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Finding the fun in saving money

March 7, 2010

One of my goals until summer is to spend as little as possible. Part of this stems from having no job, but the other part is due to the fact that the economy is bad right now and this is the best time for being frugal. As a self-proclaimed shopaholic, it’s starting to get tough as it’s been three months since I’ve had a decent mall trip/online shopping spree/lunch out/etc. I’ve fallen off the horse a few times, but I’m getting serious now! It’s actually something that can be fun. Try it with me, everyone! Fighting!

(It should be noted that I brought out my inner “magazine corniness” for this; it couldn’t be helped!)

  1. Try “fantasy” shopping. This is one of my favorite pastimes when I’m craving shiny new items. Whether it’s clothes, books, or music, I will go to an online shop and pile all my heart’s desires into the shopping cart. The key to this process is the hope that you will fall into a giant pile of money within enough time for the store to remember what’s in your cart (do not login!). When you have sufficiently beefed out your imaginary cart, move onto something else and try to forget the whole ordeal. The best thing about this is realizing the justifications you can make for each purchase. You need to pre-order Big Bang/SHINee/FT Island’s latest ~ because… Most of the time you’ll realize deep down that you can live without whatever it is. In the meantime, however, you’ll get the excitement of buying without actually buying (and buyer’s remorse!).

  2. Shop your own wardrobe. Pretend your G-Dragon and you have a powerful fashionista inside. I don’t know about you, but I tend to have a few items that I lose interest in after time (sometimes it’s after a few years… they’re items that aren’t exciting enough to go out of style, but you’ve seen them too much to like them anymore). Sort through your stuff and pull out things you don’t care much about. Pick out a piece and see how you can reinvent it. Here are some ideas for changing old clothes:
    • For jeans, you can do so many things. Bleach, distress, cut… You can even make them into shorts. Even in the winter you can pair shorts with a pair of tights. I’ve done this with jeans that have somehow lost an inch or so from the bottom (I don’t know how this happens, TBH), have unremovable stains on the legs, or are no longer my style in cut. As far as bleaching and distressing, you can really go G-Dragon on this one. Look up some tutorials on how to safely do these things and you should be good to go. It’s so much fun! You probably could even get some clothes paint or something and go to town in unique-ifying your old jeans or pants.
    • With shirts, analyze their “range.” T-shirts can go many places for two reasons: they’re cheaper and they’re casual to being with. If you’re looking at a blouse, you’re going to have to consider the possibilities accessories can bring to it. See the next point for info on doing that. Back to T-shirts: explore the idea of T-shirt cutting. There are so many cool things a person can do with a pair of scissors and a basic tee! Search Google or YouTube (“KandeeJohnson” has some good tutorials on this subject) for the various ways you can alter this type of clothing.

  3. Consider accessories. For shirts, you can think about new ways to style them. Belts are in, and you don’t need a real belt to mix things up. Cheap (non-clothes) alternatives to actual belts would be rope, string and ribbon. Figure out what width/positioning looks best on your body (skinny or thick width and positioning on waist, hips, etc.) and whether or not the shirt would even look good with a belt. As far as other accessories go, think outside of the box. Free yourself to be as outrageous as 2NE1 during their “Fire” days. Sure, you can definitely use conventional items, but don’t hesitate to try new things too. Grab the extra ribbon from one of your new belts, thread your house key through and put it around your neck. Pick a flower from your front yard (de-bug it first!) and pop it behind your ear. It’s great if you can afford a new pair of earrings, but don’t feel like you have to be “normal” to spice up your outfits.

  4. Become your own chef. Tempted to eat out a lot? Try to make a few days a week “experiment” days. If you’re out for lunch (at work or school), invest in a cooler and thermos for these times. Set aside twenty minutes or so the night before or the morning of and try some interesting new foods. Try a pasta mix that’s meant to be chilled, a fun salad (get inspired by places like Panera Bread), or a crisp sandwich. If you need dinner ideas, Google some quick and easy recipes or let your inner alchemist come out and discover what happens if you add a dash of this and pinch of that. If you tell yourself you’ll make whatever you can in “~” minutes, it’s easier than committing to a mysterious number of minutes or hours to “slaving” over the oven. Keep healthy and easily accessible foods around for days when time is nowhere to be found; granola bars, apples and bananas, crackers, cheese, carrot sticks, etc. are a few ideas for starters. If you need to find some enthusiasm for cooking, all you need to do is sit yourself down for a few episodes of a cooking drama (or even My Name is Kim Sam Soon). Watching someone else cook for a few hours might just make you want to try things for yourself.

  5. Cut out unnecessary spending. If you always spend money when you meet with friends, it doesn’t mean you need to become a hermit! Start thinking of ways to have fun without cleaning out your wallet. Instead of going out to lunch, pack a picnic and head to the park. Instead of alchol-based partying, plan “wild” nights like “poetry readings” complete with COFFEE (it’s cheaper than alcohol). Another option is to have a dance party in which you blast everything from Seo Taiji and Boys to BEAST and fuel up on sugary Kool-Aid (lol!). Instead of going out to the movies, “rough” it by finding an online streaming version of something like Tale of Two Sisters and huddle around one person’s computer screen. It’s free and totally adds to the creepy factor (as long as you turn out the lights!).

Yes, these are completely silly ideas for the most part, but I wanted to encourage others to try to think outside of the box when it comes to ~living~. Money is a great thing, but it isn’t everything. Living like this lately has made me realize that it’s pretty fun to be creative in ways that I would normally not. If you’re like me, you can draw inspiration from your interests: G-Dragon, dramas, etc. Make a game of saving money and you may surprise yourself with all the fun you have.

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