How to spend less without sacrificing your lifestyle

It is the million dollar question. How can I spend less without losing quality of life? I tell you what works for me.

Spend consciously

I am not a frugal person by nature but I do not like the feeling of spending for the sake of it. Let’s say that I like to treat myself from time to time, but I do not consider myself to be an inveterate consumist. I was just a normal person. Until a few months ago.

Since I started on the path to financial independence I have a different perspective on spending.

I try harder not to get carried away and “spend for spending”. Stop and reflect if it deserves to spend money on something.

Each expense is a conscious decision.

Something so simple has a lot of power and I want to encourage you to do that exercise. Think about whether it’s worth it or not spend the money on something before buying it. If you could use your money for something better. Just take a minute to think about it.

And if the answer is “yes, it’s worth it” is totally ok, go ahead. But if you do this exercise you will be surprised how many times the answer is “no”.

During the last three months I have been working on the following questions “What do I want to spend the money on?” “Do I need it?” “What does it do for me?”

Since I started the road to financial independence everything changed. Now that I have a  plan B for the money (invest it and get a little closer to my goal) I am much more critical and demanding with my day-to-day expenses.

Many of the expenses we have will not necessarily make us happy. I give you 4 recent examples.

Ideas to save without losing quality of life

Whenever you have an expense and you want to reconsider if you really need it do the following exercise.

  1. Ask yourself “What do I look for with this expense?”
    2. Sincere and thoughtful response
    3. Ask yourself back “Is there any more economical way to satisfy this need?”
    4. More times than you think there is

Real example 1. Buy books.

I  did it constantly. Once I enter a bookstore it is almost impossible for me to leave not with one, but with two books. I love reading and I devour the books. When I’m at home I borrow them from my mother and my grandmother (we are a family of readers). But when I spend some time without going through Galicia, I end up buying.

Reflection exercise:

  1. What do I look for with this expense?
    2. Read
    3. Is there any cheaper way to do it?
    4. Sign up for the library!
    Obviously no? Well I hadn´t use the library since I was a little girl. And in these 3 months I’ve borrowed 6 books…

Real example 2. Go out for a drink and enjoy the good weather.

The sun shines and what do you want? Go outside, sit in a nice terrace. To have a coffee, a drink, a snack…

Reflection exercise:

  1.  What do I look for with this expense?
    2. Be outdoors and enjoy good weather
    3. Is there any cheaper way to do it?
    4. Sit on a park bench!
    Which does not mean that I never go to bars and sit on their terraces. I will keep going. But only if what I want is a beer. If what I want is to be in the air and to get the sun, there are cheaper ways to do it.

Yesterday for the first time in my life I went to a park to throw myself in the sun. Alone. On my own. It was Friday afternoon and the park was full of families and groups of friends. I had no plan but I wanted fresh air and sunshine so I went. It’s something I would never have done before (either go to a park to lie in the sun or go alone). And it felt great. An hour and a half there while listening to podcasts and taking ideas for future posts gave me energy for the rest of the day.

Real example 3. I was invited to a dinner.

When you are invited to a house lunch or dinner, generally you bring something. And if you’re in savings mode, depending on what you get, it’s almost worse than going out to dinner … Because a good wine, a good liquor, some appetizers, some cakes … if you do not want to go shabby, they are not cheap. But that can also be given a spin.

Reflection exercise:

  1. What do I look for with this expense?
    2. Take something to the dinner and thank the invitation. (Important, without being a shabby)
    3. Is there any cheaper way to do it?
    4. Carry something prepared for you.
    You have to work hard and cook, but it is much cheaper.

Curious fact. We were three guests, I made a cake and the rest took a bottle each. Each bottle cost about € 25 and my cake cost less than € 5. And, guess what? My cake was the most successful 🙂

Real example 4. Socialize without going crazy on expenses.

Right now Mr Lyn and I live in different cities. And the weekend that we are not together I usually don´t have many plans. Alone at home I get bored, I like to do things and be with people. I have a co-worker who invites me to his plans, but they are always dinner + party and in the end I spend a lot of money … once in a while it may be worth it, but it is not what I want for each weekend.

Reflection exercise:

  1. What do I look for with this expense?
    2. Do something different during the weekend, be entertained and with people.
    3. Is there any cheaper way to do it?
    4. Meetup !!!
    I do not know many people in the city, but a great way to find plans is through the Meetup platform. For the next weekend I was alone I joined a group of people who were going out and take pictures. I’m starting in the world of photography and I know it’s a matter of practice. But I’m usually lazy to go out alone. This was a perfect event to share experiences, meet people and spend a Sunday 10!

These are just some of the examples that happened to me in these first months. I am sure that I´ll find many more down the road 🙂 Please do not forget to share your tricks, I know that I am not the only one on this path and I would love to read your ideas!

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