The Summer of Saving has come to an end.
47 posts in 3 months – the most breakneck pace I’ve written at in the 6 years of this blog.
The series of was a lot of fun and kept me focused, but it was definitely taxing. I’ve never wrote a book, but I would imagine it would be a similar process and time commitment.
What’s next for me? Back to randomly scheduled programming. A mix of whatever interests me in the financial world that I think will also interest you.
Enough about me – what about you? Where do you go from here with your commitment to saving money?
Here’s the thing: long-term, sustainable money saving cannot be achieved from a series of tactics, i.e. “just do this, this, this, and this, and you’ll be on the path to financial freedom…”.
In order for savings to be sustainable, they must become woven into the fabric of who you are as a person.
Getting rid of a car because it is a tactic that will save you $400 per month is short-lived. Learning to love a bike ride to work and realize that driving a car instead is a downgrade to your health and life fulfillment (with the additional benefit of cost savings)? That’s sustainable.
Personal finance really comes down to two things: income and spending. Income is often times subject to the influence of others (stock market crashes, employer lays you off, customer stops buying from you). But expenses are largely in your control, outside of tiny inflationary pressures. That’s why saving money is so important to personal finance.
Where to go from here?
Set some goals for yourself. Review the Summer of Savings posts, listed below, and use this spreadsheet to track the actions you want to take and how much you predict it will end up saving you.
Then take action. Saving money is addicting. One savings will lead to another and another. Before you know it, it’ll be in your blood and become a passion of yours, if it hasn’t already.
A Recap of the Summer of Saving post series:
In the first two weeks, we covered food and groceries savings (the third largest spending category for Americans):
- How to Save Money on Food & Groceries: Your Secret Weapon
- Want to Lower your Food Costs? Become a Vegetarian
- What are the Best Warehouse Deals You’ve Found?
- Cheap Meals: What are Your Favorite Cheap Breakfast Recipes?
- Cheap Meals: What are your Favorite Cheap Lunch Recipes?
- Cheap Meals: What are your Favorite Cheap Dinner Recipes?
Then we jumped over to ways to save money with utilities/telecom/entertainment, with an overview post, and then covered each utility expense separately:
- Cutting the Cord: Alternatives to Cable TV
- Getting the Cheapest High Speed Internet: Lets Polish this Turd Together
- 64% of you Need to Get Rid of your Landline or ISP VOIP. NOW!
- The REAL Lifetime Cost of a Smartphone Plan (Warning: May Induce Vomiting)
- Get to Know an MVNO. It Could Save you Millions
- 4 Things Everyone Should do to Save Electricity
- Saving on your Water Bill: 5 Quick, Easy, & Cheap Changes to Make
- 6 Cheap & Easy Ways to Cut your Heating & Cooling Bills
Month two started with a series of health care posts (the fastest growing expense category):
- Finding Affordable Health Insurance
- Preventative Health Care: A Matter of Choice
- You are what you Eat: 8 Food Rules to Improve your Health (& Save you Money)
- 4 Ways to Cut the Medical Bills that will Inevitably Arrive
- Try This FREE High Intensity 7-Minute Workout to Save Time, Health, & Money
- Piece Together an Affordable Home Gym & Get Rid of Your Gym Membership
Then the BIG one – the number one personal expense category in the U.S. – housing expenses:
- The Cost of Housing & why it Can Make or Break your Finances
- Rent or Buy? Look at the Price to Rent Ratio for Objective Data
- Downsizing: The Highest Impact Financial Move you can Make
- Calculate the “Total Cost of Homeownership” BEFORE Renting or Buying
- Your Home is NOT an Investment
- 15 vs. 30 Year Mortgage: In an Infographic
- When to Refinance a Mortgage
- Buy a House for the Mortgage Tax Deduction? Not so Fast
- 7 Reasons to Not Buy a Home
- Save 6% When Selling “For Sale by Owner”
Our third and final month started with what I deem to be the “most ridiculous” expense category, which non-coincidentally turns out to be the category that presents the biggest, easiest wins – transportation.
- Transportation Costs: The Second Highest Expense Category is Clearly the Most Ridiculous
- Serious About Savings? Get Rid of your Car
- Choosing a Residence that Strategically Cuts Commuting Costs
- How to Find the Best Commuter Bike for You
- Bike Commuter Gear & Tips To Enhance your Safety & Enjoyment
- Bike Maintenance 101: Get the Right Tools & Learn These 4 Skills for 80% of the Gains
- The Most Powerful Tool to Cut Miles Driven, Gas, & Vehicle Costs (and it’s Free)
- How to Save on Auto Insurance: 11 Auto Insurance Discounts to Look in to
And then we wrapped it all up with a personal fun favorite – DIY:
- Insource your Way to Financial & Life Fulfillment
- Learn How to Cut your Own Hair (& Save Millions)
- How to Homebrew your Own Beer & Cut the Cost of Beer Consumption
- Zen and the Art of DIY Home Maintenance & Repair
- Your Toilet Might be Leaking. Here’s how to Detect & Fix it
- How to Make your Own Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
Summer of Saving Discussion:
- Which Summer of Saving posts have you or will you take action on? How much have you or do you predict you will save?
- What is your personal favorite money saving tip?
- At what moment in life did you realize that saving money had become a passion?
I first found your blog a little over a year ago. I had taken a Dave Ramsey course and wanted to learn more about the specifics, when I stumbled across your article on Dave Ramsey’s baby steps. I noticed you had some differing opinions, which made sense to me and I appreciated.
My wife and I are still in the “Emergency Fund Building” aspect of our finances, and are thinking about doing 2-3 months in a MMA and another 6 or so months in a Bond ETF.
It would be awesome if you could give some kind of “recommended timeline” or your own baby steps. Obviously these things vary based on what your values are, including how much risk you are comfortable with.
Still, I read your blog because I like how you handle your own finances and value your take on personal finance and I’m sure many feel the same. Maybe you could talk about your past and future financial goals with an emphasis on “order of operations”?
Thanks for an informative and interesting summer!
Man, thanks a million for a great summer full of awesome and helpful posts. I really appreciate what you do! Keep up the good work!
This is freakin awesome. I can’t wait to delve into these articles, apply them and share them with others. Awesome job you have a reader for life.
Thanks for all of the great posts, especially about buying a house. I have a very similar way of thinking, and it’s awesome to read your posts about biking to work, views on renting, etc. Keep up the good work!