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Tips For Spending Less and Saving More With Slow Living

8 minute read

There is nothing wrong with buying something we need or genuinely want. In my free Slow Living Guide, I mention that for many who choose the lifestyle, “slowing down and enjoying life also means decluttering and buying less.”

Everyone is different, but the less I own, the less stress I have; the more savings I have, the more secure I feel. If you are looking to slow down the pace of your life and better manage your spending and savings habits, here are 9 tips that work for me and may for you too.

Only purchase what you need and can’t live without to save more.

An overriding theme in the slow lifestyle is to think about what you really need and can’t live without and fill your life with just those things.

Every once in a while, we may buy something small on impulse; we are humans, not robots. Aside from that, living a slower lifestyle is about focusing on what we want and truly desire and not spending the time or emotional investment on anything else.

9 Ways To Spend Less and Save More

By practicing slow living and using these 9 ideas, even I significantly reduced my spending and increased what I saved. They may work for you too.

1. Make A Shopping List

Going to a store without a list is like going for pizza when I am starving; I end up overdoing it.

When I need something from a store, I always make a list, even if it is just one item. I also write the list well before going to the store, so I have time to consider whether I need those items or need them now.

More often than not, if I list six things, I probably only need and therefore only get four items.

Creating and using a shopping list saves you money because you are not buying more than you need. It also saves you time in the store because you know what you want and usually where it is.

Shopping lists also help reduce the clutter in your home that often results from poor impulse buying decisions.

Finally, shopping lists make us feel good because we stay on track and only spend money on what we need.

2. Buy A Matching Wardrobe

All the clothing I own in my wardrobe matches, meaning every shirt I own can be worn with any pair of shorts or pants.

Now I will say all my clothing is black, but that is a personal choice more than anything else. You can buy less but still coordinate more outfits with less clothing.

For example, if you bought all khaki pants and shorts, they will go with pretty much any color top you could choose to wear.

This saves me time getting ready for work, going out, shopping for replacements, and traveling because I can pack less.

3. Set A Budget and Honor It

Budgets are significant because they give you a plan for your money and what to expect in your lifestyle moving forward.

Admittedly, I am not a huge stickler when it comes to budgets. For me, if it is close, then it is within budget. If I am over budget for one month, I make it up the next month.

I am a full-time slow traveler, so my budget will vary depending on what country I stay in. I try not to spend more than $1,800 a month for everything, which includes airfare, transportation, stays, health insurance, food, and all other expenses.

For the most part, I adhere to this. Sometimes I may need to go over budget by $400 because the area is more expensive than others or because something happened out of my control where I needed to spend more. But I keep a spreadsheet, and I will make that up.

So budgets are helpful, but they are more usable when we are flexible enough to allow them to expand and contract with changes. We just need to be honest and ensure an over-budget month is eventually paired with an under-budget month.

4. Shop Sales and Clearance

I’m not sure why, but I never really looked for sales throughout my life. I have never been rich, so why didn’t I try to save money? I chalk it up to just living on auto-pilot.

Now I have a pretty good (not great, but good) sales radar, which saves me tons of money each year. Once you know what you want and write it down on your shopping list, just go online or walk around the mall to see who has it the cheapest.

Pro Tip: Shop Cart Abandonment Discounts

Here is an excellent tip for you online shoppers. When you find something you want online, ensure you are logged into your account and that your profile has your email address listed and saved. Then add your items to your cart, but do not check out.

You will probably get sent a reminder email soon or within a day about the items in your cart, but don’t do anything.

Nine times out of ten, the company will send you a discount code within a few days if you buy the items in your cart within 24 hours.

Not every company does this, but most big stores do, and the deals can be between 5% to 20% off.

5. Delay Major Purchases

When a significant purchase comes up, like a house or car, try to delay your decision to actually purchase it, and do not succumb to pressure tactics (from others or yourself).

First, obviously, make sure you need it.

Second, delaying the purchase gives us more time to ensure it is what we need and want, and sometimes we decide to add to the purchase. For example, if you spend $20,000 for a car, you may find it provides more value and function to pay $22,000 to get one with better wheels because of the weather where you live.

Third, do not let someone else, or yourself, try to convince you that the decision to buy a significant item has to be made right now. In these cases, I always walk away. There is nothing I have ever thought about buying that I found justified succumbing to that bullshit peer pressure.

The one exclusion to this would be the shopping cart abandonment discount email I described above. But typically, that is not a significant purchase anyways, and we are the ones really controlling it.

Remember, it is not necessarily about being cheaper; sometimes, we need to just buy better.

6. Buy Quality, Not Quantity

I believe you get what you pay for. For my money, quality will always be a more critical factor in my purchases than quantity.

Over time, quality can save me money because items will not have to be replaced as often. A pair of $10 sandals sounds like a great deal until you realize you need to replace them every month, while a $30 version will last for 6 months or more.

Food is another excellent example. Eating smaller amounts of nutritious food is better than having several large bags of highly processed junk food, which is terrible for my health.

In my experience, sunglasses are the only time quality over quantity is not the case. Whenever I buy expensive sunglasses ($100 or more), I lose them, or they break. If I buy a pair for $20 in the grocery store, I swear I never lose them, and they never fail. LOL.

That said, quality trumps quantity in the long run.

7. Save Decluttering Income

When I started living a slower life, I started decluttering; figuring out exactly what I wanted and needed in my life, and getting rid of the rest.

When we do this, there are some things we throw away and other things we choose to give to charity or regift to someone.

Numerous websites make it simple to post those items for sale. There are also local companies that will make you an offer on your home furnishings and even come to pick them up.

So take a look around and get a list of things you no longer need or want, and see if there is anything you can sell for some fast cash.

Some things have decent resale value, and selling those items can be a big win for our savings.

8. Save Money By Downsizing

For some people, their home is part of what makes them happy; I was never one of those people. In fact, after I sold my house and moved back into an apartment, I remember how free I felt.

First, I had much more free time not having to deal with the general upkeep of the house. My apartment was smaller, and if something broke, I called someone, and they fixed or replaced it.

Second, I saved so much money each month because I no longer spent anything on HOA dues, pool chemicals, or landscaping services.

But, you don’t just have to downsize your residence to start saving.

I downsized my $225 a month cable bill for a reasonable $40 package and cut my cell phone plan in half.

Take a creative look at your current expenses and then compare what you are paying for to what you actually need and want.

You can usually do several things with downsizing to start saving money.

9. Pause Before Checkout

While standing in the checkout line yesterday at the grocery store, I looked in my basket to review what I had put in there; a small jar of jam caught my eye.

I sometimes treat myself to sugary-type things if my exercise routines have been consistent, but for the past couple of days, they have not.

So, I stepped out of line to return the item to the shelf.

This practice of pausing before I actually check out and finalize my purchase is something I do all the time now.

It is that final mental check to ensure I need what I am about to pay for. Most of the time, if I get to the checkout, I am sure about what I am getting.

But, every once in a while, I see a jam jar I don’t need or deserve, so I don’t buy it and save that money instead.

Closing Thoughts

There are all kinds of ways to spend less and save more. Specific to slow living, it is more about identifying what in your lifestyle you actually need and can’t live without and only buying those items.

That process alone will save you a ton of money.

When you couple the slow lifestyle with some of the ideas presented in this article, I think you will see your bills go down and your savings rise.

Your mileage may vary, but they work for me!

Thanks for reading.

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