One of the themes that have really spoken to me this past year is to reuse and recycle.
As I have been preparing my taxes, I realized that I have spent almost $2000 the past year on my work wardrobe. I was okay with this because I knew I could use it as a tax write off since it was work related. I could also take the articles of clothing that no longer fit or I didn't use anymore and donate them. I would be able to get a tax write off for that as well when I would bring them to thrift stores. However, a friend told me that that may not be the case moving forward. True or not, it really got me thinking even more about how my money flows and what else I could do to participate in my minimalist lifestyle.
Instead of purchasing new clothes, over the past couple months I have been teaching myself how to sew via Pinterest and You Tube videos. This is definitely a time investment. I took out my whole closet and cleaned it. I put back items that I wear on a regular basis. I put back my work uniforms. I put back recently purchased items needed for upcoming engagements. As I went through everything, I made a pile of things I don't wear. I made a pile of things that don't fit.
I took the last two piles and contemplated if there was anything I could do to salvage them. If the issue was the sleeves were worn, I would cut the sleeves off and make it into a short sleeve shirt. If the issue was the sleeves were too long, I looked up different sleeve styles and taught myself how to do them. In one afternoon, I had 5 new shirts. If the issue was the collar was too tight or getting worn, I cut it off and made a different style. Another afternoon passed and I had 3 more new shirts.
I had a special event coming up and needed a solid black shirt. I didn't have one, so purchased one at the thrift store (waiting until sale day) for $1.24. When I was looking for a shirt, all I came across were originally between $14 - $25. I got mine for just $1.24!
In order to make my alterations, I also spent $2.00 on a seam ripper. For 2018, I have only spent $3.24 on my wardrobe and that makes me very happy. I provides a great stress relief knowing I can use this avenue to save money. My first goal for 2018 is to pay off the remaining $10,000 on my car loan and I feel like this tactic will help be get there even faster!
I ran out of scrapping paper to use as wrapping paper. Luckily, I had some magazines left. Instead of going out and purchasing wrapping paper, I used what I already had. I took by favorite magazine pages that had great images and used it as wrapping paper.
Buy Generic. Think - would I buy this if I only had cash?
I can go store to store and compare prices of brand name items vs the generic brand Depending on what the product is, I can almost save half the price by buying generic.
I purposely put items on my credit items so I can earn points to earn cash for items. I started thinking to myself though, if I didn't have a credit card and only had cash, would I buy this? It seems that I tend to value money much more if I can actually feel it leaving my hand. I often put items back. This new mindset has also helped me save money.
I have to share this fun little discovery.
I went thrifting earlier in the week and purchased a new shirt for $1.74 from a brand that I have never heard of. Just out of curiosity, I looked it up this morning to see what the normal retail price would be. Can you imagine my shock when I saw I could purchase additional colors for only $98 each?! Wow!
Over the month of September, I did a mini-series on money saving tips. I created a Pinterest board for Golden Tree Adventures to start collecting more ideas on how I could spend more wisely and save. Check out the collection of ideas so far at Money Saving Tips.
I made a personal goal to sit down and review my cash flow - where was it going and was it supporting things that I need?
When I looked at my credit card purchases, I spent $4 - $11 a day on lunches at work and sometimes dinner, depending on my hours for the week. On the high end, that is roughly $4,000 a year on lunch! There had to be a way to cut back. I tend to be a very busy person so just buying meals was much easier. On the weekends, I started to make meals and snacks for the week that I could just grab in the morning and put in the fridge at work. I can go from $55/week for lunches to $7. Those numbers just make me think about how much money I could save on just changing on habit alone. Plus, this actually saves quite a bit of time too because I an not wondering around the cafeteria, waiting in line or driving off site to find a place to eat.
By stopping an evaluating my current spending habits, I was already able to start saving money.
This is in regards to health and fitness and time at the local gym. Memberships can range from $50 - $100 month at most clubs. I invested in some free weights and looked up routines on the internet. I was able to save over $1,200 each year by doing this. However, I live in the tundra and 9 months out of the year, I have to workout indoors. I was starting to get antsy to be able to walk and ride bike more often during the year.
One day, I saw an advertisement for a new gym that was coming into town - Planet Fitness. And membership was only $10/month. This had to be a joke - right? Nope, no joke. Once a year, there is a small member fee of $30, but I am happy to pay it for such a great deal. If you want to upgrade to $20/month, they include tanning and message beds.
Click on the link here, Planet Fitness, to learn more about this wonderful gym! I have had a great experience and love the variety of equipment available.
I am a huge fun of magical thrift store finds and using what you have around the house before you purchase anything else. All the items below were made from items I already had or picked up for just a couple dollars. These projects alone saved me almost $350 over the year.
Over the past two years, I have really begun to pick up the hobby of making projects myself. I find not only is it a great outlet for my artistic aspirations, but actually saves me quite a bit on money that could me used for other aspirations. Here is a collection of some of the projects I have put together over the past couple years.