As you can imagine, being an English teacher is not the most glamorous position in the world, nor is it the best paying. Add to this the fact that I am Vietnamese and frequently travel back and forth between the United States and Vietnam and it seems like I am constantly strapped for cash. I am constantly looking for ways to save money in order to be able to continue to do the work that I love as well as stay in close contact with my family.
What Does Saving Money Mean to You?
When you think about saving money, for many people this means spending no money and living on a stringent budget. While this is certainly one way to save money, it also doesn’t allow for much fun! For me, being thrifty is not about depriving myself of things. Instead, it is about getting the best value for my money!
Do Things Yourself to Save!
One thing I have learned is that I am capable of learning how to do just about anything. I don’t mean that I think I can read a book about brain surgery and then perform it, of course. However, there are many things that people hire a professional for that they are capable of doing themselves.
Recently I decided I wanted to make some changes in my home, starting with new paint. I looked into hiring someone to come in and paint for me, but found that the expense was far more than I wanted to spend for something I could easily do myself.
I did some research about the easiest way to paint interior walls and discovered that purchasing an airless paint sprayer would save both time and money, making it a worthwhile purchase. I looked online for paint sprayer reviews and found this site, which gave me all the information I needed to make an informed decision. Not only was I able to paint my walls for a fraction of the cost, but having the airless paint sprayer enables me to make simple changes whenever I want.
Do Your Research Before Making a Purchase
Being willing to take the time to do the research before making any purchase is perhaps the most important aspect of being a thrifty shopper. While of course the actual cost of an item is important, you also have to look at what you are getting. For example, I have several small pets that shed copiously. My vacuum recently died so I was in the market for a new one.
When I did an online search for the best vacuum for pet hair, I stumbled upon The Vacuum Guy. On this site, not only does he list the different types of vacuums, but also includes the cost and consumer reviews. By reading these, I was able to decide which vacuum was best for my needs, find out whether the initial cost would pay off in the end, and be fairly sure I was getting a bargain.
Simplification is Key
For many people, shopping thriftily is something only poor people “have” to do. However, for me, it is simply a way to be sure I have the money to do the things I love to do. I often purchase my clothing at thrift stores (and for a great article about thrift shopping, read “Rag Time” in The New Yorker), walk to work when I can in order to save bus fair, and eat out rarely.
In addition to saving money for the important things in life like traveling to spend time with my family, learning to be a conscious shopper has helped my simplify my life in many ways. I find that I always have the money I need, because I don’t actually “need” very much!