A lot has changed over the last couple of months, and I am finding myself adopting a very frugal lifestyle. Now, I have never been the best when it comes to saving money. I usually attend at least a couple happy hours each week, buy something if I want it, and while I always put away a portion of my paycheck in to savings, it probably isn’t as much as it should be.
This all began back in March when I started thinking more seriously about traveling; oh, and I got a 20% pay cut. Yeah, that will wake you up from your rogue spending habits! Since then, I have been extra conscious about the things I spend money on. Purchasing my iPod a few weeks ago, was actually a BIG thing for me, although just a year ago I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. I have realized that if I am going to be successful at going location independent, traveling, whatever it is, I am going to have to rethink the way I spend money.
Over the weekend, I took my frugality to a whole new level. I did something that I rarely, if ever do: I cut coupons. Well there wasn’t actually any cutting involved, but I did check out the local
Safeway ad to see what was on sale, and then went after those items. I have made a dinner for under 5 bucks for the last two nights. I think $5 Dinners is my new favorite website.
Along with my coupon cutting, there is a good chance that my car could be out of my life for good in the next week or two. I finally found someone that is willing to give me a reasonable amount for it, yet Portland in November isn’t exactly the ideal time or place to be car-less. After signing up for mint.com a few months back I have realized how much money I am actually putting into the thing. Between payments, insurance, gas, maintenance, parking etc. it adds up! Have any of you experienced selling your car, and being without one for a period of time? I am confident that while the change will certainly be hard and take some getting used to, it is the best thing to do if you are trying to save money (and living in Portland, you can’t ignore the Green factor!).
So back to Mint for just a second. If you are looking to become a better budgeter look no further. I have spent years trying to find a good way to manage my budget, and this far surpasses anything else I have used in terms of features and ease of use (it also doesn’t hurt that it is free). It accurately categorizes all of my expenses, and includes some fantastic charts to help me see where all of my money is really going. To take the convenience one step further, the iPhone (iPod) app is extremely useful, and allows me to see where I am in my monthly budget in a variety of categories.
I am not sure if this post was supposed to be beneficial for you, or serve as a mini update to my life, but the bottom line is, I think budgeting is one of the most important aspects of planning your dream lifestyle, whatever that may be. As I continue in my quest to save, you will probably see more personal finance related articles, just because it is such an important facet to what I am trying to accomplish. However, I will still leave the bulk of it to the big boys like ManVsDebt and Get Rich Slowly (if you haven’t seen these sites, I would highly recommend them!)