9 THINGS WE CUT FROM OUR BUDGET (THAT WE DON'T MISS ANYMORE!)

9 things we cut from our budget that we don't miss (1)

1. Housing

Housing is most people's biggest expense, and it's the one that made the biggest impact on our budget when we decreased it. Out of the 9 things we cut from our budget that we don't miss, this is the most impactful.

What We Did

We purchased a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom house and rented out 3 of the rooms. We rented them out to coworkers, people we met on Craigslist, and friends. If we didn't know the person, we made sure to run a background and credit check through Cozy.co to ensure a good fit.

Using this strategy, we were essentially able to live in a huge house with awesome people for a couple hundred dollars a month. Now that we're full-time traveling, we rented out our master and make about $400/month (should there be no unexpected expenses). We aren't planning on living off this though, but just saving it for future repair bills on the house.

What You Can Do

We realize this strategy might not work for everyone. Maybe you have kids or you live in a city where buying a house is impossible. In that case, you always have options if you're willing to look for them. For instance, if you have kids, you could buy a duplex, rent out half of the house and live in the other half. If you're a single person living in San Francisco, you can rent a room instead of having a studio to yourself. Or you could even buy a van and live in that fulltime (what we're doing now)!

Our first house!
Our first house!

2. Cars

It's pretty much the norm for people these days to have a car payment. We make excuses that we need that SUV for "safety" or "must buy new cars" so they don't breakdown. Nowadays, cars are built really well. No longer do we need to buy new to ensure a cars reliability. Even buying a used car  from a dealership can be a ripoff.

What We Do

Given Matt is a mechanical engineer, he is pretty good with cars! So when we're looking for a new car, we scour ads on Craigslist. We are all about good gas mileage and reliability. The last car we purchased (before Clifford) was a 2005 Toyota Prius with 30,000 miles on it. We purchased it for about $8000. Matt was driving 100 miles a day to work (ugh), so the gas mileage also saved us hundreds of dollars a month. Most of Matt's coworkers (who had the same commute), drove trucks. Not only did they have a car payment, but they were paying hundreds of dollars more per month in gas! All for a hunk of metal! No thanks!

What You Can Do

Decide what type of car you'd like to buy given your commute, your lifestyle, your budget, and where you live. Scour Craigslist or Facebook marketplace for cars. Take them for a test drive! (Being a woman, I would never do this alone. Always bring someone with you!). Once you find a car you like, take it to your local mechanic for a lookover (it will cost about $80).  Pull the cash out of the bank, exchange title, and make your way over to the DMV to process the registration.

I added the "Cool Prius -no one" sticker.
I added the "Cool Prius -no one" sticker.

3. Restaurants

Our first meal in the van- eggs, kimchi, avocado!
Our first meal in the van- eggs, kimchi, avocado!

4. Alcohol

Having a delicious mojito at a friend's wedding!
Having a delicious mojito at a friend's wedding!

5. Social Events

We loooveee to be social! Most of our social activities revolved around eating out, drinking out, and playing out (hellooo, Coachella!). While all these activities were really fun (#noregrets), when we got serious about our goals, we had to get creative with ways to be social for less moneys.

What We Do

Invite people over (yes, even into our van!). Cook for friends, have game nights, go on hikes with friends, go to free concerts with friends...the opportunities are endless!

What You Can Do

Brainstorm a few things you LOVE doing with friends that are free (or cost just a lil bit). Realize that you might lose some friends by not going out all the time (that's ok and normal!). Join meetup.com to find new friends that like doing similar (free) things!

Hiking with our friends from Wild Drive Life!
Hiking with our friends from Wild Drive Life!

6. Clothes (Shopping in General!)

When I was just #babymoneyAlli, I had a monthly subscription to StitchFix. Most of the time, I got a few clothes from there that I liked, but was too lazy to return the ones that were "meh." This resulted in me having a LOT of clothes in my closet that were just "meh."

What We Do

Now that we live in a van, clothes shopping isn't really an option (where am I going to put new sh*t?). Before #vanlife, I challenged myself to a clothes buying ban. Not only does this save money, but it helps you appreciate what you have in your closet. This translates to just a happier life (hellooo #gratitude).

What You Can Do

Go on a clothes buying ban! Go through your closet and sell all the clothes that are just "meh" or give away ones that you can't sell on apps like Poshmark or eBay.

If you follow us on Instagram, you've seen this jacket. I only have one...
If you follow us on Instagram, you've seen this jacket. I only have one...

7. Subscription Services

Subscription services may seem like a small amount. But $10/month over the course of a year is $120/ year! I get it, TV shows are important to many people, but for us, we realized TV didn't really improve our lives much.

What We Do

We canceled all subscription services and stay entertained through free books from the library and YouTube. Are you subscribed to our channel btw ?  Click here hehe (shameless plug)!

What You Can Do

Share an account with a friend! Rent a book from the library! Don't let your brain go to mush!

Pretending to read, but really just admiring Ember.
Pretending to read, but really just admiring Ember.

8. Buying Books

We're big self-development junkies, so books are our best friends!

What We Do

We got library cards to basically everywhere possible..in our hometown in Bakersfield, in my mom's county and in my mom's city! This gave us access to Hoopla and Overdrive, which are apps that allow you to rent e-books and stream audiobooks FO'FREE!

What You Can Do

Go to your local library (or your mom's), get a library card, ask them which app they are subscribed to...download that app...get all the books! And get partying!

9. Insourcing

We try to do everything "in house"...that means, if either of us need a haircut, we're getting out the scissors and shavers and it's going down!

What We Do

Not only do we insource hair cutting, but we do all our own car maintenance. That means oil changes, brakes, etc. YouTube is our best friend here for sure.

What You Can Do

It's important to recognize your own skills in this department and what might be reasonable to insource, and start there! Never touched a car before? I wouldn't recommend doing your brakes yourself, then. But doing your own "at home pedicure" might be more realistic. Start small, then you'll gain the confidence to tackle the more technical skills (with YouTube at your back!)

We were pretty much your typical millennials when it came to eating out-- we used to eat out 3-4x per week! Our favorites were sushi, thai, and mexican OF COURSE!

What We Do

Now we only eat out 2-3x per month and because of that, eating out is a TREAT! We also have amped up our skills in the kitchen and really enjoy cooking a meal at home together. By cooking at home we also have the comfort of knowing exactly what ingredients are used and can make it as healthy as possible.

What You Can Do

Start making small changes. Don't try to go from eating out every day to never eating out. Allow yourself some treats but also be realistic about your goals.

We used to also DRINK out alot- I'm talking a $100 bar tab on the weekend was the norm. Ugh- not only is that horrible for our health, but it hurts our wallets.

What We Do

Bota Box boxed wine is our JAM! We also invite friends over for drinks. We find the conversations we can have in our home are much more interesting than the conversations we have at a loud bar.

What You Can Do

Order soda water with lime when you go out. That way, it looks like you're drinking a mixed drink, but it saves your health (and your wallet!)

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