6 Actions That Save Me Big Money

16 Mar

Spending less is something we all strive to do, and each of us has different strategies for keeping our sticky fingers out of our bank accounts. I know better than to window shop when I don’t need to buy anything, and I try to avoid grocery shopping when I’m hungry. And while it’s easy to save money on products or services that don’t really excite me — fancy lattes, mani/pedis, and the latest gadget, as examples — my self-control is tested by fashion, home goods and See’s Candies. To avoid impulse purchases, I’ve taken the following six actions to keep myself out of trouble.

Unsubscribing from emails
This seems like a small, insignificant action, but I swear it’s made the biggest impact on my spending. I’m impressionable and impulsive, so seeing daily emails in my inbox advertising deals and sales from my favorite stores probably resulted in a purchase 20-30 percent of the time. The worst emails were the ones highlighting new arrivals; while I wouldn’t bite on the full-price purchase, I’d watch the item until a sale or deal came up and then make my move. This is bad because I fixated on this item over a period of time when my energy could have been better applied elsewhere.

Un-following fashion bloggers on Insta
I used to follow Extra Petite and Wendy’s Lookbook on Instagram, and found myself wanting to shop their looks whenever their perfectly-curated images showed up in my feed. Recognizing the influence these images had on my feelings about what I already owned, I decided to stop following them. Like retail newsletters, this “out of site, out of mind” strategy has done wonders for my impulse control.

Having a BHAFG
Never heard of that acronym? It’s a mash-up between a term used by my previous employer — Big Hairy Audacious Goal — with my addition of “F” for Financial. Having specific goals is an effective motivator for me and for the last two years, my husband and I have been funneling our money toward a big one. Since I want to put every last penny into this pursuit, I’m less inclined to spend money on stuff we don’t need because I’d rather reach our goal faster.

Seriously. I’m astonished by all the ads on websites when I open a page in incognito or through a browser without Adblock. Like I said, I’m impulsive and if I see the same pair of shoes while reading a blogpost that I looked at an hour earlier, I’m likely to desire them more and make a purchase. Plus, ads are just annoying. 

Practicing yoga at home
I used to love me some studio time, but after a 108-day at-home yoga challenge last year, I realized I prefer the privacy and flexibility of my home practice. It’s less expensive and I can get my practice knocked out before the sun comes up. We live in a very small town about 30 minutes away from my preferred studios, so getting to class and back takes time and gas money.

Finding minimalism
Discovering the minimalist movement and incorporating some of its values into my day-to-day living has transformed my relationship with things. I’ve given away a ton of stuff (read about it here) which has made everything from tidying my house to getting ready in the morning much simpler and faster. While I still enjoy shopping, I no longer purchase things for the thrill of acquiring something new; I’m much more thoughtful about what I spend my money on, and spend a lot less overall as a result.

What are your strategies for spending less?

6 Responses to “6 Actions That Save Me Big Money”

  1. Vanessa @ CashCowCouple March 31, 2017 at 10:52 pm #

    Hi Kendal,

    In regards to your at-home yoga practice, do you follow a video or just do your own thing?

    I’m new to practicing yoga, and I have been following a Youtube channel, but I’m almost done with it and would love to know what others are doing. I’m a beginner, so I don’t feel confident doing it on my own without an instructor, but I don’t want to go outside my house. I agree that the privacy of practicing in my home is necessary.

    • Kendal April 3, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

      Hi Vanessa! I follow a video at home — I’m not quite skilled enough to create my own practice! I purchased the Yoga 30 for 30 program (http://yoga30for30.com/) by Travis Eliot and Lauren Eckstrom — they’re a couple of yogis out of California and I really enjoy their style. The program is a mix of power flow/vinyasa practices and restorative/yin practices, and each one is about 35 minutes, including time for Savasana. The cost is $99 for 30 days of classes which you can stream from any device, and then continue to use after 30 days is up (it doesn’t expire or anything). The program also includes 10 minutes of guided meditation, pranayama (breathing work) and core, as well as a nutritional booklet if you’re desirous of a healthy eating plan. I highly recommend the program!

      Have you ever done yoga in a class setting with an instructor? If not, I recommend taking a couple classes to ensure your alignment is correct. This can help you feel more confident on the mat and make it easier to follow along with at-home videos. I’m not sure if it’s still in circulation, but my very first intro to yoga was a “yoga for dummies” DVD that did a great job teaching the foundational poses in yoga including all of the names. Knowing the names of the postures is helpful when doing an at-home practice so you’re not constantly straining your neck to see what the heck people are doing!

      Good luck with your practice! Feel free to email me at kendal (at) hasslefreesavings (dot) com if you have any more questions. I’m happy to help!

      • Vanessa @ CashCowCouple April 3, 2017 at 6:13 pm #

        Thank you for the recommendation! I’ll check all this out. I have a gift certificate for a fancy yoga studio in my town, but I’ve been too intimidated to go try it out yet!

        Do you think I should get the basics down before trying out the class, or just go and absorb all I can in 5 classes?

      • Kendal April 3, 2017 at 8:52 pm #

        If you’ve been practicing yoga via YouTube, you likely have most of the basics down including an understanding of what each of the primary postures look like (down dog, up dog, warrior II, etc). I understand being intimidated by class, but I promise it will help your practice and enhance your overall experience!

        Read class descriptions carefully and opt for those classes that are labeled as “all levels” or better for beginners. If it’s not clear, call the studio and chat with an instructor; they can tell you which classes are best suited for you. In my experience, most classes are designed for all levels and instructors offer variations of postures so no one feels like that can’t do some level of the pose.

        As instructors will tell you, yoga is a personal practice — everyone is working on their own thing, so don’t feel like you’re being judged! I’ve taken countless classes over the last six years and not once have I felt unwelcome or looked down upon by yogis who are clearly more seasoned than me.

  2. Vanessa @ CashCowCouple April 11, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

    Awesome. You’ve made me feel much better about it! Thank you for taking the time to give me so much info.

    • Kendal April 11, 2017 at 8:28 pm #

      My pleasure! I’d love to hear how your first class goes.