I said in the first post that this would be a series. It’s all about reflection, and slowly clarifying my life. If you’re still getting your house in order, this series will give you an idea of things you might benefit from cutting down or cutting out. Anyway, here we go:
Energy/meal replacement bars and drinks. Especially the natural/organic category. Too expensive ($2-$3 per unit, not per box), and within 30 minutes to an hour I’m hungry again. I can never eat/drink just one per day which makes it even more expensive when it doesn’t last. I’ll get lazy and rely on them to sustain me instead of putting together an actual meal. I know that’s “just me”, but think about all the calories you could be feeding yourself with those same dollars by making a simple meal.
Snacks/Candy. The way food prices and taxes are set up.. our budget goes a long way without $3-$4 bags, packages, containers of empty calories. Empty calories means you have to eat the whole bag, package, container because you don’t know when to stop. But then you’re still hungry. Or you finish it all in one sitting to feel full (for 20 minutes). I don’t know what’s worse, that or the drive thru. We still get cravings for chips (outside of plain tortilla chips), cookies, cakes, ice creams. I also got better with portioning. But snacks (especially the 75% air bags) just don’t give us the return on investment we’re looking for.
*So what should I eat instead of chips, candy, and energy bars ? Try fresh fruit, trail mix (store brand or DIY), popcorn, or dry cereal. These are more nutrient dense (so they’ll stay in your stomach longer) and work out to cost less on the dollar.
Hair & Nail Salons. Last time I visited a hair or nail salon, my hair was straight from root to tip (relaxed). This isn’t personal (dad paid for the longest) but it’s included because often I entertain the idea, albeit on my own dime. I have the hair texture and length that even a professional can’t tame in one hour. So I understand the pricing… to a point. There’s money to be made in this industry, and even in the south (non-celebrity) establishments are charging $200+ dollars to do simple styles on just the hair alone. Imagine adding extensions. I’ve only had artificial nails once (drugstore press ons, I was 6), so I’m paying $20+ for a coating of nail polish that’ll be chipped by the end of the week. I can do chipped paint all by myself.
Unlimited Cell Phone Plan. I used to pay over $100 a month for my smart phone. I paid the $800 off, and the payment went down to $82. It wasn’t until I couldn’t pay the bill that I realized I could’ve been paying less. Took a minute to stop beating myself up. Since August of 2018, I have proudly been on Team Prepaid. And my “talk & text” bill with taxes comes out to less than $30 a month. I pay an additional $20 for WiFi in my home, and it still doesn’t come close to that unlimited plan.
Note: As of yet, I haven’t needed Internet access outside of home, so it was a sacrifice I could make. Do what works for you.
Subscriptions. I don’t have the brain capacity to keep up with all these automatic payments. In the moment, subscription is a fine idea until you forget about it and your last $10 (meant for groceries) disappears. I can’t tell you how many times a payment snuck up on me and ruined my plans for the day. Anyway, if you can forget that you even subscribed to a subscription, you might as well cancel it. Subscriptions are “convenience” services, turning into an inconvenience when your coins get deducted at the worst timing.
As I sit here reflecting on everything I’ve purged from my day to day, I’m realizing that besides my debt, I have no real worries. When I take time to relax myself, I see how simple my life is. I used to stress myself a lot, thinking life was so complicated but in reality I just didn’t understand. How the universe works. Physical things (purchases, collections, memories of sentiment), they don’t just crowd your living space. They crowd your mind, your potential, and your future. It took me 7 years to get to this point mentally, so don’t think it’s an overnight thing. Each day/week/month/year, there could be something you decide is not worth your time. Your energy. And you get rid of it. And you feel your shoulders get lighter. Clarify at your own pace, but be intentional.
Remember, money is energy.
Feel free to tell me how you’re doing. And what things have you recently purged from your life?
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