Budgeting. Can we normalize this? I feel like not that many people talk about their financial hardships, wins, or anything else in between. It may just be the people that I follow or surround myself with, but I like to be open about my money. Like how are you managing your student loans? What are some things you’re doing to save a little extra each month? Welp, recently I made a few budgeting cuts, and I’m sharing them with y’all.
As a back story, I made a trip to Montana for three months. Once returning back to Austin, TX I discovered how much I could really save on things I didn’t need. While some of these “needs” or “wants” may not be right for you, they work perfectly for me. So, here’s 8 things that didn’t make the financial cut.
1. My gym membership
I’ve talked about this one before, and I’m going to bring it up again. I ditched my gym membership for a more sustainable method. Even though I had to hand in my favorite machines and weights, I got time, money, and energy back into my lifestyle. I was spending too much time getting to and from the gym, spending too much money on the monthly fees, and stressing about finding time to workout. I now workout at home, when I want to, how I want to, and all for free.
2. Dining out on the town
This all started when I found out I had candida. I had to cut out nearly everything out of my diet. That meant any sort of carb, sugar, legumes, and grains. It made it practically impossible to eat out. If I did choose to eat out, I would end up paying nearly $20 for a salad that was made up of lettuce, chicken, and more chicken (dressing not included). After the long trial and error, I’ve got acclimated to just making my food at home and it saves SO much money.
3. My daily (or 2+ day) coffee addiction
Yah know, working from home has been a blessing on this front. I invested in a milk frother for my cream and some nice instant coffee packets. I make a coffee in the morning before starting work and mozy on over to the kitchen for a second round when I feel like it. When I was in the office, Medici, my favorite coffee shop, was right across the way. All I had to do was go pick up a five-dollar coffee once or twice a day. Now I only treat myself on the weekends when I cross everything off my to-do list or meet up with friends.
4. Haircare expenses
You might hate me for this one. BUT, I do cut and style my hair at home now. Back in Montana, it wasn’t that big of a deal to go to the hairdresser. Now living in a city, haircare costs an arm, a leg, and probably your other arm and leg. And if you want someone with more experience, you mine as well throw your wallet out the window. I took it upon myself to learn from hair-cutting Youtube tutorials and buy my own hair die to get the job done at home.
5. Skincare craziness
I totally get the value of purchasing skincare that works with your skin. I’ve been super lucky to have pretty regular skin. A few years ago, I fell in love with washing my face with a specific face oil that was between $50 and $100. But, I would find myself dreading the repurchasing costs of keeping it fully stocked. Instead, I wanted to try an experiment. If that oil worked, maybe some others would do the same? I bought coconut oil and use it every night in the shower to “wash” my face. It works great especially for getting pesky makeup off!
6. Negotiated my interest rates
This is another doozy. Did you know that you’re most likely able to negotiate all your interest rate accounts? And, you’re able to move around your credit card payment dates to avoid interest? You betcha. I have not negotiated my interest rates as of late, but I have moved around my payments. My credit card bills would normally be due on the 8th of every month, but I didn’t get paid until the 10th. It was a pain in my butt. I would pay a small amount when it was due to get charged interest just to pay my card off on the 10th. I called up both credit card companies and changed my due date to avoid interest fees.
7. Bargain shop groceries
I really didn’t understand the improvement I could have on my grocery shopping budget. I used to go to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods every week to stock up on weekly necessities. That would be anything from food to vitamins. I found it hard to stick to a $400 grocery budget when I would spend nearly $100 at Whole Foods each week alone. This time around, I put Costco to the test. I tried going to one grocery shop at the beginning of the month to see how much it would cost/last me. And, holy smokes, this was life-changing. I spent ~$250, counting a new throw blanket, cleaning supplies, and a few other things I didn’t technically “need.” AND, I have way more food. Now, I go to Costco once a month and that’s it BABEYYYY.
8. Limit transportation
Another bonus of working from home ~ I now don’t have to travel for work. This may be horrible to admit, but I don’t leave my apartment all week. I will leave on the weekends to meet up with friends, work from a coffee shop, or run errands, but that’s it. On the bright side, I cut down on gas and oil changes tremendously. I would say I fill up my gas tank about once a month. And living in Texas, it only costs $15-$30 to fill up a Honda Accords gas tank full.
As we’re entering the New Year, you may be thinking about what areas you could cut your budget. While my budget cuts may not work perfectly for you, this may have sparked some ideas. See what you, too, can cut out of your budget (and happily live without).