I use to think nothing of jumping in the car and driving all over the place. It was just gas. What I didn't take into account was the fact that of course it is not just gas.
It is the mileage you will put on your car, which then gets into brakes, tires, etc. And besides, you shouldn't waste gas.
So when you get into your car on a whim, think about it from that point of view. I probably put less than 30 miles a month on my car. And I've already told you that my budget for gas each month is $20. I've managed to go two months on $20!
But in order to do that, I had to find a grocery nearby. Check. A vet. Check. A place to get my hair cut. Check. Pharmacy. Check. So actually, when I go out, I can get most of my errands run in a one mile radius. If you schedule your errands together, even better!
I use to go out to eat a lot. That changed when I moved here. About once per week I allow myself a meal out. Which means I bring it home. I have never been the type to just "pick up a beverage or a coffee." Those few dollars mount up.
I don't go to movies. But nor do I have Netflix. I think Netflix is wonderful and keeps families from spending so much at the theater. I just don't watch TV much and very rarely watch movies. I probably don't watch a movie a year. Just not my thing. But I'll watch reruns of Law & Order three or four times!
Before I moved here, I'd walk through the mall and browse clothing, or stroll through the antique malls, etc. I rarely buy clothing. Since I work from home, I can live in pajamas if I want.
Shoes are out because with the ankle brace, I have to buy shoes a size bigger. And they must be good sneakers.
That limits what I wear, so my other shoes, sandals and such, just gather dust. I purchase one decent pair of sneakers, about $80 from Zappos.com, which gives me free overnight shipping, and wear them until they're not supporting my foot any longer. Which is about 6-8 months.
Occasionally I take the pupsters to the groomer. About three times a year maybe. In between I take the snub-nosed scissors you can get from a pet shop and do it myself. It's not as pretty, no, but it gets the job done.
I'm very intentional about buying things for my home. I either have to need it, or want it very, very badly. And then it's never on a whim. Because I have limited space. If I don't have room for it, I don't need it.
Buying groceries is pretty simple for me. I tend to eat the same cereal every morning. (I'm not very adventurous, am I?) For supper I share a baked potato with veggies with the pupsters. Potatoes are the only "people" food I give them, because they have to eat prescription dog food. And they like cottage cheese too, which I will give them a spoonful of.
For lunch I've started buying trail mix type foods. Nuts, dried fruit combined with say, a sliced up apple. Peanut butter crackers. This was today's lunch.
It's better to eat small meals anyway. I get up and eat cereal and have coffee. About 11 a.m. I will have half a sliced bagel. About 2 p.m. I had the above.
Since I order a lot from Walmart.com, that means I don't tend to run out of things like toilet paper and detergent and soap, etc. You just have to think ahead about what you think you will need.
Order $50 worth, and it is shipped free right to your door. Which really helps with not using gas in your car and walking if you have a bad ankle. I've already talked to you about this one.
If you don't think ahead, you're going to run out of something and have to run to the store and buy it whether you're getting a good deal or not.
I use Walmart.com like a grocery list. Every time I think of something, I put it in my online cart. Those big boxes they send my purchases in come in handy too.
The dogs' prescription diet is expensive. I picked up two 12-pack cans at the vet the other day. It was $70. But I've seen them get deathly sick. And this is the only way I can keep that from happening. So there is no choice here. Their dry food is around $50 for a big bag.
That's a must, because the pupsters are so important to me and it's my job to take care of them, so I have to cut corners in other places.
You have to be careful when shopping. The stores will try to fool you with different sizes. Say cereal. I will think I'm getting a deal because it's marked down, and then get home and see that the box is much smaller than the one that's almost empty. Have to look at how much is actually in that box.
Some people do really well with coupons. I don't happen to be one of them. So I have to find other ways to save. One of these days I might have time to do that, but right now I just plain don't.
Shop various pharmacies for prescriptions. All it takes is a phone call.
I depend a lot on reviews of things I need and buy online. I almost always get free shipping, even when it's furniture. You can't beat that.
When they came out with reviews of items, that was the best thing since sliced bread. Now you can read what something is really like from consumers who've already purchased it. If it has bad review, or is less than 4 stars, I'm not taking a chance on it.
If you're 50 or older, sign up with AARP. It's a minimal amount each year. I've really saved money on hotels in the past. And oftentimes seniors get a percentage off apartments, meals at a restaurant, car rentals, etc. So it's worth it. Plus I signed up for their newsletter, so I get lots of valuable information and notifications online.
You simply have to be judicious about buying things. Stop and think. Don't buy on impulse. If you don't know where you'll put it, unless it is absolutely something you have to have (and you have to splurge on yourselves sometimes), then don't buy it.
And if you're limited on space, tell yourself if you buy that piece of furniture or whatever, then something else has to go.
Some women spend a lot at the beauty shop, etc. Now if that's their thing, I'm not going to knock it. I wear my hair short, and it grows very fast. So in between hair cuts, which I get down the road for $15 plus a tip, I will trim it up myself the best I can. I've never been one to color my hair, so don't have that expense.
I've had my nails done once in my life. And I've never had a pedicure. Just not my thing.
I went a little wild (for me) and purchased another Dyson hand vacuum a few weeks ago online. I have had one for years, but the motor stopped working. I did some research and found that getting them fixed will cost about the same as a new one.
So I started checking online for the cheapest price. I also did some research into other hand vacs, to see if maybe others were now rated better. Here's where I drew the line and made my decision. The Dyson does not have to have new filters. I found it for $160 and free shipping. So I went with it.
That's the most expensive thing I've bought in a long time. But I have to take into account how much it hurts my ankle to drag out the big Dyson I brought from Texas.
The little one is so much easier, so much lighter in weight. And for little messes, I can take care of that real fast. I can clean the furniture, etc.
I thought long and hard before I bought that. Because this time of the year is tax time, and I have to pay taxes. I'll have to get a tag for my car, which thankfully is paid off. (Since I wrote about frugal tips last, I doubt very seriously I've put another 100 miles on my 2006 Nissan Pathfinder.)
I need to take the dogs in for shots. And it's about to be mowing season again, which means I have to pay a guy to mow it. I can take care of the minor pruning, etc., the flower gardens. But I know with my ankle I'd be a fool to buy a lawn mower.
Speaking of tax time, if you're a blogger and considered self-employed, find a good accountant. It took me two years of bad ones to find a good one four doors down the street. And everything that at all pertains to my blog, he deducts. My office in my home, internet, phone, etc. If I hadn't had those things, I'd be looking at what I consider a hefty tax bill. And as it is, I've got to come up with about $1200.
Life is short, so I'm not saying don't treat yourself. That's a must. Just don't overdo it. A treat to me is a new book. If it's about marketing or blogging, I will be able to use it at tax time. I buy books online at Amazon.com for the book club. I get to count that as well. Otherwise I won't buy a book unless it's for reference.
Okay, that's all I can come up with for now. And it's just about time for yoga, and then my nightly baked potato. The dogs just love those things.