Sean Berry's Thoughts on The Human Mind, Behavior, Movies, Video Games, Television, Technology, Internet, Culture, and Everything Else In Between


ArgueRants #20: Living Well with Less Money

Posted by sean berry on January 19, 2012 at 8:30 AM

I’m no financial guru as my bank account could well tell you, but because of such I’ve had to adopt some lifestyle changes that have helped me manage to live on what income I can attain. I figured if I can help myself save money than I can probably help someone else out as well. So without further delay, here is some advice that I have for any person looking to save some money as well as produce it. When I decided it was time to really start saving my nickels and dimes I found I had to really step back and look at where I was spending money. When your funds are limited, you are forced to let certain “luxuries” go but you still want to find a way to still maintain your formal lifestyle without retaining your former penchant for getting into debt.


The first bill I decided to do away with was cable and though initially when I went to do this they gave me the options of just having bare bones cable for a reduced price, but I said no and just had it removed completely and haven’t looked back since. Now I simply read more, play more games, or just find something productive to do. I do have to admit that if I did not have high speed internet access though this move would have been very painful, but the internet is a great source of entertainment as well as revenue so it was paramount that I kept it. Most people that own cable will tell you there is rarely much on and most of the channels available are veritable trash. You can also factor in the fact that most TV stations have their own websites and offer free viewings of their premium shows online, so you have to ask yourself: is watching your favorite show on your couch instead of your computer really worth a $150 a month?


As a younger man, the idea of thrift stores were insulting and automatically conjured up images of being down on my luck financially and having no other clothing options but that which people have donated. The reality of it though is that you can find some really good clothes at thrift stores and walk out with multiple outfits for the cost that you would pay for a single piece of clothing. My girlfriend showed me just how great a source this can be for the fashionable yet monetarily down trodden shopper. I’m not saying that every thrift store is going to have great clothes and keep in mind you will have to look through a lot of stuff to find what you are looking for, but generally speaking, with people having all kinds of different body types and sizes, the perfect fit is not always easy to find no matter where you shop. This can also double as a source of income as some of these stores buy clothes that you may not just fit any more or in my case, something you got for Christmas that is…nice, but let’s just say it doesn’t quite fit you!


If you take note of the seasons, you will realize that after every major holiday there will be loads of stuff to buy at majorly discounted prices. You can either stock up for next year’s holiday or just eat Christmas themed candies throughout the summer if need be, whatever works for you but when you understand that stores have to clear their inventory space to make way for new stuff, you can jump on those discounts and walk away with twice the goods. Got a sweet tooth? Buy your candy after Halloween. Want a nice jacket? Wait until winter is over and then check the clearance sales. Need some nice swimwear? Hit the surf shops in the winter and note how the bathing suit that was $60 before is now only $20. Also, sign up to most major stores for offers on clearance sales and going out of business sales, which can be a gold mine for great savings.


Another gold mine out there is the internet and if you know how to network and can utilize your free time effectively than you can earn yourself some extra cash with little physical effort. Advertising and blogging go hand in hand as companies will pay you when someone clicks on their ads after reading your own material. There are many free blogging sites that have easy to set up ads that can generate you a decent income if you can manage to get regular visitors to your site. Often times the ads that appear on your pages have something to do with what you are writing about and thus can be helpful to the people viewing them. There are also paid surveys you can take online and Craig’s list and Ebay are always around if you need to sell any peculiar items.


Junk itself is another source of income as there are many recycling places that will pay you for scrap metal and wire. There are also companies that will buy your old electronics so you don’t have to throw them away which would only produce more waste and earn you zero dollars. You may have to gather a decent amount of some of these items to get any real pay out but in the end I think most of us have an ample amount of time to burn and few people would argue over extra money in their pocket. If you need a temporary loan, there is always the pawn shop, not to mention you can find your own deals there on something which might normally be far too much new.


It really pays to shop around and the price of something can vary in dollars between places less than a mile apart. Case in point: I have a major sweet tooth and tend to hit the convenience store a lot for candy, but if I go to Wal-mart I could spend about half as much and get twice the candy, though sometimes it’s this very reason that I do spend more on it as it’s a type of monetary control over a biological urge. If I do buy fast food I really try to stick to the dollar menu and for normal food I indulge in a lot in pasta and lean proteins as they are easy to cook, cheap, and filling. Keep in mind every Sunday paper has a bulk of coupons to save you money and every grocery store has it’s fair share of buy one get one free sales that combined with some freezer bags can have your plate filled for weeks to come.


I realize that a lot of these ideas are nothing new, but what I think is important here is the mindset behind saving money. We pay a lot for convenience and the people that sell to us are very much aware of our tendencies, both negative and positive. I also have to say that just because something is considered name brand and sometimes expensive, doesn’t mean that you are simply paying for the name. There are some pricey shoes out there that seem high in comparison to the cheap ones you can find, but what good is a cheap pair of shoes if you have to buy new ones every 3 months instead of every two years? Recognizing what items are worth investing in and which items don’t require a name brand all plays into the frugal budget. We all need to realize that spending money is a responsibility and many people have gotten into a lot of trouble biting off more than they can chew. Only you can decide what something is truly worth and only you can really decide how much you spend and save…

Categories: ArgueRants

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Reply pariah
6:20 PM on January 19, 2012 
Why don't you put some ads on your site, man? I'm sure that could help, if only a little...
Reply sean berry
8:42 PM on January 19, 2012 
I use to use the ad feature on this website but it was a bit annoying and consequently winded up scrapping it. I had used ads with some minimal success in the past but ran into a bit of trouble i will tell you about via personal message...thanks for commenting pariah, it's been awhile!
Reply pariah
9:03 PM on January 19, 2012 
Yes, it has been a while... I visit your site everyday, so it's great to see some new content!