Ways to Save-Accumulating Less

One component of our New Years Plan is to save money. There's absolutely nothing that can be done about money we've already spent but we can control how much we spend on stupid, frivolous stuff we don't really need. 

So, here's 5 ways to save money by not spending it on accumulating more STUFF...

1. If you feel like shopping, DON'T. Get outside with friends, family, or even just your dog. Explore some place new and take your mind off the ridiculous urge to drop your hard-earned dollars on things that aren't going to make you any happier. Memories > bulls*t. You heard it here first.

Here's a list of State Parks throughout the entire U.S. Just click on your state! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._state_parks

Next month's savings post will be about going on super cheap or free dates! Keep an eye out.

Chattahoochee National Rec Area, Atlanta, GA
Triple Falls, DuPont Forest, NC
 2. Avoid places you KNOW you spend money. For me, that's Target. It's like heaven...until I'm in the parking lot and realize I just dropped a ton of money on junk from the dollar bins, 3 lipsticks I'll lose before I use them, and underwear for Charley that he won't even wear! Target is like a fifth of Jack. You think oh, what fun, and then you black out, wake up, and realize you look like a haggard, broke troll. Just avoid it, like you should a fifth of Jack...

3. Evaluate what your purchases are worth and if you really NEED it or just want it. Is a pedicure that you can give yourself at home worth paying someone else $40 plus tip? Didn't think so. I treat myself to things like this very rarely, like girls' birthday dates and even then, it's more about spending time with that person. Why not give each other mani/pedis at the house? You'd end up spending probably $9 on a brand new bottle of polish that you'd get to keep rather than a one and done deal at a salon. Also, most salons use Seche Vite Quick-Dry top coat, which is great and shiny and totally works but it's also been proven to cause birth defects. It even says so on every bottle. I quit using it immediately when I read that.

Most people don't think about the actual cost of things, a pair of jeans for example. If you're buying a pair of $40 jeans from Old Navy, do you think that covers the cost of weaving the fabric, drawing the pattern, stitching them together, or shipping them from Asia to stores worldwide? Nope. And those are just the basic costs! I wasn't even taking into account the cost of the manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, or unseen labor costs. How much should we have to pay for the environmental harm caused by the dye run-off from the factories that dye the fabric? It's crazy how little we think about what we wear. I'm a supply chain designer so I'm paid to think about it but this should help put things in perspective before you go on a spending spree. (Learn more here: http://www.denimsandjeans.com/environment/denim-pollution-in-xintang-the-blue-jean-capital-of-the-world/)


Dye run-off polluting the surrounding water. Photo from denimsandjeans.comWhen you're shopping, set a price in your head for every item you're thinking about buying before you look at the price tag. If you flip the tag and it's higher than what you think it's worth-put it back! If you look at the price first, your brain automatically moves towards justifying the cost.

We've all been tempted by trends and branding but really, is there any reason to have 4 colors of the same baseball hat when you have one you always default to? No. Stop buying stuff you want and only buy stuff you NEED!
4. Do a clothing swap. If you really need something, a dress for a wedding or a new skirt for a meeting, recruit your friends that are about your size and borrow the items you need. Whatever the arrangement, make sure you return the items on the date that you agreed to and be positive that they're in the same condition as when you borrowed them. I would recommend NEVER loaning shoes, especially expensive ones or stilettos you love. No two feet are the same and most people don't walk the same way you do. It'll end up ruining your shoes regardless of how careful the person was.

If you're just sick of your wardrobe, you can do the same type of thing by getting a bunch of your friends together, bringing clothes you want to get rid of, and putting your bag of items out on the floor. Everybody can go around and grab what they want. Anything that you have left at the end of the night, you can donate to Salvation Army, a local homeless shelter, or a battered women's shelter (**note: you can also donate old cell phones to battered women's shelters. They will activate them to be able to make emergency calls if need be. The shelters themselves are hard to find for various reasons but if you ask around, typically the police department, they can figure out a way for you to make donations). These types of arrangements are great for fulfilling the urge to shop without spending the money. Also, it's way more sustainable to get stuff secondhand than it is to buy new.


5. Stick to the list! When I go grocery shopping, I'm constantly tempted by magazines and new teas I see on the shelves. Next thing I know, another monetary black out has occurred and I'm like a Natalie Imbroglia song (lying broken on the floor with all this crap I don't need). Come up with a list of meals you want to make for the week (eat in as much as you can, saves money and calories since you don't really know how much butter is in that sauce at Maggiano's), make a list of what you need and do one grocery shop a week. The less you go to the store, the fewer number of times you'll be tempted to buy blue rasberry Kool-aid and eucalyptus shampoo. Every once in a while splurge and buy yourself something fun but don't make it a habit-$5 adds up over time! Also, NEVER go to the grocery store hungry. I have made that mistake far too often and end up spending most of my time and money on crap from what I like to call, the "Middle Market"  which is the area of almost every grocery store where they keep cookies and chips and other pre-made garbage. Stick to the perimeter of the store where most of the meats, fresh bread, and produce are located. If you go hungry, go straight to the deli, get yourself two chicken fingers, sit down and eat them. When you're full, THEN shop.


Hope some of these tips helped! I'll be trying to exercise more control this year. Have any tips you don't think I've thought of? Put them in the comments below!


Thanks, love, and life devoured.


xx RCB


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