There’s always these articles in Yahoo! and other such trite sources of information that advise us on ways to save our money. Such as utilizing coupons, driving less aggressively, paying off credit cards with the highest interest first, and other such trivial methods of scraping some extra cash back into the coffers–or, at the very least, simply stemming the flow of money out just that much less.
While those methods, and others, are all important ways to save, I would like to forward some of my own methods of saving cash which I think are more effective. Excelsior!
1) Stop using Mach 3s and dropping $20 every month on razors. Transition into wetshaving (just one upfront initial investment) and you’ll save a lot of cash over the long term. Razors for safety or straight razors are significantly cheaper, and it’s furthermore a more fulfilling shaving experience.
2) Shave your own head. I used to go to SuperCuts or whatever cheap haircut store was around. I kind of liked how sometimes it was a pretty young lass that was cutting my hair. But I also noted that all they ever did was ask me what length of guard they should use on the clippers (as if I was supposed to know). So I realized, eventually, that I could just do it myself. That’s at least $20 in savings every two to four weeks, depending how often you cut your hair. And a pair of clippers is cheap, and they will last you for years. That’s a lot of money saved over the long term.
3) Forgo the gym and go hiking/running/walking. All you need is a pair of shoes. Or invest in a bike.
4) Brew your own damn coffee. I’ve bought a lot of Dunkin’ in my day, and I can attest that it really adds up over the course of a year. It’s the little steady, daily transactions that drain your income. It tastes better at home anyway. And all you need to make your own coffee is coffee and a French press. Forget drip brew; why pay for filters?
5) Hang out at home. You’ve heard of “staycations.” Well, how about “stay ins”? Instead of going out, you stay in. Invite your buddies over. Hang out at the local park. We all need to get out sometimes. But if you make it into only an occasional expenditure, then you will save big time. It’s quite easy to drop $60 in one outing on a few drinks. Drop that $60 on a fine whiskey instead and you could sip at it slowly over the course of a month.
6) Get over yourself and drink tap water.
7) Use the library. Libraries are fucking awesome. You can get nearly any book you want if you are willing to wait for it.
8) Don’t be an organic freak. Buy organic local produce or join a CSA. It’s important to support organic, local, and sustainable use of land. But forget the damn organic cookies and organic cereal. I mean, really. Just let it go.
9) Recognize the difference between luxury and necessity, and make your choices between the two consciously. A car? Sometimes its a luxury or a necessity, depending on where you live. In NYC, it’s a luxury, and an expensive one at that. Movies at the movie theater? Do you really need to see the movie right when it comes out? Is it really better in a movie theater? I find it obnoxiously loud, with way too many trailers and advertisements. In fact, I would rather just read a book. A lot cheaper, and more fulfilling. Sorry movies.
I think that last bullet point is actually the most important one. If you are making your choices consciously, then you are choosing to invest more in certain activities or things because you find them more fulfilling. And thus, it is worth it to you. But there are many things that we throw our money at that are not more fulfilling, and that even degrade our quality of life.
The moral of the story? Spend your money wisely.