We all have too much sh*t! Closets stacked with shoes, dressers with unused tools, jewelry, and/or makeup, shelves of books we’ve purchased faster than we can read them, or the “Fahgettaboudit” pile in the closet of “important” things we promised to sort out five years ago.
Gross excess is how corporate America makes their money, and how YOU continue to lose it by still PAYING for all this JUNK on your high interest 3+ credit cards!
Whew! If that’s not a reality slap in the face, then the total balance of what may be $10,000 or more should be!
The past year, I saved $1,000 with these 5 new habits.
1: HAVE A SPEND-LESS WEEKEND EVERY OTHER WEEK
Whether your weekends are actually the weekend or 2 random days off in the middle of the week (unpredictable schedule buddies!), try spending absolutely nothing at least two times during your days off. Chances are you’re purchasing useless things every day you get off.
Take clothing for example: on average, Americans purchase just a little over one garment each week! After you do the math, that number is 52 articles of clothing for the entire year! Or 260 articles after 5 years! And after 10 years, that’s 520 articles of clothing! If each article cost you an average of $20 each (and hey! Let’s face it; most of it costs much more), that is $1,040 spent on clothing alone in one year, $5,200 over 5 years, and $10,400 over a decade!
that is $1,040 spent on clothing alone in one year
Since we don’t always get rid of the old while we bring in the new, we end up with dumbfounding numbers of clothing we barely wear. Sorry; the excuse of doing less laundry isn’t worth the expense since the national average water bill is $70 a month, which is $840 per year. You still would save a minimum of $200 per year without having to purchase new clothes each week.
Clothing isn’t the only thing we shop for. Maybe your impulse purchases are books, video games, or artisanal coffee. Whatever your jam, stop letting it jam up your living space.
What To Do Instead
- Have a picnic with your friends and family!
- Go bike riding with your buddies!
- Take your fur-baby for a longer walk!
- Take a walk at your local park!
- Experiment with the food you have in your house!
- Volunteer for a good cause!
- Play video games!
What To Do With That Money You Saved
- Pay off those credit cards, especially store cards if you have them.
- Pay off some of your student or personal loans.
- Start a Mutual Fund and invest your newfound savings into it. Professionally managed mutual funds are a great way to begin building long term income through interest gained through shares and bonds. Yes there is risk, but the gains outweigh it and the profit is made through patience. Try these five popular funds with high five-year returns according to Forbes:
- Fidelity Contrafund: 16.85%
- American Funds Growth Fund of America: 16.15%
- Fidelity 500 Index Fund: $15.07%
- American Funds Fundamental Investors Fund: 15.03%
- Vanguard 500 Index Fund: 15.01%
2: SAY GOODBYE TO AT LEAST 3 ARTICLES OF CLOTHING EACH WEEK
While you’re on that Spend-Less Weekend, donate or trash at least 3 articles of clothing each week. Sometimes our slow reaction to parting with things is the myth that someone else might need it.
Well, great! Feed into that ideology by donating that sh*t! Look into your closets each week and see if there is a pair of shoes, a shirt, or a swim suit you can part with. Don’t use this as an opportunity to buy new stuff to replace it with, but to really see what you need and what you don’t.
Create three piles: Yes, No, and Meh.
The Yes Pile includes things you actually wear and love to wear. They may include work uniforms, workout clothes, favorite outfits, or practical wear.
The No Pile includes things you don’t fit into anymore, styles you regret, or things you just don’t want or need.
The Meh pile includes things that you like sometimes, but not all the time. They include things you’re not sure about. This is the perfect growth opportunity to shake off some of those indecisive habits. This is the pile in which the fate of your clothing will be decided at the end.
And, when you get to the end, When in Doubt, Meh is Out!
What To Do With Those Clothes Instead
- Donate to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or any other charity or drop box. If it hurts too much to throw something out, then let someone else do it for you so that you can avoid the anxiety.
- Recycle clothing that is made with quality material, but passed resurrection. Soles of shoes, leather, and furs can typically be reused and made into other useful things.
3: PART WITH 1 GADGET OR APPLIANCE AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH WEEK.
Got a salad spinner or coffee machine you haven’t used in months? How about a pile of old cell phones? Computers and laptops that still run Windows 98 (XP, Vista, or 8)? A smart water bottle or a Bluetooth toaster?
Unless you use your gadgets and appliances a minimum of once a month, it’s time to hand them over to someone else.
Some of the more gimmicky tech is amusing at first, but there’s really no need to connect your toaster to your phone through an app to get golden toast (sorry for the most extreme example).
Eliminate e-waste! It’s better for the environment! Make sure you get a receipt for everything you donate; it’s tax deductible!
What To Do With This Tech Instead
- Electronics can be donated, whether in great shape or great wear. Check out these organizations to make sure your unwanted tech finds a good home―just wipe your data first!
- Cell Phones for Soldiers
- Computers with Causes
- National Cristina Foundation
- PickUp Please
- Power My Learning
- Secure the Call
- World Computer Exchange
4: LEARN HOW TO SAY “NO” EVERY DAY!
NO is a beautiful world. The moment temptation hits you at the store, SAY NO. Even if you have to say it aloud. Target, Walmart, Ross, and Costco are among many of your impulse enemies. They’re in the business of selling things you don’t need in the excess you don’t need.
The more you say no, the easier it becomes! It’s empowering to walk into Target for some toothpaste, and ONLY for toothpaste, and to walk out with NO MORE THAN JUST THAT TOOTHPASTE! No stick of gum. No M&Ms. No cool shoes. No pretty pillows. Your wallet will thank you.
Say Yes To These mostly FREE THINGS Every Day
- Say YES to eating healthier.
- Say YES to exercise.
- Say YES to reading more books.
- Say YES to visiting friends and family.
- Say YES to charity donations.
- Say YES to recycling.
- Say YES to keeping your house clean.
- Say YES to being a Good Samaritan.
- Say YES to keeping up with current events.
- Say YES to keeping a plant alive.
5: LEARN THE ART OF CONTENTMENT
Steve Cutts has an awesome cartoon called Happiness about the insanity of materialism, excess, and how it keeps you in the literal Rat Race. Be prepared to cry at the end!
But, guess what? Money does buy happiness! But, there is most definitely a catch. It’s not about the latest iPhone you own, or how many pairs of Nikes, or the latest Porsche with all the bells and whistles. Nice things are certainly nice! No sh*t Sherlock! But their appeal is a short term high that can only be satiated by the next “upgraded” thing, and the cycle will always continue. Latest iPhones, cars, and clothes are like college textbooks: there’s always a new eddition each year with the exact same sh*t, just a different format.
The cure is to learn the Art of Contentment. Be happy with the stuff you already have! Upgrading is only necessary when you need to realistically keep up with the times (think 5 to 10 years between upgrades) or when your stuff is legit broken beyond actual use and/or compromises your safety.
Upgrading is only necessary when you need to realistically keep up with the times
What To Do Instead
- Within reason, buy experiences over clutter. This doesn’t mean spend lavishly on vacations or digging yourself deeper into debt. It means, rather than putting a down payment on that glossy silver 2025 BMW Z4, take your friends out on a hiking trip, or your parents to dinner. I can think of A Dozen Things I’d Rather Spend $1000 On and still have money in the bank to spend.
- Unplug Yourself for at least an hour. We’re all so worried about missing… what? Meditate on your life goals and expectations. What will actually make you happy? Maybe it’s having enough time and money to travel. Maybe it’s having enough time and money for your children. Maybe it’s just having personal time and money to take care of your health.
With the money you don’t spend, start a Mutual Fund and/or add to it. See Tip #1.
After a year of following these tips, watch your house open up, your mind relax, and your pockets thicken! It’s pretty rad!
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