We live in an era of having it all. You want the latest gadgets when they come out (insert Apple products here). There is a constant desire to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. We want the house with the yard and the brand new car in the driveway. But with that comes the 30 year mortgage and the 5-7 year car payment.
There are a few baby steps you can take to living a simpler life (if you’re not ready to give it all up and live off the grid).
Purchase or refinance with a 15 year fixed mortgage. Think you can’t afford it? Buy smaller. Chances are you don’t need that 3000+ square foot house. Your payments will be higher with a 15 year mortgage but you’ll have it paid off sooner.
Buy used. You can still get that shiny ‘new’ car – just a few years older. Try to save up the cash and pay for it in full. If you don’t have the means to do that and you have to have the car payment, choose a 5 year loan maximum. Again, you’ll pay a little more but you’ll have it paid off sooner.
Cut them all up! Seriously. If you can’t afford to pay cash don’t buy it. Interest rates will kill you and you’ll end up paying double by the time you pay them off. If you HAVE to have a credit card get just one with a low interest rate and ONLY use it for emergencies. And no those cute shoes on sale are not an emergency.
Take inventory of all the stuff you’ve accumulated over the years. Have a garage sale or list them on Ebay to make some money off that stuff you never use. Save the extra money for something you ‘need’ and not something you want.
Before you buy ANYTHING think ‘do I really need this?’ Wait at least 7 days to think on the purchase. Chances are you’ll decide you can live without it, thus saving you some money. Check out local flea markets and thrift stores. You can buy something slightly used for a fraction of the new price. And it will bring you just as much joy. Plus you’re helping out the planet by keeping things out of our landfills.
Cut back on your habits. Are you a smoker and want to quit? This alone could save you over $1000 a year. Do you gamble or play the lottery? Limit the number of times you play. Do you shop a lot? Refer to Purchases listed above for ways to cut back.
Make a list before you go shopping and stick to just the list. Plan meals at home instead of going out to eat. Use coupons to save money. Shop at bargain grocery stores like Aldi or Lidl where your dollar will go further.
Shop around for the best interest rates at banks. Some will even give you money for signing up for their savings or checking accounts. Invest some of your money that will earn you a dividend check every month.
All of these steps can not only help you live a simpler life, but they can also allow for more money in your pockets. For some additional ideas for making and saving money, check out my Pinterest page Keeping Me Straight.