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Restoring Healthy Money Habits: just a few ways I spend less

I’m working on some amazing plant-based recipes to share with you all! Some super simple things you can throw together and be on your way, and also some delicious, warm, flavorful recipes to compliment this gorgeous fall weather we are enjoying! This week, the grocery budget has been spent, so here’s to creative meal planning! Stay tuned! I’m also running low on bananas (panic!). I’ve frozen some, so we will enjoy a couple of days of delicious banana ice cream. Can’t wait.

We had a big job change this summer, for both my husband and I, and life took a totally different turn than we ever would have expected! We still have some shell shock I think. But it’s going to be great. Still, job changes have a way of draining your emotional tank and your financial tank!

Living on little is no big change for us. It’s  just a matter of how “little” little is, for that month. And this is most of us, unfortunately! The biggest thing we all NEED to remember is that we are not alone! Not that we should all worry about how little we have and go around sharing that, but honestly, we all need to be honest and encourage one another to optimize what we have and live well enough within our means! A huge percentage of us in this world live paycheck to paycheck. We know that. And it’s important for us all to have goals as to how we will work our way out of that slowly but surely, but in the moment, what can we do to more than just survive?

There are TONS of blog posts out there about this. Trust me, I’ve looked at most of them. Many of them fabulous. Mine is nothing special or extraordinarily unique, but yet another perspective I hope you can find inspiration in, if you find yourself in this situation. Here are some fun things I did this summer to make not spending money slightly more enjoyable…

  • Surrounding myself with a couple people in the same boat as me. This was so helpful. When I get overwhelmed by our circumstances, I ask God to put someone in front of me who might be in the same position. Without fail, I’ll talk to a friend or meet someone new who is having a similar struggle. I love this! It helps get me out of my own head and focusing on what’s important – the teamwork of life! Helping one another!
  • I create challenges or goals for myself to put an optimistic spin on things. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very easy to feel down if you’re having financial troubles, especially when they carry on for some time. But one way I spunk up the process is creating zero spending weeks. How creative can I get with what I have? Some days sure it feels great to grab a latte on the go when I’m feeling less than optimal. But I don’t NEED that latte. So I make it a fun challenge to see how long I can go on what I already have.
  • Speaking of coffee, I gave it up. Now goodness gracious I’d never say that you’d have to give up coffee to live frugally. But when I eliminated my “need” for a hot cup of coffee (because if I didn’t have it I’d get a monster of headache and a slug of fatigue to the face) I was freed up from having to buy it for the home (and the non dairy creamer to go with it! $$!) And now when I have the means to grab a cup of my beloved hot beverage on the go, it’s with a friend, or for a good reason, and I can truly enjoy it.
  • I learned how to shop overstock grocery stores. Odds are, your area has some kind of resource like this. Overflow groceries from larger stores come there when they’re close to expiration but still perfectly good. Discover resources in your area! I’m there are some. Groceries can be (and should be) a large expense because we need to be mindful to eat healthy food that will nourish our body. But do what you can!
  • I used this as a time to discover my true self. This is my favorite tip! It’s true, even my decision to stop eating animal products came out of simply making conscious decisions about everything I do in life, in a goal of living better within the means we’ve been given. I do so many less things on a whim, and feel like my life is so much richer as I make conscious decisions every day to live fuller, make an impact on people, especially those closest to me, and live with freedom. A friend inspired me to go on a “no spending spree” when she told me about hers. I loved it, and felt so empowered. Give it a try! Try not wearing makeup for a while (and thus not using it up!) and I bet you’ll begin to feel more beautiful. Don’t head out to buy a new shirt when you’re having a down day. Don’t even think about it. Discover a new outfit combo in your closet you already have! Focus on your beauty on the inside instead!
  • I found a financial guru I could identify with. Some of the bigger names out there are great, but I felt like I couldn’t identify with them very well. The one I identify with has some fantastic resources on budgeting, especially for when your needs exceed your means. Lauren Greutman is my guru of choice, check our her awesome resources at her website here. My favorite quote of hers is a reminder to “stay within the fence”. She says that when referring to building your budget and knowing what ‘staying within your means’ looks like for you and your family, because that looks different from family to family.
  • Find NEW ways to be generous. My husband and I love to be generous, but we rarely feel like we can be because we are often financially limited. So we have found creative ways to be generous with our TIME! A wonderful resource that we have, and have a responsibility to use wisely, just like money.
  • The obvious –  find ways to make extra cash. If it’s possible, definitely don’t be afraid to make temporary sacrifices to achieve your goals.

I could go on and on with this list, lots of day to day living tips I put into place this summer to help us live deeper within our means! Really, I this post could be very very long. I’ve found ways to make spending less very practical and fun, and I feel like I’ve tried a million things and am finding what works. But I’m constantly getting more ideas, so I’m sure there will be plenty of more posts on this in the future, if you like them and want to see more, make sure you let me know!  For now, these are the big tips that help me power through and give me motivation to do all the other little money saving things even better.

Do you have tips for spending less and living within your means that have totally helped you and changed your life for the better? Comment below!

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