I do so many little things on a day to day basis, to try to save every little penny that I can, or to earn any little penny that I can. I have to, or else we run out of money by month’s end. Some people don’t have to, but they’d like to be able to give more to needy people (this is what we plan to do when we’re finally financially free). But until then, here’s one simple way that I save money, and you can do it too!

Nothin’ Fancy
What does that mean?  Well, I hesitate to suggest it, because it could sound pretty drastic to most people.  In fact, it’s taken me a long time… years… to adjust and gradually cut out things that we didn’t really “need” – by “nothin’ fancy,” I mean luxuries that in fact, most people don’t “need.”  The following are just some examples.
Six years ago I had to give up my favorite hairstylist at my awesome local salon/spa.  That was tough.  I used to pay close to $100 every six weeks for a hair cut and highlights.  Then, for a long time, I went to Great Clips, and each time I went, I ended up with not quite the same look as I had before, LOL! But I learned that it’s no big deal. I still looked fine, my husband said I looked beautiful (awwwww), and for an 80% discount compared to what I was paying.  I’ve compared photos from before and now, and my hair looks just as good in pictures, so I’m not disappointed.  They don’t do hair color there, so I began buying a box of Nice ‘n Easy with coupons, and I now have a simple brown color that I refresh every so often (I’m starting to get gray strands (ahhhhh!!!!!  Gotta cover those up!).  In the past year or so, I became friends with a hairdresser who does cuts from her home, and now I save even more money and help out a friend at the same time!
Yep, that’s my foot.  My lovely paint job from two weeks
ago has needed to be removed for quite some time.  Maybe
I’ll just let the paint come off on it’s own.  Who cares?

It also means no manicures and pedicures. I used to have both every few months at least. Now the only ones I get are gifts.  I can’t remember my last manicure.  Most of the time I cut my nails short anyway, so I don’t scratch a baby while changing a diaper, or split my nails from washing dishes.  The last pedicure I had was two (or maybe three) years ago as a birthday present from my mom.  I don’t really miss them.  My toes aren’t beautiful, but who really ever looks at them anyway?  Sometimes I put some color on them, but most of the time I go without anything.  I just don’t care, or more accurately, I don’t have time to care!

I’m a little less able to give up on my eyebrows, I’ll admit.  I searched and searched for the cheapest place in town to get them done.  Now my friend who’s a hairdresser does them most of the time, and she’s soooo reasonable!  But usually I try to pluck them for as long as I can, or else I commission my mom to pluck them for me when I go visit her. She does a good job for me (she went to cosmetology school way back when), it’s a little more time-consuming and painful, but it’s free!
I used to get monthly 1-hour massages (back when health insurance for teachers covered it).  I do miss those!  But ya know, my husband’s massages are just as good, and he doesn’t mind when I ask for them occasionally.  He’s so sweet like that.
I used to buy all my clothes at high-quality clothing stores.  Brand names and current styles were important to me.  I used to justify spending exorbitant amounts of money on clothing by claiming that they would last longer or that they flattered my body type, when in reality, I’d tire of them within a year or two and take them to Goodwill anyway.  Now I buy almost 100% of my clothes at thrift stores, Goodwill, yard sales, or places like Walmart, Kmart, and Target.  I’m not ashamed.  I’m not the most stylish mom, but it’s just not important to me anymore.
The thing about it is, I was so used to the fact that these things were just things that I “deserved” somehow, and that I had the right to enjoy them regularly. It wasn’t even a luxury to me, it was a bratty thing. I justified it by the fact that I worked so hard, and I had the money, so why not spend some on myself? Now that we DON’T have the money, it would definitely be selfish to do these things instead of buying our groceries or paying our water bill. Honestly, I don’t have a choice or the option to do these things anymore. But, that’s not the real reason why I don’t do them anymore. I’ve learned that these things aren’t really necessary to be happy. For me, they were an attempt to fill a void in my life – a void that was satisfied once I was able to quit work and stay at home with my little girl and become the wife and mother I knew I was personally called to be. When we are finally financially free (we love Dave Ramsey) then I probably will continue to do what I’m doing. Instead of spending the extra money we’ll have on myself, I’ll be able to give it to someone else who may need it. I don’t need to fill that void anymore, and helping others will make me even happier.

This series of posts was originally published in 2010, and I am just recently editing and updating them, just for the fun of it.