I found this blog post a few days ago on Twitter while reading through the #MondayBlogs hashtag. I loved Julie’s ideas and wanted to add to her list.
These things won’t be quite as quick and easy as what she recommends, but they are incredibly effective over the long haul.
#1) Cut out as many advertisements from your daily life as possible.
It’s easier to be content with last year’s styles or models if you aren’t being bombarded with their replacements. The more often I watch advertisements, the more I find myself wanting to replace things that are still perfectly serviceable.
The simplest way to avoid this temptation is to be unaware of what they’re selling in the first place. If you have cable, mute the commercials and go stretch your legs or grab a snack for those few minutes. If you’re surfing the Internet, use an adblocker.
Once I saw someone cover up the entertainment screen in front of her with a piece of paper during a long flight because she was so tired of seeing silent commercials flickering on the screen. These are a few of the many ways you can reduce the number of times companies try to convince you to buy their products.
#2. Consolidate your trips.
When I could use a new spatula, I try to avoid visiting the kitchen supply store until there are a few other things on my list. I do the same thing with shopping trips for other non-perishable items as well whenever possible. There’s something to be said for waiting a few extra days weeks, or months to shop.
This won’t work for food or toilet paper, of course, but sometimes you discover that you don’t actually need that spatula right now after all. There might be another tool in your kitchen that works just as well, or a friend might turn out to have one that he no longer needs.
If it turns out that you do need it, consolidating trips means that you’ll spend less time being exposed to store jingles, sale flyers, cashier spiels, flashy displays at the ends of aisles, and all of the other sources of advertisement that are used to push products and services onto customers.
#3. Embrace minimalism.
As you might have already guessed, I am a proud minimalist. There is something incredibly freeing about only buying things that you will use regularly and that will bring you joy. A $200 waffle iron might be a good deal for someone who makes dozens of waffles for family and friends several times a week, but it’s probably not something you should be buying if you’re planning to make a few waffles once or twice a year.
Think long and hard before purchasing something. I own a pair of shoes and a pair of sandals. This amount of footwear is perfect for me. Your perfect number might be different, but you’ll save a lot of money if you pare down everything to the bare minimum and don’t replace it until you genuinely need to.
#4. Choose the right friends.
It’s easier to save money over the long haul if your friends share your values.
My favourite people in the world to hang out with are the ones who are content to share a picnic in the park, watch Netflix, or go for a hike. There’s nothing wrong with splurging once in a while, but I generally prefer cheap or free entertainment. The nice thing about living in a city as large as Toronto is that there’s almost always something fun going on that won’t break the bank.
This isn’t something that will happen overnight, of course, but I have been on a slow and steady quest to meet people who share my idea of a good time.