Before I was ever allowed to get my driver’s license, I had to learn to change my own oil and a tire on my car. It’s not that my parents thought I’d make a career of doing either – or that I’d ever actually do either – but there is nothing that my parents dislike more than a lack of common knowledge, common sense, and helplessness. I was forced into learning. I’ve never done it, but both are skills I am glad I possess in case of an emergency (though I often wonder what an oil change emergency looks like? OnStar tells me when mine is low and needs to be changed so that I can make an appointment with the service counter…).
The point, however, is that we often forget some of the basics in life as it becomes more convenient and easier. The less we have to do for ourselves, the less we actually do for ourselves. We don’t bother with things like changing our own tires and pressure washing our own homes or even mowing our own lawns anymore, and we often forget how to do the simplest tasks. The same goes for savings. There are so many new and fancy ways for us to save money that we forget some of the simplest, most basic manners of saving money. That makes life a little bit more stressful than it needs to be, and we are simply not fans of additional stress. That’s why we thought we’d remind you of a few of the basic savings habits we all learned growing up that we’ve forgotten all about. Happy saving!
Plant a garden
Honestly, I need to do this. The problem for me is that I have the worst brown thumb (is it brown, or black? I can never remember and people have too many opinions for me). We love fresh fruit and veggies and herbs in our house, and it means we have to run to the store all the time to get them before they go bad. If I could grow my own, I’d save so much money.
Shop in person
I love online shopping and you cannot take that away from me. You cannot say things about online shopping that will make me stop the convenience of it. I won’t do it. However, if I shopped in person, I’d probably spend much less. For one, I wouldn’t be looking for something I don’t actually technically need at Sephora to reach that $50 free shipping minimum three times a week; I’d just make a list and pick up everything I need in person and actually save a ton. But that’s just me.
Live within your means
I cannot tell you how often I see people who seem to have forgotten that this is actually the best possible idea. If you just live within your means, you’ll have so much more money. It’s easy; if you cannot afford to pay cash for that vacation, don’t take it. If you cannot afford to pay for that new car, don’t buy it. If you don’t have the cash for it, it’s not for you. See how simple that is? You can just buy what you can afford, don’t buy what you can’t, and save some serious money. I know this is a long-since forgotten piece of knowledge, but it does work quite well when you really put your mind to it.
If you want some embarrassing honesty, here you go. I dislike taking my kids shopping with me, because I find that I walk out of the store with a half dozen things I don’t need because 1 – I don’t pay that much attention when I tell them yes about something, and 2 – I have four small kids and I’ll pretty much do whatever to get through the store with them without ending up on the evening news for losing my sanity in public. It’s a bad habit, I know. However, I think the little cookies they give for free at the bakery are gross, so I let my kids buy the big ones with the M&Ms in them. I think that water fountains are disgusting and if I forget their cups or drinks, I’ll get them bottles of water…if we all learn to say no, we can make some serious savings happen.
Mow your own lawn
I know, I know; says the woman who pays someone $45 per week to mow her lawn (but really, that’s so cheap for almost an acre and-a-half, right?!). It just goes to show that savings is not always putting money away so much as it’s just spending less of it. I mean if you can mow your own lawn, you could save hundreds of dollars every month, and thousands every year.
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