Here at The Financial Gym, we are all about making small changes that won’t impact your day-to-day life too much, but will impact your budget (for the better!). Many of these changes have positive effects outside of their impact on you. Shopping locally leads to stimulating small businesses, and in turn your neighbors in your area instead of larger corporations. Below are a list of six things that we think you can easily cut back on (or cut out!) for a month (or more!) that will substantially lower expenses, without too much of a lifestyle change.
Third-Party Delivery Services
Uber Eats, GrubHub, Seamless, you name it– these services have made ordering takeout so simple and convenient, two things that are sometimes necessary– and we won’t discredit that! We will mention that the convenience of services like these might entice you to order more frequently than you would if the process was, say, more ‘cumbersome.’ We challenge you to cut use of apps like this for one month! And this doesn’t mean no takeout, it just means planning out where you are going to order from and taking the time to call that restaurant individually to place your order. It’s better for the restaurant and the local economy, and will likely be better for your wallet when you’re ordering less out of pure convenience!
Similar to delivery services, Amazon preys on their ability to provide you with one thing: convenience. Now we know that probably *everyone* reading this has made an impulse purchase on Amazon, not because they really needed the item but because they just randomly decided that they wanted it. So we challenge you: cut back on Amazon for a month. Just see how it changes your lifestyle. You will likely shop more locally and thoughtfully for things that you might have just thrown in an Amazon cart. You will probably buy less, because again, it’s a bit less convenient (can you see a theme here?)! You may even like this change so much that you last longer than a month– we’ll leave that up to you!
If we take a step away from Amazon, and generalize the category to online shopping, we are met with an even bigger challenge: to cut back or entirely eliminate all online shopping for a month. Here at The Gym, we firmly believe in shopping locally. This not only stimulates your local economy (which we can guarantee benefits you directly!), but it also significantly lowers your carbon footprint when goods don’t have to be packaged and shipped to your location. So use this as an opportunity to explore your local shops! Find that new skincare product you *need* at a store in your town, or new earrings for cousin Sam’s wedding at that boutique you’ve been wanting to check out in the town over. You might have fun discovering new places, and you’ll once again probably spend less when you’re shopping thoughtfully for things you need, versus impulsively buying new tie-dye sweats on Instagram (we’ve been there, too!).
We are a personal finance company, we love a good sale– but not *always*. Here’s the catch: sales are great– when you actually need the item. Sales are not great when you buy the item anyway because “it’s on sale”. There’s a major difference between taking advantage of a sale on an item that you have been eyeing for months or the “3 for $5” type sales at the grocery store and buying new clothes just because “it was a good deal”. If you cut out buying sale items that you do not need for a month, (to be clear chickpeas on sale at the grocery store are still allowed!) we pretty much guarantee you’ll have more room in your budget and more space in your closet (or house!) for things you actually want.
You’re probably sick of hearing about dry January, and this is in no way telling you to completely stop drinking– that’s a choice for you to make. We love moderation here at The Gym and we also love empowering you to make choices that are right for you. What we can say is that alcohol is expensive. Cutting back on it will save you a pretty penny and it might give you a chance to splurge more on one fancier bottle of wine a week, rather than stocking up on a bunch of cheap bottles to make it through the whole week.
Last but certainly not least, subscriptions. Many of us have them, many of us love them. But have you ever tried a month without them? Most companies will give you the option to hit pause for a month (or a couple of months). Take advantage of this, try it out! If you really miss it, then you know that you value the product and re-subscribe the following month (it’s likely already planned into your budget!) If you don’t miss it, then it may be time to cancel it– you can always return if things change and you need that product again!
6 Things to Cut Back on for a Month That Won’t Change Your Lifestyle is written by The Financial Gym Team for financialgym.com