Stuff for Less: How to Become Happier for Less Money
How can we get more of what really makes us happy, for way less money?
If you want to easily save thousands of dollars per year not just any way, but the right way, its time to become a conscious consumer. The core idea behind conscious consumerism is becoming ultra-aware of how we spend, and how our spending fits into our bigger picture and long term happiness. It’s not necessarily about having fewer things, but instead is about buying only the things that align with our goals, purpose and values.
If having a bigger, more expensive car is something you truly value above most else because you love cars and driving, then it’s worth buying an upgraded car. It fits in to your big picture plan nicely, great. But for most people, the emotional benefit of an amazing car will start to wear off after just a couple of months. From there, the car is more stuff in your life that’s draining your money and not adding to your happiness.
That’s why it’s really important for us to do some more planning and values based thinking well before we make the decision to buy. The same idea can be applied to electronics, toys, clothing and tons of other household goods.
So with this in mind, the Stuff for Less top 10 suggestions below will show you can get more of what really makes you happy, for way less money – while also making a meaningfully positive impact on the health of our communities and the world.
Become a minimalist. Minimalism is in, and it’s likely here to stay. The idea, as the name implies, involves living with less stuff. A smaller house or apartment, with very little furniture and decorations is all part of the minimalist approach. It is a movement away from cluttered spaces over flowing with stuff. This philosophy can save you a lot of money, with the offshoot of being excellent for your well-being, community and planet. If you have a lot of knickknacks, furniture and decorations – consider selling some of them. As you move forward, buy only things that fit with your long term values and make you feel good every day. If you’re not up for something this extreme, even a few steps in this direction can help you save a bundle. Check out the Kondo method.
Show pic of minimalist apartment
Buy reusable products. Here are some top tips to give you an idea of what we mean. These steps alone can easily help you save $100s per year.
- Buy a mop, not a Swiffer.
- Buy instant or ground coffee, not plastic K cups.
- Buy a water tap filter, not plastic bottles.
- Use an electric shaver or trimmer – avoid disposable shaving items.
- Use cloth grocery bags, avoid plastic. If you do have plastic bags, re use them for garbage bags.
- Buy bulk with less packaging, and store in mason jars.
You probably get the idea – anything that uses less packaging and can be reused will save you money and lower your impact.
Shop on Kijiji or other stuff swapping sites. There is so much good stuff for sale on line. Storage units fact… Kijiji and Craig’s List are a couple of the bigger sites. Why go to Ikea to wait in lines, when there is several of what you are looking for, in good condition at half price? Check out what’s available online, and get 50% or more off on like new items. If you’re new to this type of shopping, you might be surprised at the selection and quality of what you can find!
Make your own cleaning products. The following list of web sites will help you create your own natural household cleaning products, for just pennies per bottle.
Go treasure hunting at reusable clothing stores, or outlet clothing stores that sell at a steep discount. Check them out and you might be surprised at the unique treasures you can find, at 60% -90% savings all the time.
Use public transit. How much do you spend per year on your car, once everything is added up? If you can avoid driving a car to get to work, this can save you $100s per month. Besides the cost of the car itself, there is also maintenance, gas and insurance. If you can do down to one car or even no cars, this can easily put you well ahead of the game.
Walk or Ride a bike. Walking or riding can save you a bunch, while keeping fit. Walking or riding, even to a public transit stop, can be a great substitute for a morning workout, and will really add up over time.
Buy less pre-packaged food. Food that comes in a package will probably end up costing you more, and is likely to be less healthy than some of the bulk or reduced package food options in grocery stores.
Spend less on toys. The average kid in North America has over 230 toys and typically plays with about 20. Try buying more toys used online, or borrow from a toy library if one is available to you. Also, try buying more toys such as Lego that can be used for many years, and in many different ways. When you’re done with the toys, sell them early while they are still relevant or give them away for free to children who are less fortunate.
You’ll feel much better, more fulfilled. You’ll free up a cluttered head and be more motivate to create other things in your life that are truly meaningful to you and others around you.