The title of this blog post should really be “Four things that aren't worth the money, when you're on a strict budget”, but that was too long.
I've been on a very strict budget for almost two years now. I'm trying to get out of debt, and after that, I plan on aiming for a decent level of savings. To achieve this, I need to keep a very close eye on my budget, and keep my expenses as low as possible.
In order to achieve my low expense lifestyle, my husband and I have given up a lot of things that I used to consider necessities.
Now that we've gone a few years without them, I've come to realize that these “necessities” are just wants, and weren't really worth the cash. Here are some things that I used to pay for, that I've now realized weren't giving me very good bang for my buck.
I love a clean car, and I used to love getting mine cleaned professionally. The job they did was amazing, and it wasn't THAT expensive. Now that I'm on a strict budget, I've started cleaning my car myself. Sure it's a pain, and it takes a long time, but it's much cheaper than paying to get it done, and I have the benefit of being able to do it at my own convenience, instead of having to make an appointment.
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While I don't cut my own hair, I have cut my husband's hair for the last few years. Initially I was very apprehensive about doing this, after all, it's his HAIR, what if I screwed it up? Now that I've done it several times, it's no big deal, and is a great way to save a buck.
I used to pay for my massages out of pocket, and while I loved them, I realized that spending $70 bucks a month was a little outrageous. I gave them up until I got insurance through my work. Now they're covered 100%, and I've gone back to getting them, but only because they are essentially free! (I would be paying for the insurance regardless of whether or not I get massages)
Store Bought Wine
I love my wine, but at $12-$15 a bottle, it can get expensive fast, and takes up a huge chunk of my monthly entertainment budget. Fortunately, my husband loves brewing home made wine.
Not only is it a great indoor hobby that doesn't take up much space, it reduces the cost of a bottle down to about $3 a bottle. The taste isn't that different from the cheap wine we would buy anyway, and the hardest part of the whole process is keeping it in the house once it's ready to be drunk!
When Expenses Aren't Worth It
Some expenses are worth it, like home and car maintenance, healthy food, and preventative health care, but others are completely unnecessary and just a part of our routines.
I credit my expense lowering spree with helping me realize just what is and isn't worth the money. If I'd never tried to go without these things, I would never have realized that I didn't need them in the first place!
What expenses totally aren't worth the money to you?
If you are new to my blog, I am all about finding ways to make and save more money. Here are some of my favorite sites and products that may help you out:
- Answer surveys. Survey companies I recommend include American Consumer Opinion, VIP Voice, Earning Station, Survey Junkie, Clear Voice Surveys, Product Report Card, Survey Club, ProOpinion, YouGov, Pinecone Research, Opinion Outpost, Survey Spot, and Harris Poll Online. They’re free to join and free to use! You get paid to answer surveys and to test products. It’s best to sign up for as many as you can as that way you can receive the most surveys and make the most money.
- Start a blog. Blogging is how I make a living and just a few years ago I never thought it would be possible. I earn over $70,000 a month online through my blog and you can read more about this in my monthly online income reports. You can create your own blog here with my easy-to-use tutorial. You can start your blog for as low as $3.49 per month plus you get a free domain if you sign-up through my tutorial.
- Cut your TV bill. Cut your cable, satellite, etc. Even go as far to go without Netflix or Hulu as well. Buy a digital antenna (this is the one we have) and enjoy free TV for life.
- If you are still in college, I recommend you check out Campus Book Rentals. This website allows you to get your textbooks for cheap. I almost ALWAYS rented my textbooks and it saved me a ton of money!
- Lower your cell phone bill. Instead of paying the $150 or more that you spend on your cell phone bill, there are companies out there like Republic Wireless that offer cell phone service starting at $10. YES, I SAID $10! If you use my Republic Wireless affiliate link, you can change your life and start saving thousands of dollars a year on your cell phone service. I created a full review on Republic Wireless as well if you are interested in hearing more. I’ve been using them for over a year and they are great.
- Sign up for a website like Ebates where you can earn CASH BACK for just spending like how you normally would online. The service is free too! Plus, when you sign up through my link, you also receive a free $10 gift card bonus to Macys, Walmart, Target, or Kohls!
- Save money on food. I recently joined $5 Meal Plan in order to help me eat at home more and cut my food spending. It’s only $5 a month (the first two weeks are free too) and you get meal plans sent straight to you along with the exact shopping list you need in order to create the meals. Each meal costs around $2 per person or less. This allows you to save time because you won’t have to meal plan anymore, and it will save you money as well!
- Look for coupon codes. I search for coupon codes for everything. Today, I have two for you. I have a $20 Airbnb coupon code and a free taxi ride with Uber. Both are great services that I have personally used.
- I highly recommend Credible for student loan refinancing. You can lower the interest rate on your student loans significantly by using Credible which may help you shave thousands off your student loan bill over time.
- Invest. There are no guarantees when it comes to investing, but you should always start sooner rather than later. If you are looking for a good investing platform, I recommend Motif. Motif Investing allows individuals to invest affordably. This approachable investing platform makes it easy to buy a portfolio of up to 30 stocks, bonds or ETFs for just $9.95 total commission. Plus, you will receive up to $150 for FREE when you use Motif Investing when you sign up under my link.
- Use Swagbucks for your online searches. Swagbucks allows me to occasionally earn Amazon gift cards with very little work. Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded “points called SB” for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough Swagbucks, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. You’ll receive a free $5 bonus just for signing up today!
- Try Digital Voice. Another one you may be interested in related to Swagbucks is Nielsen Digital Voice. Digital Voice is a part of Nielsen, which I’m sure you’ve heard of. All you have to do is surf the web and you may be able to start earning money.
- Try InboxDollars. InboxDollars is an online rewards website I recommend. You can earn cash by taking surveys, playing games, shopping online, searching the web, redeeming grocery coupons, and more. Also, by signing up through my link, you will receive $5.00 for free just for signing up!
- Find a part-time job. There are many part-time jobs that you may be able to find. You can find a job on sites such as Snagajob, Craigslist (yes, I’ve found a legitimate job through there before), Monster, and so on.
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