My husband Dominik and I are both taking 2 years off of work to invest in our newborn son Vigo and in our art. We are pleased to be living in Germany, which has fantastic parental leave benefits. We can each take up to 3 years off and expect the same pay at our jobs, when we return. One of us can get 14 months of 60% of our salary, or one can take 24 months of 30%. We are opting for the 24 months and hoping to supplement our income with Dominik's music, my art, and airbnb/subletting our flat.
We are choosing time over money for the next few years. We haven't always chosen time over money, the past 5 years we have chosen money over time because we were in debt and saving up. But now we are out of debt and have a new little baby so time is more important. Living with less money will be a tough transition. We have to cut down on expenses and live on the cheap, because we are living on a third of our income for the next two years! So, I'm collecting a list of things that we do to save money. The crazy thing is that these things are not only cheaper but either more healthy, environmentally friendly, or time giving.
1. Buy second hand: most things you need are in fine condition second hand, and you're saving them from landing in a landfill, just yet.
2. Turn off lights and electronics when you're not using them.
3. Cook at home
4. Limit your "Going Out": invite friends over for drinks or dinner, have a dance party in the living room. Cocktails and cheaper when made at home too!
5. Make your own coffee and tea: save coffee as a treat or a date
6. Use the local library
7. Borrow things instead of buying them: People are usually happy to share, and to have their seldom used things to be in use.
8. Buy things you really love and will use for a long time.
9. Sell things you don't love or are not used anymore
10. Mend clothes or get things mended instead of throwing away favorite items (example: shoes and bags)
11. Drink Water-rather than pop, beer, or juice
12. Eat less meat: not only cheaper and healthier, but also more animal and environmentally friendly. win, win, win, win
13. Write and stick to your grocery list
14. Rent out your extra room, or your whole home when you are away: Airbnb!
15. Watch the documentary Minimalists and you'll be convinced that life is about quality not quantity.
These are things that Dominik and I have been doing for years. We have swallowed our pride and asked to borrow all kinds of things from friends, we shop mostly second hand, and we cook at home a whole lot. It's interesting that many of these money saving things can encourage community, sustainability, and healthy lifestyle.
What things do you do to save money? What have I forgotten?
Thanks for reading!