Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix has us all talking about simplifying our lives by decluttering our spaces. It makes so much sense…why have so much emotional, physical or even financial energy wrapped up in objects that, as Marie repeats, “don’t give us joy”? The message resonated with me and at the beginning of the year, I went on a rampage to declutter my work space, as well as books I had no intention of reading or rereading, closets and I even decluttered my laptop. But I do not claim to be a minimalist! My lifestyle leans more towards essentialist and it has been this way ever since I made the decision to quit my government job almost 12 years ago, return full-time to university to finish my B.A. Honours in English and begin a writing career as a blogger and freelance writer.
With a reduced income as a student and then as a blogger, I was forced to change my financial habits so that my expenditures were in line with my new reduced income. I eliminated several extras from my life including my fitness club membership, my Holt Renfrew wardrobe and my King West condo. I have become much more cognizant of the items that I purchase with my hard earned money, making sure they are on my “need” list and not my “want” list. I am also able to save money in other ways.
Here are six things I never pay for:
My cable account bit the dust several years ago. It did not make sense to pay upwards of $50 per month towards cable TV channels that I rarely watched. In lieu of cable, I have a digital antenna plugged into my TV that picks up all of the local channels and one or two of the American channels. The digital antenna cost me about $35. I no longer miss the other channels I used to receive and the upside is I probably don’t watch as much TV as I did before.
I don’t drink alcohol. I used to when I was younger, but then I developed a low tolerance to it, which I interpreted as a sign that alcohol was not good for my body. If I meet friends for dinner, I save lots of money on my bill since cocktails and wine cost anywhere from $10-$20 a glass. Although I’ve included alcohol on my list of things I never pay for, I always have wine and beer available at home for family or friends who drop in.
Since trading in my corporate wardrobe of Franco Sarto heels and Banana Republic suits for my blogging attire of leggings and flats, I don’t have to take my clothes to the dry cleaners every week. In fact, I haven’t taken clothes to a dry cleaner in years and I have to admit, I was stunned when I saw the current costs of dry cleaning. I am careful to buy clothes that can be either machine-washed or hand-washed. This is a big money saver for me!
I used to take taxis when I was younger, but I have a car now so I either take the TTC or drive. Taxi fare is another item that can take a chunk out of your budget. It’s true that parking costs are not cheap either, but if I’m driving, I always compare parking rates ahead of time and park at the cheapest lot.
Food Delivery Apps
Yes, I know it’s super convenient to order dinner from your favourite restaurant on a food delivery app, but these apps charge expensive admin and delivery fees and the restaurants that are featured on the apps have to increase the cost of their meals in order to make any kind of profit. So a meal that you could pick up at a restaurant for $12-$13 all of a sudden becomes $25 if you order it via a food delivery app. That’s a quick way to watch your money disappear down the drain. I also don’t use grocery delivery apps because not only are you paying an admin fee and tip, but the grocery product prices are marked up significantly from the prices you would pay in store.
I no longer drink coffee, but I used to drink it when I worked in an office…sometimes up to three cups a day! I usually had a cup or two first thing in the morning at home, and then I would buy a coffee at work. These daily cups of coffee can add up. Even if you’re not buying a Starbucks Iced Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha, a large coffee will set you back $2. That’s about $45 a month and $550 a year…money that you could put towards a vacation! I do drink herbal tea, but I make it at home.
Those are the six things I never pay for and I am happy to say that I have saved a lot as a result of this decision. Are you following a minimalist or essentialist lifestyle? What items are you no longer buying?