I am not naturally a frugal person. I was raised by two frugal parents, but I lean more towards wanting to shop and buy things. It has been a huge learning process for me to become more frugal and to learn the value and beauty in cutting back and saving money. This learning process has been over the course of years, and quite honestly, I’m still trying to better myself.
Today, though, I started thinking about all the things we have cut from our lifestyle over the years, which we’ve gradually stopped spending on. I was blown away by the amount of money we are saving ourselves each year, just by making a few different lifestyle choices. Here is everything we’ve cut out of our budget, what we’ve replaced it with, and how much we’re saving.
1. Buying Lunches Out: $1,000
Packing a lunch for work, instead of eating out with coworkers, has been our biggest money-saver. Every night, I pack a lunch for my husband to take to work. The lunch usually consists of some leftovers from dinner, though occasionally he will bring a sandwich. I was so surprised to find out this simple habit is saving us over $1,000 a year!
2. Oil Changes: $210
My husband taught himself how to change the oil in our two vehicles; all it took was watching a few YouTube videos. It takes him less than an hour to do it, and he claims it’s super easy. He uses this oil drum to drain the oil. If you change your own oil, you can deposit the oil for free at most auto parts stores. Not that this is not some natural talent he has — he had to get out of his comfort zone to learn this skill. However, this simple task saves us $210 a year.
3. Our Cable Subscription : $480
A few years ago, we finally decided to get rid of our cable TV. We were actually already paying a fairly cheap rate, but we decided we could do without it. We have saved $480 a year by doing this! There are so many great options for cheap TV. We use Netflix, but I have friends who subscribe to Hulu or Amazon Prime.
4. Barbershop Haircuts: $200
I bought clippers 14 years ago for $20. This kit on Amazon looks pretty similar to ours. I have been cutting my husband’s and son’s hair ever since, and it’s a $200 annual savings. If you know me, you know that hair is really NOT a talent of mine. I have watched a few YouTube tutorial videos, and both my husband and son get very basic cuts. I have made a few mistakes on both of them, but I keep learning and trying. And luckily, short hair grows out fairly fast! 😉
5. Gym Membership: $840
We have never had a gym membership during our marriage, and this decision saves us $70 a month. We have learned to get a good workout in at home instead. We go for a run or bike ride during the summer and find great YouTube videos to follow during the winter. I’ve purchased cheap weights and exercise equipment from the thrift store to use at home. My favorite YouTube channels to follow are Fitness Blender and Yoga with Adriene.
The Results: $2,730 Total
Just by making these five adjustments to our lifestyle, we save $2,730 a year! So in five years, we have saved $13,650! In ten years it will be $27,300! Those little expenses don’t seem like a big deal, but over time they add up to make a very noticeable difference.
It really has not been hard to cut any of these things from our budget. We have been living this way for years, and honestly never seem to miss a gym membership or cable TV. It has just become our way of life, and it’s a great life! It can be hard to form new habits, but once you do, those habits become your way of life — and you often never really look back.
Take a look at your budget and lifestyle. Can you find a few things that you could change in order to save money? I promise, the pay off is so worth it!
Melanie blogs over at Sweet Frugal Life. She is a stay-at-home mom to three darling kids and wife to a wonderful husband. She finds the most contentment when she is living a frugal life. Her hopes are to teach people that being frugal does not make life any less sweet. Being frugal only enhances the sweetness of life!
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