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Frugal Lifestyle: Yearly Savings Experiment

Updated on July 21, 2011

Needs VS Wants

In January my New Year's Resolution was to "live in my truth". How do I have such a good income, but not have much fun, or money left at the end of the month?! I was current on all my bills, but at the end of every month I had only saved a few hundred dollars.

I decided to take a good look at my money, to see how much I could cut out of my budget, just for one year!

The first thing I did was, list my needs and my wants and quickly re-adjust my 50/30/20 budget (50% needs, 30% wants and 20% savings). I soon found out I had way too many wants that I classified as needs.

1. Cable/Satellite TV - of course this was a NEED right? I wish! In all my years of working and being on my own, I always had TV or cable with lots of stations. How could I live without it? But I called my company and cancelled the service. (To keep myself from totally going through withdrawals, I decided to keep my Netflix subscription since it is inexpensive.) Monthly TV expense $71.87 or $862.44 SAVED THIS YEAR

2. Gym Membership - how many times did I actually make it to the gym during the week, only about 3 times. I am lucky enough to have a nice hiking trail near my house, and I can do my work out DVD’s anytime. Monthly expense $35.67 or$428.04 SAVED THIS YEAR

3. Auto Insurance - I moved an extra $250 into my savings so I could change my deductible from $250 to $500. This changed my monthly premium from $182 to $138 or $528 SAVED THIS YEAR

4. Cell Phone Plan - these days, everyone I know uses email or text messaging over actually talking on the phone. So I changed my current phone plan to the minimum amount, saving me $15 a month or $180 SAVED THIS YEAR

5. Fast Food - I didn't want to give up too much of my entertainment/eating out budget, but I figured cutting my fast food budget would be a good idea. Especially for my waistline (and hips, and butt). I decreased my spending by $40 a month or $480 SAVED THIS YEAR

6. Checking Account - I opened a new checking account, with a non-bank called Perkstreet. It is now giving me 2% cash back on all my debit card purchases. And it doesn't charge me a monthly fee or require a minimum balance. Including my $20 monthly maintenance fee, this is about $540 SAVED THIS YEAR

Total Yearly Savings - $3,018.48

Source

It's Not That Bad

Once I made my mind up and just "ripped the band-aid off", it wasn't as difficult as I first thought. I found I can easily live without all those TV channels, and I don't miss any of my shows since I use online video streaming. I even enjoy spending time outside working out, and meeting up with friends to do activities outdoors.

I've also lost about 10 pounds, just by cutting out fast food and not ordering sodas with my meals. It's amazing to see how much confidence I started having, once I had my money completely under control.

I started wanting to save in other areas! Like going out and watching movies at the theater, I waited to rent them from Netflix or stream online. I started cooking more at home and found that I really enjoyed it. This helped me save money on going out to restaurants.

Some areas of my budget I felt were worth keeping, so I spoil myself in those areas, then stay disciplined in other areas. It's just all about balance and what you are willing to give up. Having a goal in mind (for me it's to own my car) really helps to keep you motivated.

All in all I have been very happy with my decision, to stand in my money truth. With my savings I've been able to put extra on my car loan, and hope to have it paid off by the end of the year.

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    • applecsmith profile image
      Author

      Carrie Smith 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you for the comment Kyle. I agree with you about being a real person with real money saving ideas, and sharing with everyone else. I have tons of ideas, and ways I apply frugality to my lifestyle.

      I'm glad you enjoyed reading this hub.

    • profile image

      Kyle Psaty 6 years ago

      applecsmith,

      This is a great post. It's really the kind of personal treatise that resonates with PF readers, IMHO. Why? Because it's about you (a real person) and your money (also real), but it has greater lessons about how people can think about their money. It goes a long way to teach the "wants vs. needs" strategy we love touting on the PerkStreet Blog. Plus it's punchy, and un-boring. Great work on this one, all around.

      -Kyle

    • profile image

      UrsulaRose 6 years ago

      Good for you applecsmith!

      Thanks for writing an inspiring Hub Article - give yourself a big pat on the back for fulfilling this goal/resolution.

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