Everyone is cutting back. It’s the new thing to do.
And it does make you feel good about yourself when you can save a few bucks or make a few hundred more than expected.
Here are some ideas that may work for you.
— If you need help on rent or the mortgage, consider getting a roommate. Of course, you will need to make some compromises, especially if you’ve been living alone and suddenly have to share the only bathroom.
I’ve had roommates that I would have paid to live at my humble abode and others I should have had arrested. So choose wisely. On the upside, when things run smoothly, having a roommate can be emotionally as well as financially rewarding.
— If you own your home, consider converting the garage into an ADU (accessory dwelling unit) or guest house to bring in new income. It’s probably worth losing your parking spot.
If you’ve been using the garage to store memorabilia or things you can’t fit in the house, consider how often you have even looked at them in the last five, 10 or even 20 years. Is it time to get rid of some things?
I know some people love their garages, but in Los Angeles these little units rent for $2,000-plus a month. It may be less where you are, but ADUs pay for themselves quickly.
— Speaking of collecting things, there is a profit to be made if you’re willing to relinquish some of those that are collecting dust. Almost everything I own has gone up in value, and I have been selling some of my collectibles at a fair price.
Even in a slow market like this one, you can still make a profit if you originally purchased your keepsakes at a good price. If your collectibles don’t move you like they used to, consider rehoming some of them. Isn’t that part of the fun anyway?
— We’ve recently started eating out again, and we love it. My wife is a great cook, and we’ve gotten really good at making fun meals, but going out is different.
It’s also a little more expensive now. We’ve discovered that splitting dishes is more economical and fun than taking home leftovers. Usually, one appetizer and one entrée is the perfect amount of food for the two of us. It reminds me of being young and just starting out, and it’s kind of romantic.
One hint: Always tip well, because there are still two of you to serve, even if your bill is on the low side.
— Plant a garden if you have the space for it. We aren’t harvesting our own vegetables, but this year we planted a rose garden at the beginning of spring, and now we have roses. This means that instead of buying my wife flowers, I simply go outside and return with a fresh bouquet.
The savings is noticeable, and it is just delightful to watch flowers grow and have them inside and out. It also makes my wife very happy.
These are just a few ways to cut costs. They’re working for us. It’s important to be flexible and inventive in these times. If this appeals to you, do what you can and come up with your own ideas. It’s kind of fun.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of eight books and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with more than 28 million readers. He is available for video consults worldwide. Reach him at email@example.com. His column appears Sundays and Tuesdays in the News-Press.