life on a budget part two

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6. Sell your things / buy other people’s things. Lately, I’ve been on a big wanting-to-purge-everything-I-own kick. That in itself is great – to decluttler and simplify your life – but me being who I am, I hate to get rid of things I once paid for (or that someone else paid for – and was expensive). But it’s so freeing to get rid of the clothes you don’t wear and the items you don’t use that are taking up space. I recently discovered Poshmark (a phone app that makes selling clothes super duper simple), and Craigslist is obviously a great place to sell furniture and the like. I mean, how many of you have garages or storage sheds collecting dust? If you haven’t touched something in a year, chances are you never will (or don’t need to) and have forgotten about it. Free up the space, pocket some money, and everyone’s happy. On that note, buying clothing at thrift stores/flea markets or furniture off Craigslist (or flea markets) is not only a great practice in recycling, you can often find something no one else has and save money to boot. And when you’re at a store that has no shortage of an item you want, leave without buying it. If you really need it, you’ll return another day (or find it cheaper on Amazon!).

7. Travel during off times / travel smart. As I’m getting older, I’m realizing more and more how much I want to see of the world. Besides having a successful career and family, traveling is my third priority in life. Plan vacations when nobody else is planning a vacation (i.e. not the summer or holidays), and book flights that are really early in the morning or overnight (because nobody wants to travel then) or during the week. If it’s possible, turn your trip into a road trip and forgo the plane tickets all together. This past summer, we wanted to camp in some different places (and visit the Grand Canyon), but we also wanted to make it back to Texas. We combined the two and brought our dog with us (didn’t have to pay any boarding fees). See if you can stay with friends or family instead of paying for hotels, and use public transport to get around if it’s available (instead of renting a car). Traveling is not a cheap affair, but there are some things in life that are just completely worth it.

8. Barter. Remember the days of no currency, and people just traded their goods and services? Yeah, me neither. But I kind of wish those days still existed. If you have some decent skills, and you want to hire someone else for his/her decent skills, see if a trade is up for grabs. For my engagement photo session, I traded a headshot session in order to get a free makeup session. My neighbors have dogs, and we often trade off dog-sitting for one another. If a friend is able to help you with something you would otherwise have to pay for, make him/her dinner. A lot of people also do clothing swaps where they get together with friends and just trade clothes. Granted, you have to be able to offer a service someone wants, but I’m sure you can find something.

9. Find free / cheap activities. This is a no brainer, but you don’t always have to spend money (or a lot of it) to have fun. Go on a picnic, ride your bike, barbeque (and have friends pitch in). Instead of going out and paying $10 a drink (that’s how expensive it is here in LA), buy two cheap bottles of wine for the same price and have a game night. If you must go out, only go during happy hour. I’m lucky here in LA that we have the beach and hiking, which are 100% free. And look up what events your city is holding each week in the newspaper or online.

10. Invest in quality, over quantity. This goes for everything in life – clothing, furniture, relationships, fun. Buy items you know will last and for which you will get your money’s worth. Spend your money and time doing things you truly love doing, not something that will provide a quick hour of entertainment. I love to have a glass of wine, but I’ll do it at home while cooking dinner. I love to go to the movies, but you really can’t beat paying $1 at Redbox versus a $13 movie ticket. Decide what is important in your life and invest there. Save for those trips you want to take. Remember that it’s okay to splurge every once in a while if it’s something that will truly impact your happiness.

P.S. You can find the first five ways I save money here.

-wonderland sam

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actress/texan kickin' it in los angeles. always searching for my next pizza. cia agent in another life.

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