LAST UPDATED - July 2011
- We live in a smaller house than we can afford, and do a lot of our own home repairs and painting.
p.s. Though we weren't thinking about it at the time, living in a smaller house gave me the freedom to quit my corporate performance and process improvement consulting work and become a Life Coach, Gifted Adult, Creative Personality, ADHD Coach, and Mentor Coach to Professionals and Self-Employed people seeking to enhance time management, productivity and work performance while also improving relationships, and reducing stress, overwhelm, clutter, indecision and exhaustion.
- Pay bills online with a free checking account from Wachovia (now Wells Fargo.) It also pays us interest on our balances.
- We don't "coupon." Coupon hunting encourages buying more than you normally would and leads to stockpiling more than necessary. We spend less since I stopped couponing.
I believe that spending time, energy and attention couponing exposes you to excessive advertising and inadvertently sets you up for addictive shopping and spending. Think about it, why would businesses put out so many coupons if it didn't help THEM make more money. Because they know it gets your attention...and once they have that..it's MUCH easier to get you to spend money on their stuff.
- We avoid using ATMs that charge fees.
- We changed all our lightbulbs to compact flourescent bulbs including our front porch and outdoor lights.
- We turned our front lawn into a perennial, drought resistant garden with paths and a table with benches. No watering, chemicals or lawn service. Just mulch it a little twice a year and prune.
- We use an Amazon.com Rewards Credit Card. We put all daily living purchases on it and pay it in full every month.
2011 UPDATE- We are rethinking this strategy...every time we use credit card the business owner has to pay the credit card company 2 - 4% of every purchase. Not sure I want to reward the Credit Companies that way. So now, we try to use checks or cash when paying small business owners.
- We use a Miles One Rewards credit card for all business purchases and get free miles for traveling. We've gotten 2 tickets free that way.
- Don't go to movie theaters anymore - we wait for movies to come out on cable. We use Tivo to record movies we really want to see.
- We rarely eat in restaurants or get takeout maybe once a month or even 2 months. We cook healthy fresh food at home every day. In 2010 we even started growing our own veggies.
- We only run the dishwasher and washing machine when it's mostly full.
- Only drink water, coffee or tea...no sodas, etc.
- We moved our car insurance to Geico last year and saved $1500 per year. Northern NJ has nearly the highest insurance rates in the country. We couldn't believe we saved this much. And our insurance rates have actually gone down every year! Probably because my car just keeps getting older. We also have a huge collision deductible which also keeps rates down.
- I cut my husband's hair myself.
- I mostly only wear lipstick and blush. Only use full makeup when I'm teaching on video or going to an event.
- Don't buy jewelry. Only wear a watch and wedding rings. Jewelry on my neck, wrists or ears causes me a lot of discomfort anyway.
- We saved a lot of money on our wedding rings with just simple bands. We put our money into the down payment on our house instead.
- Do my own pedicures and go out for a pedicure maybe once a year as a treat for a special occasion.
- Do my own manicures...and I don't use nail polish on my fingernails - it saves a lot of time too.
- We rarely throw any food anyway. Have a system for storing leftovers and USING them. We have a tray in the fridge on the top shelf and always put leftovers there and then use them the next day or 2 for lunch or snacks or as a side dish with dinner.
- We have a small Cuisinart counter-top convection oven for heating and baking small portions instead of firing up the stove.
- I've only bought one brand new car in my life. Cars only depreciate so I never saw the point in losing a few thousand dollars as soon as you drive it off the lot. But I did finally splurge on my 40th birthday and got myself a 2000 Sebring Convertible which I will keep as long it is still safe to drive. I love it. It is actually very practical as we can open the top and haul just about anything an SUV can.
- We don't buy CDS or DVDS. We download music.
- We avoid processed foods like microwave popcorn, we use the bulk kind and have a West Bend Stir Crazy popcorn popper.
- We make our own sugar free ice cream with just fruit and milk using a Vitamix blender. Cutting out sugar and gluten has saved a lot of money in addition to improving our health dramatically
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