Ever since I started posting details about our budget and how our family lives on $550 a month, I’ve been getting tons of questions from people about the little things in their budgets that add up to BIG expenses. It feels like most of the time, my answer is: “I don’t buy that.”
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of things that fall into this category. Walk through any Walmart and you’ll see thousands of products that companies want to make you think you need, but people got along for centuries without it and you can get along just fine without it too!
Here are just 3 big categories where we don’t spend money, and we get big savings out of it!
I do like to look cute, like any woman, but I refuse to spend money on it. Of course, I buy myself clothes and shoes when necessary, but I keep it very simple and minimal. And I don’t spend money on accessories. This includes things like:
This is not to say that I don’t own any of these things. I do have 2 scarves, 2 purses, 1 belt, and a small collection of jewelry. (I don’t wear makeup of any sort at all.) But I don’t spend money on them, because I either got these items as cast-offs from friends who didn’t want them any more, or I got them as birthday/Christmas gifts from friends & family.
I remember a friend telling me once that her husband spent thousands of dollars each year on his various hobbies. I was shocked! Hobbies can be very expensive! Things like hunting, boating, off-roading, photography, dance or exercise classes, video games, and many more examples — add up to HUGE bills.
My husband and I are very blessed that the things we enjoy doing are free.
Byron loves sports — both watching and playing. He plays soccer, frisbee, softball, and pretty much any other sport available in pickup games with local friends. He watches sports games online (also for free). And he enjoys playing sports video games on his iPad, which were free apps he only had to download.
None of those things cost us a penny.
Our family drinks water. Lots and lots of water. The kids do also drink milk, and occasionally juice. (We only have juice now because it’s free from WIC. We went about 3 years without it at all.) My husband and I don’t drink milk or juice at all, only water.
I can’t even calculate how much money we save by not buying drinks. Beverages are expensive!
Things like beer, wine, liquor, coffee, energy drinks, smoothies, soda… it all adds up, very fast!
Now, by saying all of this — I’m not saying you’re a bad person or you’re doing something wrong if you do buy these things. I’m just trying to explain that these habits that we have acquired over the years have contributed substantially to our extremely low living expenses! Maybe it’s a place you didn’t realize you were spending and you might need to cut it out to save some money. Or maybe it’s a priority for you and you want to budget to make sure that stays a part of your life. Either way, being aware of your spending across the board is key!