As a teacher, I know my income will never reach the stars based on my career alone. I am trying to build up my “brand” in order to eventually supplement my teacher salary. Spending less money is therefore really important to me. Here are 10 ways I spend less money than I used to:
1. Invest money in stock market
You obviously want to do research but I say start with money you are willing to see decrease (try $5-10 if you have next to no money) while you learn and get your feet wet. I would start with something like VOO which is an ETF that follows the S&P 500 (you own a lot of top, stable stocks at once this way). I would not start with individual stocks due to the increased risk and would learn how to research companies before doing so. Investing is so addictive though and I love that I see it as entertainment (like getting a high score) and it is making me money instead of spending it on something random.
2. Overnight oats
I pour milk (use any kind) over a mason jar half filled with old fashioned oats (sometimes mixed with more expensive barley flakes) until the milk barely covers the oats. The next day I can fill the rest of the jar with shaved almonds, pecan pieces, dried cherries, and a little granola for sweetening. I eat this most days at work; it is cheap, filling, barely takes any prep time, healthy, and I love it.
3. Shop at Aldi
Aldi should sponsor me because I feel like they are the only company who has truly helped me. Their prices are super cheap. Their produce game is a little weak but I have a farmers market walkable from my house. I was thinking Lidl could be a great alternative but their prices are not as good so therefore they are not as useful for me.
4. Make my own mead
Mead is not always cheaper to make yourself, but it can be. My recipe for Jekka’s Harvest Mead is cheaper that cheap store-bought beer because I use cheap Aldi spices and it comes out great. I am currently experimenting with variants of this recipe to have a rotating cast of cheap but delicious meads. More recipes to come.
5. Make my own cold brew
I make cold brew out of Café Bustelo and one brick lasts all week for both me and my fiancé. I could go even cheaper but I like the taste of Café Bustelo for how cheap it is.
6. Caffeine pills
I do not drink caffeine much right now (I stopped drinking daily coffee due to anxiety) but I am still a huge advocate for caffeine pills. Jet Alert is found in Walmart and Amazon for super cheap (though if you have a local store that carries any caffeine pills, it will still be much cheaper than coffee). These are great time and money savers and can be kept in your car etc. for if you need caffeine but do not want to stop. No matter what your source of caffeine, the US National Library of Medicine recommends no more than 400mg of daily caffeine to keep your heart safe and healthy. I usually break the 200mg pills in half and take 100mg with 200mg of l-theanine (a cheap yet effective amino acid found in tea. Research it; it is amazing stuff) to balance any caffeine induced anxiety.
7. Thrift store shopping
I have to convince myself that even if I don’t find any good clothes during a trip to the thrift store, it doesn’t mean its a waste of my time. When I find gems it saves me so much money and is much better for the environment. I wish there were more environmentally focused thrift stores with ethics that I can get behind. Would love suggestions on this point!
8. Walking, hiking, and camping
Walking is free. Entry to Smokey Mountain National Park is free (camping is not). I try to get my 10,000 steps in a day because I’m officially old which is free and keeps me healthy (less medical expenses). Being outside it where we were designed to be and seeing organisms, minerals, and soil is good for our minds. You don’t need to go out and buy a bunch of great gear to start out. I have been rocking the same $50-60 Walmart tent for 5ish years. I have camped in the car for music festivals. Use what you have and only buy what you need. Might be good to buy some solid pieces of gear once you do it enough. Try to find used gear too.
It helps me buy less things because when i go through phases of being really into meditation i am not spending money on anything (its free). I need to buy less things to be better for myself and the environment and meditation makes this easier.