can afford and want the $8 bottle of ultra moisturizing body wash or if you can get by with a $2 bottle of body wash and a $2 bottle of lotion. Sure, it’s extra time on your part, but you get better skin hydration from lotion after a shower than you would ever get from just a soap. And you realize, after a couple of weeks, that you have better skin than you did when you were using the more expensive product, and more money in your pocket.

Because time is money, you have to be okay with the fact that saving money means spending a little more time on yourself — and that’s ok and expected. It’s actually a good thing. You’re earning back your money and taking your time back for yourself.

Learn to Cook.
I can’t emphasize enough what a valuable skill cooking is. You will save a ton of money (and likely improve your overall health) by eating at home and not at restaurants constantly. In today’s hustle-and-bustle world, it’s an artform that has fallen to the wayside, while we pick up ready-to-eat meals at the grocery store from the refrigerated section or the freezer or opt to go to fast food joints or restaurants.

Each week, local grocery stores send out their circulars letting people in the area know what is on sale. These circulars tell you what is in season. If you learn to menu plan based around local, seasonal food that is on sale and make simple, rustic dishes (meaning that there are fewer than 8 components per dish), you are less likely to overspend at the grocery store. Also, by focusing on rustic dishes, you are guaranteed not to be spending an inordinate amount of time preparing the food.

Vices? QUIT IT. They cost money.
This is pretty straightforward. Cigarettes cost money while they kill you. So does booze. Recreational drugs? FORGETABOUTIT. And if you, like me, use medical marijuana for pains that other drugs can’t take care of, vaporize that stuff. It lasts longer, like 3 or 4 times longer.

I know what you’re thinking, “But Rae! I have no money! I’m sad! This is the only thing that makes me happy. I NEED MY VICES!” No, you don’t. Those vices are part of what is keeping you poor and sad. They’re holding you down. It’s an illusion. Vices play mind games with you because almost all of them are depressants of some sort. This is harder than any other area to change, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying this is easy. But here is where exercise, especially group exercise (like going hiking with friends or having a living room dance off competition) is really helpful.

Recycle, Reduce, Reuse – Enjoy Creativity and Friendship!
Odds are you have stuff you don’t use. Clothes that don’t fit or that you don’t like anymore. Kitchen gadgets that you thought were a great idea but that you never actually got around to using, computers that were excellent and useful to you 4 years ago, but that now you have replaced.

You probably also have friends who are both richer and poorer than you as well. It’s just the way the world works!

You can have a great time having a stuff swap party with your friends. You never know what you might end up with, and you can really empower creativity within yourself and your friends by doing this! You never know what you might receive or how you might enrich someone else’s life.

Anyway, there are, of course, more tips, but these are the most important ones I can think of right now.
I hope they help ya! 🙂

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