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Lifestyle Changes To Make To Reach Your Savings Goals

More and more I’ve been having conversations with people about personal finances, budgeting, saving money and making large purchases. Many of those conversations seem to start when they find out I bought a house by myself and I have no debt outside of my house. When people find out those facts about me their curiosity is piqued and they tend to have a lot of questions.

The two most frequent questions I get are
  • How did you save enough money for a down payment?
  • How do you not have any debt besides your mortgage?

Lifestyle Changes to Make to Reach Your Savings Goals | arelaxedgal.com

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Up until now, my answer to those questions has been listing the different tips and tricks I used.

What I soon realized is it wasn’t various tips or tricks that allowed me to reach my savings goals and buy a house. It was the saving lifestyle I live.

Everything I do and decisions I make are filtered through the lens of achieving specific financial goals. While this may mean sacrificing in some areas it allows me the freedom to spend in the areas that are important to me.

Here's what a saving lifestyle looks like.

Be a DIYer

Doing your own yard work

I grew up in a household where we took care of the yard and didn’t pay someone else to do it unless it was something the family couldn’t handle. My father, brother and I cut the grass, my mom weeded flower beds and we all rakes leaves.

Now that I own my own home I’m doing the same thing my parents did. I’m cutting the grass myself and weeding my flower beds. To have someone take care of my lawn could cost me anywhere from $25 - $50 a week and in Florida you need to cut your grass about nine months out of the year and almost every week in the summer.

A good lawn mower can cost anywhere from $300 - $400. The one I bought is the Toro 22 in. Recycler SmartStow High Wheel Variable Speed Walk Behind Gas Self Propelled Mower and it cost $329. So by taking care of my own lawn, after the first year of owning my lawn mower, I’m saving anywhere from $600 - $1200 a year!

Action item: Determine how much you spend in lawn care throughout the year. Then deduct that from the cost of a lawn mower. How much would you save in a year?


Cooking more at home

I admit that I like delicious quality food. I like it even better when someone makes it for me. What I don’t like is paying for it. If I eat out every week I’d definitely be in debt.

So I’ve found ways to have delicious quality food without having to pay restaurant prices. One way I do that is using Blue Apron. With Blue Apron I get ingredients sent to me every week. With these ingredients, I can make six meals that my coworkers envy for about $10 per meal.

I use these meals for my lunches during the workweek. This saves me money by not having to order food for lunch each day. Blue Apron also saves me time and money when it comes to having to plan out my work lunches each week.

For the rest of my meals during the week I’m eating simple, cheap meals like salads and casseroles.


Action item: Try meal planning and cooking your meals for a week to see how much you save vs. eating out.


Cook more at home to save money | arelaxedgal.com

Doing your own home repairs

When you rent it’s really easy to get things fixed. You just call the rental office and they send someone. When you own a home it’s all you. Unless you call a repair company and that cost adds up the more and more you use them.

So I’ve gotten into the habit to see if I can fix it myself. If it’s something simple I usually can. But for bigger things like a broken air conditioner, or backed up plumbing, I call someone.

Action item: Make a list of all the repairs you need to do around the house. Then divide the list between what you can do yourself and what requires a repairman.


Cutting back on or cutting out unnecessaries

Using streaming services

I was one of the few kids in the U.S. who grew up without cable TV. My parents decided that cable TV was too expensive and decided to rely on the bunny ear antenna and eventually a large antenna attached to the outside of the house.

When I went to college I re-entered the world of cable TV and was able to experience what I’d been missing. I was soon hooked and when I graduated college, moved out of my parent’s house and got my own place I paid for cable TV. I did this for several years.

I soon realized that my parents may have been onto something all those years ago. I was wasting my money on TV. The channels I was watching the most were the ones I could get for free over an antenna.

After a few years, I cut the cable off. This was right around the time live streaming of TV was beginning to emerge. With the option of live streaming, I’m able to get access all of the cable channels I like to watch, but I can turn the service on and off whenever I want to.

My favorite streaming service is Hulu because I have access to most of the TV shows I like to watch, I can access movies and do some serious binge watching.

So If I need to save a bit of money, the season has ended for the shows I watch or I know I won’t have time to watch TV I can put the service on pause.

Action item: Examine your cable bill. Try calling the cable company to see if they can lower your bill. If not, calculate how much you could save by using a streaming service instead.



Visiting the salon less often

I admit, going to the salon is nice. I like having someone else take care of my hair and nails sometimes.

While I like it, I don’t go often. I go to the hair salon every 12+ weeks. And I probably get my nails done once a year max for a special occasion, and sometimes I don’t even pay because someone is treating me to mani or pedi.

I can save a bit of money doing my own pedicures. Especially when the cost of gas to and from the salon is factored in.

Action item: Have a pamper day every now and do your own manicure and pedicure.





Minimize utility waste 

Not using the dryer as much

I air dry some of my laundry loads. This cuts down on the amount of time I use the dryer thereby cutting down on my energy usage. I was able to get a good dryer rack for $10.

An additional benefit to not using the dryer is it helps to extend the life of my clothes so I don’t need to replace them as often.

Using only the utilities you need

Water and electric bills can take a big bite out of my budget. Some of the ways I keep these costs down are

Take shorter showers: This helps me use less water. I may also use less electricity because less energy is being used to heat the water and for the lights in the bathroom.

Turn off lights when leaving a room: My motto is "only use the electricity I need." So I turn off lights when I leave the room and try to not have multiple lights on in a single room at one time.

Close doors: I keep doors closet doors closed so energy isn’t wasted to heat or cool those spaces.

Action items: Try only turning lights on when absolutely necessary. Time yourself when taking a shower and see how much time you can shave off.



Never pay full price

I don’t like to pay full price for anything - food, clothes, hair care products,. Anything. To keep from paying full price I shop at yard sales and thrift stores for certain items like furniture and other household goods.

I also shop sales for things like food, hair and beauty products. I also look for opportunities to stack coupons on top of the sales price.

My favorite places to find coupons are Coupons.com and the Ibotta app.

To make sure I’m saving money by shopping sales is to only buy things I need or can afford. Otherwise, I’m not saving a dime.

Action item: Download the Ibotta app and sign up before your next trip to the grocery store.


What are some other lifestyle changes that can save you money?



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