A friend was commiserating with herself the other day, worried about her money woes. She felt like she had spent too much money shopping, recently dropping nearly $200 on stuff. And that's what it was- just stuff. She bought jeans that were similar to the ones she owned, shoes that she didn't need, and shirts that I knew she would never wear. But she doesn't make that much money, and she has rent, food, and student loans to pay for. It got me wondering about the best way to save money- how can you avoid a costly outing like that?
Simply put, don't go shopping unless you absolutely need something. And I do mean absolutely. If you already have two pairs of black shoes, why do you need another? Lois Frankel, author of Nice Girls Don't Get Rich: 75 Avoidable Mistakes Women Make With Money, made an excellent point in this book. She reasoned whether or not you would get the job - or a raise for that matter- just because you went in to see the boss with new shoes on. And you know what? She's right! Unless your shoes look like the Grand Canyon, your shoes are probably fine. Some might argue that point, saying that "new shoes will give me that extra confidence boost!"? Well why don't you gain confidence by paying down your debt with the money you would have spent on those shoes?
That's it- plain and simple. It's a lot like weight loss- if you want to lose weight, you have to consume less calories than you utilize. That's how my aunt lost so much weight (almost 40 pounds)- she just started using a smaller plate size. And that's what you need to do too; use a smaller plate size. Spend less than you earn. Take up an inexpensive hobby, like running (outside, not in an expensive gym). Go for walks with your friends. Make some of your own jewelry together. Discuss politics over a pot of tea or coffee, 1800 style. The list of cheap, fun activities are endless.
Cheers to saving those leaves!