Monday, June 1, 2009

Essential Living Challenge: Day 1

Happy First Day of the Challenge! Today me and my Challenge Buddies kick off a month (at least) of Essential Living. For the next 30 days (at least) we will strive to buy only what is necessary for us to survive (to see the rules we are going to live by during the Challenge, go to my original Essential Living post). In this process we will hopefully find new and creative ways of having fun while living frugally, thereby saving lots of money and re-discovering the pleasures of the simpler things in life! I hope it will be a great experience, albeit fraught with frustration considering my spend-y nature. Please do join us as we band together and tackle the Challenge!

To kick off our inaugural Challenge day, here are a few more fantastic frugal tips:

1. Cancel subscriptions -- have a billion magazine subscriptions like I do? Cancel them and go to your local library where you can read them there or check out old issues. Or go to the bookstore and spend a couple of leisurely hours on the weekend flipping through the pages of your favorite mags. If you simply must have one for a particular article, buy the magazine, but chances are you probably can live without it!

2. DIY -- want new art for your bedroom like I do? Make it yourself! There are so many ideas and inspirations and do-it-yourself instruction manuals online that can give you step-by-step instructions on how to make your own creative artwork for cheap or free! Don't believe me? Check out Thrifty Decor Chick's latest art creation using scrapbook paper and MDF! I'm totally going to copy her when I can buy the supplies (maybe I'll use my $30 allowance on this? Hmmm...).

3. Stop paying interest -- have a few credit cards with (irritating) interest rates? Find a good 0% balance transfer offer and move your debt over to the new card for 6 months to a year of savings. Keep in mind, most cards charge a fee (usually 3%) for the "privilege" of giving your debt over to them, but in the long run it may be less than what you would have paid in interest over the year.

4. Save energy -- get a little ticked off every time you open your electricity bill? Me too. Try saving some bucks by setting your thermostat at 78 when you leave the house and then down to 76 when you're there. Implement the use of ceiling fans. Wear less clothing. You may be a little warmer than you're used to but the savings is worth a bit of sweat (to me, at least).

5. Find free fun -- have a weekend ahead of you and don't want to spend money but don't want to be bored either? I hear you. Take advantage of the nicer weather and spend some time outdoors! Have a picnic, go biking, take a walk, find some free outdoor concerts, have a pool party in a friends backyard (preferably one with a pool), read a book in the park. There are tons of ways to have a good time without spending a cent and, better yet, get OUTSIDE! Spending time with friends and family is always good too so try to find ways of including all your loved ones in on the free fun!

I have already begun implementing some of my own tips from my previous tips post. This weekend I signed up for a library card and checked out some magazines instead of buying them. I also sold some seldom viewed DVDs to the Movie Trading Company and got some in-store credit to use next time I want to rent a flick! I then went and sold some used audio-books (I use them when I drive to Houston and back) and got a good chunk of change from Half Price Books! I'm very proud of myself and excited to see what kinds of creative ways I will be saving money next. What are your most creative money saving tips?

Hope everyone has a great week! Good luck with the challenge!


complicatedv said...

i usually brown bag my lunch anyway, but packed it last night, full of fresh fruit and a sandwich. i have to go grocery shopping after work today, so hopefully i'll do well. oh, and instead of going to a bigger concert on friday, i'm going to a free neighborhood festival with music. so far so good ;)

Themis0307 said...

Awesome! Love free music! Way to go, V!

Carly said...

Cool idea. Sometimes it feels good to be thrifty!

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