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I’m about as much a gamer as much as the Queen of England. That is, I don’t do games. I don’t play any fancy Xbox systems or any newfangled thing. (Sega? Is that still a thing?) I don’t even have Candy Crush or any other sugary induced addiction on my phone.

I played a handful of games when I was younger. Sega and Nintendo were my kiddie jam.

But it has been a long time since I played anything like that because it doesn’t appeal. Mr. BuLL isn’t a gamer either. I have zero exposure to it.

Instead, I play a game that is way more exciting: saving money!

It doesn’t have a fancy system or any extra parts and pieces. I do enjoy it like any other game addicted fiend. It’s fun, even if I sound like a boomer.

I have the body of a millennial but the mindset of a boomer.

The Greatest Game

Gamify saving money is pretty simple to play. It starts with needing something commonly known as stuff. Before I even agree that I need this mystical item, I think about it. A lot. Do I need this thing? Can I find it at home and not purchase it?

That was how I won the bedside light game. I had a strand of beautiful glowing lights stuffed in a giant gallon glass jar with coffee beans. It was a beautiful little light that smelled amazing.

One evening, I noticed it was flickering like creepy aliens had taken over and were flashing an invasion warning, very Independence Dayish.

I haven’t learned anything from scary movies because, after a brief hesitation, I investigated. One of the cheap batteries had blown up and turned the tiny battery box into a crusty acid mess. I considered cleaning up the box, but the acid had already turned the metal into a tiny, rusty box of tetanus. Instead of rolling the dice and risking disease, I recycled it.

I was left without a glowing bedside light and I missed it. My gut reaction was to buy another. But that would be weird because I rarely go shopping, outside of groceries and gas. Instead, I dwelled on this feeling of want like a lonely high schooler wanting a date.

Shopping online didn’t occur to me.

While I procrastinated, I continued to putter around the half -furloughed life while getting extra comfy with the indoors, since Montana decided to get polarized with -9 temps. There are many benefits to living in Montana, the winter weather isn’t one of them.

At some point during my sweatpant ramblings, I realized there is a tiny camp light that runs on solar in our frontcountry gear. It’s used rarely because 5 ounces which is too heavy for backcountry camping. Ounce equal pounds, pounds equal cranky!

What once was unused, is now a new bedside light.

Leveling Up Savings

If I need to buy something like floss, I will search for cheap versions that are frequently online.

I start on Amazon and usually end there. Plus, with free shipping, it’s hard to beat putting on real pants for in-person savings.

I collect any coupons, if their available, and check Rauken but they aren’t giving anything for Amazon cashback. If I can, I try to level up my savings by buying in bulk.

I use credit cards to supercharge my rewards because the 3 cards I have all have a reward program. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to refund an item through FSA, but that’s for anything SPF, over-the-counter medicine, or menstrual. I wish I could write off hygiene too, what is health care without hygiene?

I try to think of any other way I can squeeze extra savings, which will ready player one my savings skills. Then I rollover that savings to fun adventures like investing or the ol’ life list.

Gamify Saving Money

I haven’t played video games for years, but I do gamify saving money.

It started with little ways but with every win, it has increased my overall savings score. Losing is all apart of playing and I can’t expect to win every time. I still pout when I lose.

Even when pouting, I keep trying, learning, and leveling up. At some point, I will make it to the magical land and win the financial game by retiring early. Until then, I’ll keep wandering around the house in sweatpants, wondering if there is a way to turn something less useful into something more useful.

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