While this sounds a little dullsville…it’s actually not. I actually forced myself to NOT spend money today. Here are some things I did that actually just goes right along with my lifestyle.
1. Brought My Meals To Work. On Sunday, I decided to cook…and I cooked up a lot of meals. I roasted a ham I picked up from Target on Saturday, and made my favorite vegetarian tortilla soup. Mashed potatoes? Why, yes, I did. Green split pea soup? Why not. I decided to just make all of my meals, including prepping all of my smoothies to take to the office. This is a savings between $5-$15 per day.
The last time I got a ham, I didn’t know how I would get through all of it. Lesson learned…FREEZE the ham. That means I don’t have to have ham in every single meal for the next month! Freezing it means I can have ham for the next 3 months.
I threw in ham into my pasta salad for work today, threw all the fatty, juicy bits into the split pea soup. I put the vegetarian tortilla soup, as well as the leftover gravy and fruit used to sweeten the ham, into canning jars. The gravy came in handy for the mashed potatoes! It will also come in handy for other recipes I create this week.
Sometimes I forget just how much I enjoy cooking and creating recipes (or even stirring up one from the 1950s like the country baked ham recipe I did over the weekend). I get lazy and just order out all of the time. Now, I’m just trying to make sure I don’t do that as much anymore.
[BONUS: Happiness factor in doing something I enjoy doing.]
2. Earned Miles. Nope, you don’t always have to board a plane to earn miles. Just by spending 5 minutes a week taking little surveys, I earn 5 miles per survey at www.e-miles.com. Today, I deposited 500 miles into my United Airlines frequent flyer account. Trust me, the miles add up rather quickly. I am usually able to take a free flight once a year with all of the miles I build up. Cost to me…just 5 minutes of my time to earn FREE miles. You can sign-up for FREE at e-miles to start earning miles. Each survey earns you 5 miles.
Sometimes, I’ll up the miles by donating to a charity they list. It’ll boost my miles by 250-1000 miles. It’s cheaper than flying to get those miles.
[BONUS: Get to spend fraction of my time to earn miles towards free travel.]
3. Got 2 magazine subscriptions. I got two free 1-year magazine subscriptions today for Martha Stewart Living and her clean living magazine called WHOLE LIVING. How did I do it? I cashed in some rewards points from RecycleBank.
Like e-miles, you can earn reward points for learning how you can become more eco-friendly. It takes maybe 5-15 minutes of your time a week to take a few surveys. You can earn reward points to use towards coupons or even magazine subscriptions.
[BONUS: Get free stuff I like for a few minutes of my time a week.]
3. Opened Up A Money Market Account. This is something I should have done a long time ago…open up a money market account.
After filing my taxes last week, I have been trying to figure out how to use the refund wisely. I was starting to get nervous as I looked at my bills, the cost for plane tickets to Venice, Italy, and the cost of my trip to Morocco. It’s enough to make me faint! And then I just opened up a money market account and all of the stress went away.
I’m dumping the majority of the refund (minus a few bills and plane tix) into the account and then I’m just going to start investing the money. Sure, this may be high risk for some, but not if you invest the way that I do. I’ve had a lot of good luck investing over the years. If a guy on Wall Street laughs at my stock decision…I know to invest, because then my portfolio comes out at 300%+ in returns. It happens every single time.
[BONUS: Ease of money worries, because I’m making more money off of my money.]
4. Did My Research. Before I even opened up my money market account, I was reading Zero Passive Income. I always find his blog to be very inspiring. He thinks like a go-getter who is working on his wealth…and you know what? He’s just an average guy just like you and me. He’s found ways to build his wealth.
Things don’t happen overnight when it comes to making your millions. It’s a slow and steady climb…and he shows us how he’s doing it. There are setbacks and bad investments…then there are the investments that earn nothing at first, but then slowly begins to build.
You start to learn about residual income and how you can make a little extra money each month through things like AdSense.
Just recently, he’s explained how a couple of internet sites allow you to loan money to people all over the world for only $25. These loans allow needy business owners to help build their businesses. [See Kiva.org] This not-for-profit is working towards eradicating poverty all over the world by helping people with small business loans funded by people like you and me.
What is it that Russell Simmons says all of the time? Help others grow their wealth, and your wealth will also grow.
One of my favorite things about his site? The spiritual lessons he shares…those are great lessons to live by. One of his most recent lessons was about giving…and being grateful that you actually have something to give and share with the world (and not think how giving will cost you).
[BONUS: Knowledge is power. Learn something new every day about the things that are important to you…and always read at least 1 or 2 things that will empower your soul. Knowledge is PRICELESS.]
5. Read a book. Oh, this one is probably the most important one. My friend and I have a little bit of an addiction to young adult books. If we actually bought every single book we read…we’d be out by about $500-$1000. That’s how much we read all of these different book series.
Thank goodness for interlibrary loan! If my library doesn’t have the next FableHaven, then another library in the county will have it. All I have to do is order it online with my library card. My library emails me when it arrives and I have a free book to read.
My library also serves as my DVD rental place too. I can get the latest DVD (barring no one has it checked out) for free. Gone are the days of Netflix, Blockbuster and every other DVD rental place that charges you money to borrow their DVDs.
[BONUS: Why pay for something I can get for free elsewhere?]
6. Still Did Not Join a Gym. 🙂 Ok…really, I have a legitimate doctor’s excuse that I’m not allowed to join a gym. But just because I have an excuse, doesn’t mean that I listen to the doctors all of the time…I just take it easy.
Thanks to one of my bosses who is friends with Rodney Yee (owner of Gaiam), Rodney gave me a free copy of my favorite Yoga Abs video (it was renamed when they put it on DVD and I didn’t know which one it was. Rodney knew so he dug through and found it for me and gave it to me as a gift). That DVD is a godsend! I use it in the morning and it alleviates all of the pain in my back (plus, it makes my abs hurt like a sonofabitch for the next three days).
I found that my library also has a lot of workout videos that I can checkout…BUT the best way to get out of ever joining a gym? Running. It’s free. You just need a good pair of running shoes which you will have to buy a new pair after every 500 miles (or 6 months).
Weights? Do situps and push-ups.
You get the basics in yoga, pilates and tai chi down…you can do them at home for free for flexibility and core training. You don’t always need a machine to workout.
[BONUS: Working out for free equals a healthier life and no extra bill to pay…more money to use elsewhere.]
7. I Cleaned Out My Closet. You won’t even be able to believe how much space I’ve got in my closet now! I did the first run through last night and this morning. It’s now divided up into two groups…stuff to be resold and the stuff going to charity.
It’s actually nice to declutter my closet and get all of those super heavy sweaters out of there. I was running out of room! It was actually a great way to reassess the person I want to be going into the spring/summer months and the stuff I’m ready to let go of.
This is where the spiritual lesson of the day comes in…my meditation mantras right now are: To Heal and To Change. Those are the two mantras I keep repeating to myself. The discussion at the time was at a much higher level on what they both meant…but at a more physical level, it means a lot. They are the building blocks to approaching all walks of life.
From broken hearts to trying to understand why things are the way that they are in every spectrum…as long as I focus on healing what is wrong…the next step is to change myself for the better…to learn from each and every thing that I feel is hurting me.
That’s the point of this whole post…not spending money. Each aspect focuses on things about me that I needed to heal and to change. In the first item, it was about not being lazy and focusing on doing something I know I love doing…cooking. How soon I can forget that I can make the most amazing meals that is good for my body (and I know what’s going into it). Healing my body means making the extra effort to take care of myself…and save money by not spending close to $1000 a month in dining out, but by curbing my spending and doing something I love even more…nurturing me by doing something I love to do. It’s food for the soul.
In the second item, I love to travel. I have a lot of trips coming up and hate spending money on plane tickets to places I’d rather not go. Building up miles actually helps relieve that stress involved with booking airline tickets to a place I have to go to (and can’t stand)…just by building up miles to pay for the damn thing. The point is…it’s less stress on my psyche.
The third item was doing something smart with my finances. I’ve put off doing this simple little task for years. I finally made myself do something good for my finances. It heals an aspect that I always disliked about how I managed my account. This created change in my financial house of cards.
In the fourth item, I got inspiration that what I was doing in the third item was the wise step. It gave me good tidbits for the soul when it comes to money…and that’s something I was sorely lacking. It healed that aspect of conflict in my soul when it came to money…and it will help lead the way in my next venture with money. It’s a lesson to be learned when I keep hearing in my head that I need to give 40% of my earnings back to the world. That is real sacrifice…but I should be thankful that I have something like that to give to the world…it’s not a sacrifice, it’s a gift.
In the fifth item, it is a constant reminder that I do have flaws in my life…entertainment being one of them (I am an American, after all). I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t have to pay to be entertained. I can just pick up a book and read. I have a massive library at home that is starting to rival my own public library. If I want something new…I can get it for free. If I didn’t monitor spending in this category, I would end up spending a good $500 every month on entertainment (DVDs, books, going out, etc.). I can get this stuff for free! To heal this flaw is to change the mindset to think constantly…never pay for something that you can get for free.
In the sixth item, it’s a reminder that I have all of the tools to workout…so I should. I know my limitations. Practice makes perfect…and healing the body takes time. It’s a slow and steady practice that will one day heal the soul. It takes change within the mind to make a consistent effort to workout…even when the doctor is saying…”No, not this month…we’ll try again next month.” Sometimes it just takes one slow step into change in order to finally get back on track.
In the last item…it’s all about changing the way I live. Emptying out the closets is actually the first step in my remodel. It’s about decluttering my life. It all starts with what’s around you and getting rid of it. You don’t need it. You don’t need to hold onto it, because it’s not making you any happier.
I have a lot of new home decorating things coming in…but it’s to change the way things look around me…to give it a fresher and crisper look…but if I see clutter or too much stuff…I am starting to think…it’s just too much. That’s why I’m not spending money. I’m focusing on what I’d rather be spending my money on…like a fabulous trip to Italy and Morocco for my birthday.
I’d rather spend more money on the experience than shopping. I requested that little to no shopping take place in Morocco. I’m just happy having my camera with me. Those are my souveniers when I travel.
Sometimes you just have to keep going and going and going until your gut splits before you’ll stop. That’s what’s happened to me and shopping. I don’t want to spend anymore money on things I don’t need (or that horrible moment when you pull something out of your closet and realized you didn’t know you owned it).
This is how I’m healing…and then I’m changing. The first step is always looking to see what needs to be healed. After you heal, that is when you change.
Changing the world and healing it…it all begins with yourself.