Stingy, Frugal or Good on Cash?

365 Writing Prompt

Retrieved from Project Van Life

Writing prompt: Discuss something you apply your creativity to outside of your work.

We all know freelance writing pays crap but we want to write, of course we do. In order to do so we need to tighten up the budget. These are the ideas I stick to in order to survive. In most cases less means more. It does for me, anyway.

Food- eat at home, pack a lunch, twice a month go grocery shopping with a prepared list of what’s needed to prepare meals. Stock up on rice and beans (cheapest, healthiest, most fulfilling food) so your able to eat until your next set trip. Instead of dining out with family and friends invite everyone to your house for a potluck and bring your own booze.

My favorite? Grow your own food! I’ve harvested so many fruit and veggies from our garden the past few weeks that we’re cooking it up and freezing or jarring it. We’ll have plenty of healthy eats to make it through fall, winter and spring. We have so much I plan on planting less next year. If you do the research you’ll find you’re able to grow food in the smallest of places including apartments.

The Library- I’ve said it before, the library is an underutilized creative space. Books, music, movies, periodicals all free to borrow with your free library card. Also, most libraries have OverDrive and Kanopy now so you’re able to access these resources from home for free with your library card number.

Libraries definitely offer free classes and events. I suggest checking with your local library for a monthly calendar. Another bonus of the library is free access to Wifi. They have Wifi so you don’t need to, not to mention; how awesome would it be to have zero contact with the outside world while you’re at home?

Live simply- I live in a household where we’re not all on the same page with simplicity. We have a storage room in our home that’s 30x 30 and it’s filled, crammed and packed with his stuff. I just don’t feel there’s a need for so much stuff or to continue buying more stuff unless it’s needed or something you’ll absolutely use.

This writing prompt got me thinking about where I cut corners as far as expenses. I took to Quora and asked the question, “What are thrifty money saving tips you apply to every day life?” The best response I received was, “Don’t buy it unless you’re going to die without it- unlike that fancy wine opener that has 12 parts.”

Yard Sale- Sell it all.

Transportation- Public transportation is the way to go. When I lived in Phoenix it was $60 for a monthly Metro pass. It got you all over the city via bus or train. Obviously if you don’t live somewhere with public transportation then it’s not a feasible option for you.

I now live in a small town in Iowa surrounded by cornfields. The major survival necessaries are available in the town square which is a mile walking distance for our home. However, there is no public transportation. We need a vehicle for when we travel outside of town on the weekends, but we still limit use.

Clothing and Accessories- Limit your wardrobe and when you need to purchase more items check out a second hand or consignment shop. You can find super cool , cheap stuff if you take the time to look for it. (with the exception of undergarments because that’s weird.)

Day trips- Hello, good time! Do you really need a fancy vacation? That dream vacation you’ve always wanted to take? Take it- in your retirement years. For now, day trips are the way to go. They’re cheap, fun and memorable. I have a pickup truck so there’s been a few day trips that have turn into weekend endeavors at a campsite with cozy sleep arrangements in the bed of the truck (not recommended during subzero winter months).

How much do you know about the state you live in, really? Once I did the research on Iowa I was fascinated with the history, culture and never ending tourist sights across the state. Everyone has this impression that Iowa is all about farmers and corn. I know I did. That’s what I thought when we moved here but nope. It’s awesome. It’s been immensely enjoyable and has given me a long list of travel and story ideas.

Barter- Yes, that’s correct. In need of a service? Trade for your services. Don’t want that useless wheelbarrow anymore but need a typewriter? Find a swap. Need a fancy dress for an event? Swap. My husband and I once traded a chainsaw and a rubber finger for a crossbow. We needed a crossbow for hunting. The chainsaw and finger served little purpose to us.

Need your work proofread? Need editing done? So do 8,976,423 other writers (rough guesstimate). Find a writing group either online or in person and swap.

There’s tons of online barter site besides what I’ve included. Give Google a go until you find a good site that fits your needs. Also, your town or city most likely has a buy, sell, trade Facebook page and of course there’s always creepy Craigslist.

Ax the Frills and Thrills- Yep, sorry they gotta go. For the price of one Starbucks coffee you can brew coffee at home for two weeks. Date night? How about a picnic or cozy up with one of those movies you borrowed from the library? Nothing says, I want to do you more than spending the night together underneath the stars. Did you need that $7 cocktail at the bar last night? No. Get drunk at home. It’s cheaper. Did you know that stores strategically place tons of useless crap at the register so you’re tempted to grab it while you wait? Put it back. You don’t need it.

Okay, I’ve way exceeded the five minute limit for the writing prompt but I feel this is an important topic to cover in today’s world of instant gratification and materialism.

If you have thrifty money saving tips you’d like to share please feel free to do so in a response.

Sign up to receive my Month in Creativity and you’ll automatically be entered in September’s book raffle!

Interested in becoming a patron? You can support my work at patreon.com/ erika_sauter