Money on Your Mind? 3 Ways to Save Money So You Can Enjoy Life More

Afternoon bike ride on the Long Leaf Trace is one way that I like to enjoy the outdoors in my free time.
 The reason we wanted to start camping is to start spending more time together as a family.  I travel for work, so my time at home is precious.  I want to make the most of this time.  Camping is an escape from the day to day.

And with any hobby or recreational activity, it does take money.  As inexpensive as camping can be compared to other travel and excursions, an RV and gear can be costly.  For years our reason for not taking this leap was the idea of another expense that we didn't want to take on.  You can build a camping budget into your lifestyle easily without making drastic changes.

First, evaluate what is optional and not a necessity in your life.  What are the places in your monthly expenses that can be eliminated?  Do you belong to clubs or pay membership dues to organizations you don't use?  Fees and subscriptions add up fast and can make big savings over time.  We found three ways to save money without missing the things we normally enjoy.

The money you save could pay for the RV you've been dreaming about or a dream vacation that you have been putting off.  Now is the time to start saving for a camper or to make changes where you could afford a camper payment.  Payments aren't as expensive as you think.  We wanted to pay for ours up front and not have a payment, so we did things a little differently.  The key is building this change or plan into your budget.

Change the Way You Watch Television

We finally cut the cord with our cable bill this year.  Previously, we had 1 Gigabit Wireless, digital cable throughout our home, HuluAmazon Prime, and Netflix.  My sister deemed us as the most entertained family in American.  She was probably right.

Hulu has lots of programming options that can be streamed for $7.99 per month.

Sling TV provides live television options that stream into your home through a Fire Stick, Roku or another similar device.

All of this was costing us a whopping $216 per month.  That is near $2600 per year for wireless and entertainment!  We determined that we only watched 10 channels or less.  I just couldn't justify this expense anymore.

I purchased an indoor antenna for our local channels.  These are easy to install and only cost about $30. Amplified TV Antenna

Our antennae sits above my curtains in the living room and is a piece of plastic the size of a piece of paper.  It is relatively unnoticeable.
We kept our streaming services since we already had wireless and a Fire TV Stick (by Amazon) for both of our home televisions.  To replace our cable, we added Sling TV.  This ala carte streaming service allows users to pick a package starting at just $20 with add on TV services starting at just $5.  Add to services or cancel services at any time.  Sling TV also offers a cloud-based recording service so you can record your favorite shows and watch them later.

The Amazon Fire Stick that we have just plugs into the HDMI port on the back or side of your television.
By making this change, we now pay $146 a month for wireless and streaming television services.  This saves about $70 a month or $840 for an entire year.  That is a big number over time.  This could be a big hidden expense in your monthly budget that you could easily trim.  And, you could do this easily for less than what we do.  It just depends on what you want to access.  We have not missed our cable one bit!

Change the Way You Workout

Until recently, I belonged to a gym.  At $35 a month, this is a pretty standard fee for a gym membership.  With my monthly travel and busy schedule, finding time to drive to the gym is just another scheduling obstacle.  I had begun to work out more at home, utilize hotel gyms and exercise outdoors.  

I still want to have access to a variety of workout plans, but I need to be able to do these on the go and without travel time to a gym.  Beachbody On Demand subscriptions is billed at $39.95 quarterly.  Big savings.  The annual fee for this is just under $120 - saving me $300.  

Beach Body on Demand streaming programs allows the user to select from many different workout videos using your Internet-connected device.
I did add one more thing to my routine.  I am using a new app called Olumia.  It is a lifestyle app geared at making overall changes including more sleep, healthy diet and personal training plans.  It is $9.95 a month and utilizes basic equipment like dumb bells and resistant bands for strength training.  A full body workout plan includes cardio, core and resistance.  I really enjoy it.  

The Olumia Life App gives points for each of the targeted activities that you input information for daily.

Workout programs in the personal trainer option include cardio, core, and resistance.  Instructional videos can be viewed to help with form and completion of exercises.
Now, I pay around $20 a month for a whole variety of workout videos that I stream and an app with additional work out plans.  The two work great for me and act as a personal trainer and gym between the two.  I'm saving $180 annually because of this change.  And, I use these options daily - not occasionally.  Again, this is about the savings that add up over time not always huge savings up front.  

Use an Envelope System

If you have ever listened to Dave Ramsey, he suggests that people use an envelope system to keep on track with monthly expenses.  Make a budget and develop envelopes for food, automobile, dining/entertainment, miscellaneous, etc.  We have an envelope system with each of our categories and assigned amounts for us to use.  

From these envelopes, we purchase groceries, eat out, pay for an oil change and more.  Each pay period, I put cash into each assigned envelope and use it instead of aimlessly using our debit or credit cards to make purchases.  It is much easier to loose track of expenses when you don't physically see the money you are spending.  

This method helps you to actually save money and spend less money on unnecessary expenses.  You might rethink that extra cup of Starbucks or lipstick that you don't really need.  Okay.  So, we don't want to pass those things up always.  And you don't have to.  Once you start saving money, you actually have more for the occasional thing you love.  But you have earned the things you spend money on by saving money and spending wisely.

What are other ways that you could save money?
  • Automatically draft money into a savings account.
  • Sell items that you are not using and place into savings.  Ebay and social media are good places to begin selling things you don't use.  For parents, children's clothing and toys are a great way to recoup money on gently used items.  
  • Cancel physical newspaper subscriptions and use an online service.
  • Use a grocery service for shopping that will help eliminate impulse buys.  We use Kroger Clicklist.  It costs $4.95 per shopping trip.  I buy groceries once per week and usually stick to my list.  Mainly, I am not tempted by something on sale that I don't need or just junk and treats and I'm trying not to eat anyway.  I feel like we have decreased our monthly grocery bill by $100 to $150 by doing this!
  • Eat at home more and eat out less.  Families eat out more today than ever before.  Cooking at home does take planning and a little effort.  But I find in the time that it takes to load up, drive to a restaurant, get seated and order, I could have made the meal that I didn't want to make.  Meals at home are healthier in many cases and save big over time.  We have an allocated amount of eating out every month and try to stick to this unless it is a special occasion.  This has also saved us about $150 per month.
Saving money doesn't have to be painful.  I look at it as giving up one thing to gain more of the bigger picture.  With a few minor changes, I'm saving over a $1500 per year.  If I add what I save on groceries and not eating out, we are saving close to $3000 or more.  That is a lot of money.  It will purchase that new camper canvas that we have been talking about as well as the roof rebuild we are planning for with money left over.  

Our set up is simple but works perfectly for us.  
If you want to start living a better life, live purposefully.  Spend wisely - both your time and money.  When you spend your money wisely, you can enjoy your time off with your family without the stress of bills and know you have extra cash in the bank.  That cash can go toward camping gear you want, a dream vacation or just your own nest egg.

More time around the campfire is what I would like for this year!
Have you made changes to your budget and lifestyle with the intention of saving money or living better?  I'd love to hear some of the changes you made and how they have worked out over time.  If you want to learn more about money saving Chrome extensions that I use, take a look at my post about 2 Extensions that Will Save you Money.  We want to invest more into our family and not things.  Intentional planning is helping us to achieve that goal.

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