Recently I had a chance to reflect on life over the past year. It has been a great year for me in my personal life (just a hint, but I met someone lovely), and it’s also been a good year for me financially. I was able to get a better job and weather the economic crisis with a good chunk of savings. Here are some of the things that I did that made a difference to my bottom line.
1. I bought a condo that was affordable. Instead of being tempted to buy a larger 1bdrm apt that was over my budget I settled on my bachelor apt. Yes, it`s small, but so are my mortgage payments. Besides, I know I won`t be here forever, and I`ve been able to save a lot living in this very affordable space.
2. I switched to a cash budget. Every month I watched my money very carefully and made sure I never over-extended myself. With cash it is so much easier because you never get a surprise credit card bill in the mail.
3. I paid off my debt and saved like crazy. I needed to have a large safety savings account so that I could feel comfortable everyday, in case something bad happened. Now I know that if I lose my job I will be okay for a few months.
4. I socialized differently. I love going out to fancy restaurants and very much enjoy great wine, but I don`t need to indulge all the time. This past year I`ve had friends over for dinner more than ever, and I drink my fancy wine at home, too. If I do go out it`s for a special occasion, or I meet my friends for drinks after dinner.
5. I shopped for less expensive clothing alternatives. Instead of going for the pricey brand names I`d opt for the less expensive clothing lines. The funny thing is, people often ask me if I got my dresses at designer stores. I was at a wedding in Montreal and a girl at my table asked me if I got my dress at BCBG, but really I got it at Bedo. As long as you stick with decent quality you`ll be fine.
6. I second guessed purchases. When tempted by a purchase I`d step back and figure out if I really needed it. If the answer was maybe, or no, I just moved on.
7. I didn`t go into stores if I wasn`t looking for something specific. I avoided the temptation. If I didn`t need to go shopping I`d do something else that made me happy, like read a book in a coffee shop, or go for a walk outside. That way I didn`t feel like I was denying myself.