These last couple weeks have taught me a lot about how much money people spend on a regular basis. I have cut my budget down as far as it can go, and I am realizing the amount of things, mostly unnecessary, that I used to pay for.
The town I live in is largely based on the oil field and the oil prices since that is where the majority of the work here comes from. Since the price of oil has been down for a while now, and constantly lowering still, the town is slowly dying off it seems. Thousands of people are being laid off, big companies are being shutdown/bought out, and the everyday jobs like retail and restaurant workers are being taken up when normally they couldn’t find enough employees. Now with Alex being laid off, and both of our roommates looking for work, things are starting to get stressful now that we have a mortgage to pay for.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. reducing the budget as far as I can. I have cut every corner I can for the time being. there are a few things still we can reduce on, like our jeep. we have the payments, gas and insurance to think about.
Next we have little things like my phone, I don’t think Alex would go for it, but I have been thinking about getting rid of my phone plan, I just reduced it so it will be $40/m, but I can just use it for internet at home. Most of my friends can get me on Facebook, or call Alex.
Next up is the gym membership, I could be paying up to $90 bucks a month unless I sign up for the year membership, which brings it down to $60. My year expires in march, So I think I will try committing to running outside, and doing body weight exercises and yoga at home whenever I can. I have always had trouble with this since I get lazy and decide to lay on the couch and watch TV instead. I always find a way to talk my self out of it.
Next is paying off my debt to reduce fees. I pay probably 100 bucks in interest and bank fees every month. once I pay my credit card off that will help, then once my line of credit gets paid off I can shut it down and it will go away forever (keeping the credit card, for a couple things that need it, and travel).
I also plan to cut down my grocery bill wherever I can. It is already cheaper, being vegan we don’t have the high costs of meat. I just have to try and plan meals that I already have ingredients for at home, or can buy for really cheap. I hate when recipes call for some specific item that is expensive or you have to by a large amount, and then never use again.
Going through all my bills really makes me think about the crazy amounts of things people pay for, and the actual amount they pay towards them, things like entertainment, eating out, shopping, products, gadgets, more than 1 vehicle, children! the list is endless, and yet it is still difficult to make ends meet. to think I used to be one of those people, I would never have gotten anywhere if I didn’t switch my ways.
The last way I am going to be saving money is, energy saving Appliances. We need a new washer and are going to by an energy star one. I am going to make the effort to hang dry everything, we have low flowing shower heads and taps, soon we will be installing a programmable thermostat so we can time it while we are not there, I am going to try and make more recipes that don’t involve the stove/oven, and lastly we would love to install solar panels on our roof!
Being Zero waste, or striving towards it, I now no longer pay for many specifically single uses items and things that others spend too much on:
Toiletries like toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner. (except TP)
Paper towels, saran wrap, tinfoil etc
Clothes and jewelry (I plan on making everything I need, when I need it.)
Within the year I hopefully wont have debt to pay off either!
Gadgets (I can’t speak for Alex, but i no longer feel the need to purchase specialty items and random objects, with a few exceptions of course)
Although these all seem like little things, they add up over time, and it’s a couple things less I have to worry about.