Just because we are saving money doesn’t mean
we can’t enjoy life and do things a normal person with discretionary income can
do. As much as we want to save every penny, we're not eating cans of beans over a trash barrel fire. It's important to feel good about yourself, your living space and your
life. And there are ways to achieve happiness in these areas that are either free,
very inexpensive, or can even make you money. We're still figuring it all out.
Depending on where you live there might be a few variations of shops that buy your old clothing and give you either cash back or credit towards their products. For us Buffalo Exchange is the place to go. Every couple of months Keri digs through our closets (her three closets and Dylan’s one) and throw items we no longer use into two piles: 1. give away and 2. sell!
We bring the sellable stuff to Buffalo Exchange (Ohio people think Plato's Closet) and in a good scenario we have gotten up to $70 in cash back, and sometimes even more in store credit. Now we should be dropping that cash on the loan but sometimes we'll look around the store to see if there is anything we like, and if not I take a small amount of the cash and go to an inexpensive store (H&M) and get a little somethin' somethin'. It is healthy to freshen your wardrobe once in a while to give yourself the feeling of belonging in the real world and being a regular person.
It is also important to stay well groomed. Dylan realized that he was spending around $40 a month on haircuts and now swears by shaving his head so he spends $0.00 on haircuts (sure Dylan, that's why you shave your head...). Keri has found a local hair dresser that does not cost a million dollars who she can go to as infrequently as possible OR basically until a mullet begins to form. Between cuts she trims her own bangs to keep her hair looking passable and less like this guy.
Exercise is also something that should not have to cost money. Now, we understand the ease of running in place and having accessibility to weights/classes. But if you are trying to change your money situation then you’ve got to get creative. Run outside! Walk or bike to work. Rickey Henderson did and he's the best! Wake up and do a workout in your bedroom. We've found so many Yoga videos on YouTube - but honestly end up just doing basic crunches. We recently reinstated a crunch challenge that we used to get in shape before our wedding. We set a goal of x # of crunches to complete by a certain date and keep a running tally on our fridge. Currently we each have to do 500 before Easter. 50 down 450 to go!
YOUR LIVING SPACE
As an “adult” it is fun to start cultivating your living style. We all want our apartments to be photographed for Apartment Therapy but can’t understand why everyone on there seems to be able to afford an Eames Lounge chair and ottoman. So instead, take advantage of free things. We can literally name over ten (large) peices in our apartment that were free. We found our 70’s esque credenza on the side of the road and carried it 4 blocks into our 3rd floor apartment (heaviest thing ever). Our side tables were a school project made by a friend of ours that we painted white.
While Keri worked for designer Jonathan Adler she was able to take home damage items that couldn't be sold in the store. We were able to add in 2 floor lamps, 3 table lamps, a morrocan pouf, and several ceramic peices to our decor for the cost of some Krazy Glue. Now when we need to actually spend money we go for the most inexpensive options at Ikea or Target and opened a few credit cards at West Elm and Crate and Barrel to recieve 20% off an item, then obviously paid it off as it we used cash and benefited from some cash back for being card holders. We only reccomend doing this if you can commit to paying off your charge the next day.
YOUR ENTERTAINING LIFE
We started thinking about entertainment in a new way when we started this journey. By now you may have read that we cut cable and try to never eat food that hasn’t been budgeted for. Also... we never go out. Which has been a real struggle for Dylan who feels the need to go to the movie theater every week. To the passer by we look like the lamest couple on earth. But we enjoy our time together - that's why we married each other! We try to find things to do that don’t cost money - we play board games, listen to several podcasts, and stole Zac Wolf's Netflix password. Winter is difficult and you could get in a rut of watching 900 episodes of Law and Order: SVU. But the good news is that you won't be spending money on going to a bar or whatever it is you kids do these days - go to Red Baron Arcade..? Look, we're doing the best we can to save and also not lose what makes us real human beings.