"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice." - Wayne Dyer


Friday, January 9, 2015

6 Hacks For Affordable Living

One of my New Year's Resolutions last year was to SAVE money! However, it can be challenging when you also want to have fun and enjoy the life we are working so hard to maintain. It can be difficult to find areas in life where we can cut back, but believe me they do exist! 

This year I plan to save even more with these simple life-hacks that can be turned into vacation inducing habits!

1. DIY anything you can! - If Pinterest has taught me something it is that you can pretty much do anything yourself. Whether it is having you own vegetable garden, or making your own baby food, or even setting up a line to dry clothes in the summer and spring! These things may sound time consuming, but they are shockingly easy and relaxing. There is something serene about doing things the old fashioned way, so break out the elbow grease and get your hands dirty! 

2. Unplug it! - In our home, we have made a habit of unplugging the things that we aren't using. Examples? The stove, the coffee maker, the microwave, the TV, not charging the computer while we use it unless it is dying, etc. Not to mention NEVER leaving any lights on in rooms that we are not in, especially in the morning and afternoon. By doing this, we have managed to reduce our electricity bill by 20 to 30 dollars a month! It may not sound like much, but in a year that adds up to at least $240. 

3. Ditch the smartphone! - These days, everyone has a smartphone. When I was growing up, I remember that smartphones, such as Blackberries, were reserved for professionals to help them with their careers. If you are not using your smartphone for school or work, or if you already have a tablet AND a laptop AND a digital camera AND an Ipod, maybe you should rethink that $400 investment. If you can access Facebook via, laptop, is it really necessary to have it in your pocket on the go? For the past year I have been using a very affordable, and virtually indestructible, prepaid phone from AT&T. The phone itself cost me $20 and the monthly unlimited plan (which includes internet) costs $45 - $50 a month. If all you are interested in is unlimited texting, they have an even cheaper plan that is $25 - $30 a month. Plus, I never have to get my screen repaired. 

4. Drink more water! - Stop buying juice and soda all together. It is loaded with sugar and salt, which is not good for you, let alone your children. (If you are concerned that they won't get the nutrients they need, buy multivitamins, and fresh fruits and veggies!) Instead, buy a filter or purifier to clean the tap water from the sink. If you simply can't live without juice, buy powered juice which is just as tasty and lasts much, much longer. OR buy a juicer and make your very own juices at home (revisit hack #1)!

5. Cook at home! - Eating out can be fun and exciting on occasion but if you are trying to save money, maybe you should turn your weekly visit to you favorite fast food joint into a monthly visit. You can make so many of those meals at home and what's better is that you can usually make it taste better! All you need to do to be an extraordinary chef is follow directions well, have patience, and pay attention to detail! Trust me it really is as simple as it sounds!

6. Carpool isn't just for school! - Good news, we can carpool almost anywhere. This is especially true for those of you who don't have children. Not only can you catch a ride to work with coworkers, you can also go shopping with friends, which makes it all the more fun! Take a buddy with you grocery shopping; one week you use your car, the next you can use theirs! Not only does carpooling save on the monthly gas bill (and regular car maintenance) it is good for the environment. Talk about two birds with one stone!

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