I was shopping on walmart.com the other day when I stumbled upon their slogan, "Save Money. Live Better". That got me thinking how we all want to save money, but do we live better?
Below are 6 ways we can do both:
- Focus on your health.
- Get rid of the physical and digital clutter.
- Create or update your budget/goals.
- Take homemade food to work.
- Look for free events in your city.
- Join your local "Buy Nothing" Facebook group.
Focus on your health
This one might not seem obvious, but a healthier you means enjoying life longer and less expensive visits to the doctor. You are playing the long game on this one.
The easiest place to start is sleep. I recommend the book Why We Sleep by Dr. Matthew Walker. In the book, Dr. Walker goes through all the benefits of sleep. Of particular importance is improved cognitive ability since this should help you make better financial decisions.
The other obvious one is exercise. Exercise is linked to a reduction of chronic diseases. Not to mention it release endorphins, so it will make you feel good. Working out at home will help reduce the cost. Maybe a video program or just running in your neighborhood.
You won't see an immediate savings, but over a lifetime it will pay back dividends.
Get rid of the physical and digital clutter
Ever have a messy home? Remember that feeling right after cleaning; how good it felt to see it that way? Would be nice to have that feeling every day. You can use the KonMari method to help with that. The plus side here is as you are coming across items that do not bring you joy, you can sell stuff in a garage sale or on Facebook Marketplace. Win win.
The same can be said about your digital life. Maybe your phone or email are running low on storage. Instead of buying a new phone with more storage or paying for gmail premium, get rid of the things that are not important.
One last important point about this one. Going through your email and bank account statements find subscriptions you are not using. Maybe you have Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Apple TV, and Disney+. That's a lot of TV. Are you really watching all of those? Cut some of those subscriptions to save some money to put elsewhere.
Create or update your budget/goals
Sometimes when going all out saving money we can forget what is really important. We cut costs everywhere to do it, but to the detriment of living a better life. I am by no means saying you should not be gazelle intense in order to achieve a financial goal. Beans and rice in the short term when you have a plan is totally fine. But it's not sustainable.
Instead you should go through your budget and re-evaluate what's important to you. Maybe you cut eating out, coffee, and vacations from the budget so you can spend less and save more. It's possible in six months to a year things have changed.
You could have met someone, and now date nights are important. Groupon and other services are a great source of deals for things to do on a date while on a budget. Visiting a new country could be on your bucket list. Plan to take a trip in two years. It's much easier to manage saving for two years on a tighter budget. Book the flights on an off season when they tend to be cheaper. Looks for deals on tours and other things to do while you are overseas.
Take homemade food to work
I don't know about anyone else, but I use to eat out for lunch every day when I would go into the office. This was quick and easy and allowed me to focus on work. But boy is it expensive.
A typical lunch in a big city is about $13 bucks. That's $65 a week, $260 a month, and a whopping $3120 a year. Think about all the things you could do with that money. Vacation, new computer, or a Beyonce concert. The point is it's pricey.
Instead why not cook meals at home and take them to work? The cost can be cut down to under approximately $4 a meal while being able to make the tastiest recipes. You can cook together with your family and friends, making it a whole experience for everyone.
If your colleagues go pick up food, you don't have to eat alone. Ask if they'll eat in the office so you can time heating up your food when they come back to eat.
Look for free events in your city
One of the joys of life are experiences. To that end we always look for places to go and things to do. This can get pricey, especially in a big city. Instead you should consider looking for free things to do. Some great ideas:
- Go camping or hiking.
- Free concerts or outdoor festivals.
- Host a picnic or potluck.
- Check out groupon free deals.
- Museums (sometimes free).
- City parks host free events perfect for kids.
- Your child's school sometimes hosts free events.
There are more depending on your area. Facebook sometimes has local groups that broadcast free things happening around you.
Join your local Buy Nothing Facebook group
This one is a bit of a hidden gem. On Facebook there are sometimes groups where people just post things they don't want anymore. It's called a Buy Nothing group. Instead of throwing things out, give them away. These types of groups are great for the environment since items can be reused multiple times by different families.
We once got an expensive baby jumper off a Buy Nothing group. Apparently they got it from another family, meaning the jumper was enjoyed by at least three different babies. Pretty cool. Did I mention it's also a great way to get to know people?
You can save money and live better
It is possible to save money and live better. You just need to stop and evaluate whether why you are saving money is helping you live that better life. We have but one life, let's make the most of it.