Ten Ways I Cut Costs This Year

+ Transitioning into a work trade position & breaking free from the rent trap. I made the decision at the end of last year to begin trading work on an organic farm for accommodations. I now work 24 hours per week and in return do not pay for rent. Throwing grandiose amounts of money away each month on bills and rent made me feel a bit nauseous. There are better ways to vote with my consumer dollars.

+ Using public transportation instead of owning a car. I sold my car when I moved from Menomonie to Minneapolis in 2015. Once living in the city, I found that using public transportation was simple and cost effective. I bought an unlimited bus pass and relied on that and my bike to get around. Minneapolis was exceptionally walkable as well, so I spent much of my time getting around by foot. Now that I’m living on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington I’ve found that even though I live rurally on an organic farm, I’m still able to find my way from Point A to Point B without stress. I procured a used bicycle from The Recyclery in Port Townsend. The bus stop into town is a mile from my home. I bike to the bus stop, pop my bike onto the bus and catch a ride into town. From there, I’m able to bicycle and walk wherever I need to be in the city. An unlimited day pass for the bus is only $1.50. I don’t have to worry about car payments, insurance, gas, or repairs, while also reducing my carbon footprint.

+ Adopting a minimalist mindset. I no longer buy items on a whim. My new motto is “purchase for longevity, not a quick fix”. I’ve been careful with what products I bring into my life and make certain that they are high quality and will bring joy and value . Right before making the move from the Midwest to the West Coast, I did a massive cull on ALL of my personal possessions. The result was filling up a few car loads for donation and selling all of my furniture. I read a wonderful book entitled “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. From this book, I adopted use of KonMari, which is a method of simplification and organization for the home. I highly suggest reading this literature.

+ Sobriety. Getting sober and living in recovery has not only brought clarity to my soul, it has also been easy on my budget. Substances are expensive. I still go out with friends and have heaps of fun, I just don’t have a bar tab at the end of the evening. [Need I say more?]

+ Self-sufficiency skills & eating from the earth. Living and working on an organic farm certainly has it’s benefits to saving dollars. I’m learning amazing self-sufficiency skills. These are not only sustainable life methods, but also skills that I will be able to use for the rest of my life, while eating fresh from the ground in the process. In the future, when I invest in my own property, I plan on growing my own vegetables, fruits, and herb gardens. As part of my work trade, I will soon be learning the canning process in order to eat preserved foods during the winter months and continuing eating in self-sufficiency.

+ Buy in bulk. When grocery shopping, I make certain to buy in bulk for the grand majority of my purchases. I reuse glass jars that I already have on hand and fill them at the Food Co-op bulk bins. My quintessential purchases include rice, flour, coffee beans, nutritional yeast, quinoa, lentils, granola, and nuts. All of these items are less expensive when bought in bulk due to overheads producers tack on to their products to account for packaging and design. I kill two birds with one stone because this method is also trash light. Yes, kween.

+ Coconut oil as a multi-product replacer. Lizzo speaks some truth, “Thought I needed to run & find somebody to love, but all I needed was some coconut oil”. Coconut oil has become my true love and multi-product replacer. I now use coconut oil for a hair, face, and body moisturizer, deodorant, lip balm, oil pulling, cooking, and many other super duper product replacements, I could go on! One jar lasts me a few months and only costs around $8. Big smooches for coco.

+ Menstrual products. I used to spend heaps of money on single-use, disposable menstrual products until I was introduced to the trash light alternatives. I now use a menstrual cup and Thinx. I’ve been using the same cup for over two years and it shows little to no wear and tear. I was introduced to Thinx this year and they are life changing. I utilize the high-waisted pair and the thong. I’ve found these to be extremely durable and I plan on trying out more styles soon. Menstruation doesn’t have to be a pain; harness your feminine divine and use products that are comfortable, cost-effective, and stress free.

+ Herbalism over pharmaceuticals & chemicals. Using plants as alternative medicine has been a concept that I’ve begun to dive into since moving to the west coast. Plants provide us with nourishment and divine healing properties. With a little education and curiosity, I’ve been diving into the process of developing DIY tonics, tinctures, salves, and infusions that can be made directly from our gardens with a little magic touch. Let’s be real, those pharmaceuticals that can be bought over the counter are typically filled with unhealthy chemicals and the cost most certainly adds up fast. Also, I appreciate the cutie pie aesthetics of having handmade herbal products and to be well versed in all of the elements that I’m putting on and in my body.

+ Hair care. Have you heard of the no poo method? No, friends, I’m not talking about pooping! I talking about transitioning out of using shampoo and conditioner. There is an unambiguous misconception about shampoo as a necessity. The detergents in shampoo strip hair of its natural oils, causing the scalp to over produce oil and in turn, our hair gets greasy exceedingly fast! I’m currently on my third month of not using shampoo or conditioner and my hair has never been in better shape. The first couple months were a big transition phase and I looked just a tiny bit homeless, but now my hair is voluminous, has a healthy luster, and only needs to be rinsed with hot water once or twice a week to keep it looking tip-top. No more expensive hair products for this girl! Furthermore, professional haircuts are a cost I’ve cut out of my life. I trim my own hair once a month to get rid of any split ends, receive the exact trim amount that I’m aiming for, and it’s free!

Do you have any brilliant, magical tactics you are utilizing to cut costs this year? I’d love to hear from you!

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