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Life is complicated; surgery, tax code, or trying to convince a cat that countertop items belong on countertops, not the floor. Then, there are times when life is simple. Of all the ways to save, simple ways are best because the effort is small, cute, and sustainable.
As a civil servant, increasing my pay by asking for a raise is not a thing. The government looks and feels different from the private sector. Instead, I have to get a different job or another job. A different job requires relocation. Another job would be a test of frustration.
So, simple ways to save are the best I can do with limited options and finite resources.
Stoic logic brought to you by David at Raptitude declares, “How we direct our moment-to-moment energies is how we spend our days, and how we spend our days is how we spend our lives.”
1. Staying home is exponentially cheaper than doing anything outside the home.
As an introvert who’s more house cat than social butterfly, when I’m home, I don’t want to go out.
I’m tired and the siren song of eating out does not appeal. Going out involves changing because I live in a uniform 40 hours a week, a discussion of where to eat, then the action of going, waiting, being seated, more waiting, ordering, and then, surprise, surprise, more waiting.
Dishes and decisions are bypassed, but so is savings.
If I lean into laziness and stay home for dinner, I’ll save time, money, and I can wear sweatpants without shame.
2. How I “spend” my free time reflects my bank balance.
With intention, I choose free hobbies. When compared to work, I rarely participate in hobbies since they get squeezed between lunch, after work, or a 2-day weekend versus the standard five days of employment. If I ensure that my hobbies are free, then I’ll keep my savings where they belong: confined to a savings account until an early release for good behavior.
Do I occasionally go on a bender and drive 6 hours away for a pole dancing lesson, ride a dinner train, or drink in the sights and delights of a boat tour? You can bet your red, white, and blue fanny pack.
I’m frugal, not a rock.
Excursions aren’t every weekend, but a few adventures sprinkled throughout a year. Just enough to have something to look forward to without making my savings cry.
Most weekends you’ll find me frugal and free by:
- Reading library books
- Watching library movies
- Going for a run outside
- Hiking in the mountains
- Reading personal finance blogs
- Calling family
- Star gazing
- Baking or cooking
Whatever the hobby is, chances are there’s a free or cheap version. I take that as a personal challenge to figure it out.
Simple saves and fun aren’t exclusive, more like inclusive.
3. Simple saves include reducing cost-of-living expenses.
Some saves have an initial downpayment, like buying a low-flow shower head, replacing disposable napkins with reusable ones, or installing a compost bin. Once established, the savings continue for year-round reductions.
I get a twisted pleasure at simple saves that save the planet too.
Less water waste is a boon for my budget and the watershed. Buying no paper towels for years makes my wallet and trees smile in a waving branch sort of way. Reusing Ziploc bags until their integrity becomes questionable is a win for my savings and the giant plastic floating island in the ocean.
As I journey onward, quality is replacing quantity. Disposable is cheaper in the short term but in the long term, reusable wins.
4. As a frugal foodie, boring is another simple way to save.
This household buys the same groceries week after week. Weekly a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables with a smattering of dairy is bought.
Occasionally, something vastly different finds its way into the cart, but mostly, it’s the same items that are cooked in a variety of ways.
The boon for boring is that it follows an established pattern of success. The same food because it’s just as good as it was last week or the week prior. No dishes get dumped. No leftovers to rot. Just a delicious delight from one meal to the next.
Simple Ways To Save
Some things demand complications: heart surgery, quantum mechanics, and changing the clock on the oven. Complicated problems and complex solutions.
Saving money shouldn’t be. My life may seem rife with frugal strife, but it’s not. I’ve layered in simple ways to save over decades of frugal trial, error, and try again.
The most complicated part of saving is finding what fits and discarding what doesn’t.