I was laid off in the beginning of the recession and was unemployed for a year. Man, that was tough; all of that free time I’d been craving for and finally got but no money to spend the time on. The irony was killing me…
Anyway, when we were in college we picked up some tips and tricks on how to get by on very little (we also picked up a coffee addiction, liberalism, and a nudist friend). Since we were only about a year or so out of college, out of habit, we were still living like we were on college.
Even our nudist friend was still around…
I’d like to think that those habits helped us weather the storm such that we were not off track on our savings goal too much, even with only one income.
- No cell phone plan. Jill has not had a cellphone plan for years. Data plan costs about $80/mo and it adds up really quick.
- Get a Google Voice account to save on phone bill even more. With a Google Voice account you can make free VoIP calls, send and receive SMS’s for free. Landline? What is that?
- Have only one car. Having one car is headache enough. Living close to both of our works allow us to carpool every day. You end up saving on car maintenance and car insurance.
- Don’t have cable TV. With Neflix, Hulu, and all popular TV shows available online…why would anyone?
- Avoid the malls at all cost. You can’t avoid to NOT spend money at a mall. Unless you’re a super person with uber awesome self-control. But I’m just a mortal.
- Don’t buy clothes/shoes until your friends and relatives start donating their old clothes. Then you have all of these free clothes/shoes. Score!
- Bring own lunch. Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard this hundreds of times before, but if I tell you that it’ll save you about $2200/year would you start doing it? I did. I know what some of you who know me are saying, “But Jill, you wouldn’t know what to do with a kitchen!” Ah ha! Trader Joe’s comes to the rescue. Those Indian meals that come in microwavable pouches? $1.99!
- Volunteer. It helps to fill your free time wisely (see item #5).
- Buy used stuff. Or borrow (check out NeighborGoods). I’m a big fan of Craigslist. We don’t buy a lot of stuff. And when we do, they’re usually technical stuff that we shouldn’t buy used anyway (like climbing gear). But for furniture, household stuff, and other junks… Craigslist is the way to go.
- Foster, don’t own, animals. This is for the animal lovers out there. Rescue organizers almost always cover medical expenses. Some would even include supplies. So you’ll end up with a bundle of fur to love and cuddle with minus the vet expenses or food bills. But if you do decide to get an animal, know beforehand who’s going to take care of it while you’re away on your round-the-world trip. Don’t even consider giving them up to a shelter or I will hunt you down myself.
Here are some other sites that would help you get started saving for your dream trip (or for that dream car, or whatever):
- From Zen Habit: How I Save Money
- More from Zen Habit: The Cheapskate Guide-50 Tips For Frugal Living
- From collegescholarships: 118 Ways to Save Money in College
So, the nudist friend moved back to our college town, and we started drinking better coffee… can’t really say we still live like we were in college. But I think that’s a good goal for us to have.
In the meanwhile, having said all that, I have a wedding to go to in December. Anyone got a pair of shoes I can borrow?