After being accepted into the college of my choice (Milwaukee, here I come!) I was trying to think of the ways that I can save money and simplify my life for the unknown future. Some are a bit extreme, and I doubt I’ll follow through on them. Some make perfect sense, and will make me a better person, I’m sure. Here’s my brainstorming on moving to a new (and bigger) city.
1. Move into a Studio apartment. I know, I know. A Studio, alone, when you can have roommates to help split the cost of living? Well, I’m not a roommate person. Unless I know them, and WELL. I mean well enough to know my habits or theirs will never tarnish our relationship. I love solitude. And in a studio, I’ll save money because I won’t be in a 1 bedroom, and I will be forced to get rid of the things I don’t use anymore.
2. Sell the car and get a little gem off of Craigslist. This is super risky seeing as how I JUST got a car in February and don’t want a piece of poo that will break down in like 6 months and leave me stranded with no heat, no transmission, or my favorite, no car. Because it’s old and easy to break into. And someone steals it. Thieves. PLUS, selling my new car for a used one will save me like $300+ a month. Which I can save up to pay off my student loans. Oh, the vicious circle of life.
3. Keep the car, and ride a bike more. I’ll not only save gas money, but gym membership money because i’ll have the legs of a mountain climber from all of the bike riding I will do. This site “Practically Green” had TONS of tips on how to live a life with a smaller carbon footprint. You can even take a test to see how “green” you are.
4. Buy local. It may not always be cheaper, but buying local and fresh can save you money overall because you’ll be forced to cook with the fresh ingredients, and save money by not eating out as often. And if I do eat out, because I’ll be in a city full of sweet restaurants, I can restrain myself to a budget. Like having one drink out, and buying a 6 pack for later.
5. Sell my things. No, not all of my things. I love (most) of my things. I have already downsized by half of all my belongings in the last 3 years, and have only kept what’s the most important to me, like things I actually look at and use. I never used the George Foreman Grill, it went. I never used the coffee maker, I gave it to someone who needed it. Somewhere to start? How about selling ALL of the clothes you don’t wear anymore. Books you thought you would read but don’t. (Get them on your kindle app on your phone, if you miss it so much, people.) Old magazines, pots, the 5th spatula you bought, the VHS tapes you have but no VCR. Sell the old chair no one sits in, and the spare set of dishes you never use. And who needs 6 sets of sheets and mismatched pillowcases? Do you really use ALL of them? I don’t. And on that note…
6. Organize. Go through your things, and organize it all. That’s right, all of it. Start in one room. One little room, the bathroom. Get bins, and label them. One for lotions, one for makeup, one for first aid. You’ll be amazed at what you throw away because it’s old or you don’t use it, and how easy it will be to find the band-aids from now on. Once your things are organized, you’ll feel so much less stress on the mind, and you’ll have a mental inventory of what you own, keeping your mind at ease about where things are too. Like your passport and luggage, for when you go to France. Hey! A girl can dream.
7. Don’t spend money on what I don’t need. I will always get myself a little treat here and there, (chai tea and a new book? Sure!) but I don’t need some things that are impulse buys, and that’s where I can cut back on spending, and start saving. Plus I won’t acquire stuff that takes up space if i’m not buying random things. Don’t go to the store because you’re bored, go because you have a list of things you need around the apartment, and stick to it.
8. Stay inspired to keep a tidy home. Read blogs like Apartment Therapy to keep your apartment tidy and “green”, (like this article on 10 tips to stay happy at home) and get recipe ideas for cooking yourself dinner. Watch movies with adorable apartments in them like 27 Dresses and High Fidelity. Always helps me.
9. BUDGET. Money is on of the biggest stressors for individuals or couples. I can’t stress enough how important it is to budget. Budget out how much your bills are vs how much you have coming in. If you don’t have enough to save some money for the future, and for the now, or for the things you really want out of live as a whole, scale back your spending or increase your income somehow. It sounds hard, but it’s not that bad. Sure I can say that, I don’t own a house or have a baby. But when it comes to my life, I’ve budgeted out my income vs outgoing money and figured out the best way for me to live comfortably. I’m still suffering for money mistakes i’ve made in the past, but I’m on the road to financial freedom, and way less stress. Check out Mint.com and go from there. Here’s some more ideas on how to save money from the Budget Diet.
10. Last but not least, Stress Less. Here’s some pointers:
Don’t you feel better already? Happy simplifying!