8 Ways to Save Money While Still Enjoying Life

With the tough aspects of the economy and job market, it seems like everyone is looking for new ways to save money. Many money-saving articles center around cutting unnecessary expenses out of your life and while this is necessary for some people, not everyone wants to go the minimalist route. If you want to find ways to save money without completely cutting “non-essential” purchases out of your life, there are several things you can do. Here are some ideas.

1. Find Free Alternatives

Before purchasing items, see if you can find a free option first. Borrow books from your local library instead of buying them. Use resources such as freecycle and craigslist to find local sources for free items. It’s also important to participate on the giving side as well. Giving away items you no longer want or use frees up space in your home and reduces time spent cleaning and maintaining things.

2. DIY

Of course one of the best (and greenest) ways to save money is to do things yourself instead of buying stuff. DIY can mean many different things depending on your needs and skill set. There are a number of things people commonly call upon and pay services for that you can simply take the time to do on your own. For example, doing your own yard work, performing general basic maintenance on your home, washing your own car, and even cutting your own hair are several ways to eliminate ongoing costs each month. With so many internet resources showing how to do things, it’s easy to learn a new skill.

3. Repurpose

Rather than buying disposable items and throwing away things you no longer want or need, start thinking of ways to reuse and repurpose items. This can take many forms. You can save money on fertilizer by composting your kitchen and gardening waste. Another idea is to use worn or ill-fitting T-shirts as cleaning rags or to make rugs. Many sustainability and homesteading blogs and resources have ideas for repurposing and reusing a variety of items.

4. Work Together

Working with your community can be a great way to pool resources so everyone gets the maximum benefits for the minimum contribution. A community garden is one example of this. Another example is forming a rotating babysitting or carpool group with friends who have children of similar ages. By splitting the workload between a large number of people, everyone can save both time and money on common chores and services.

5. Take Advantage of Loyalty Programs

Rather than giving up your daily latte or frequent movie dates, save money with loyalty and rewards programs. Nearly all restaurants, theaters, and other entertainment providers have some form of membership or loyalty rewards programs that offers significant savings. Many programs allow you to keep membership information on a smartphone so you don’t need to worry about cluttering up your wallet with membership cards.

6. Buy and Use Gift Cards

Many retailers and restaurants offer incentives for buying gift cards. If you have several places you frequently shop or eat, buy gift cards and take advantage of the bonuses. Some grocery stores even offer bonus rewards points or other benefits with gift card purchases so you can save money on your weekly shopping as well.

7. Find the Best Deals on Devices

Cell phones, television, and the Internet are services we use every day, but there are several ways to cut costs without sacrificing the quality content you enjoy. Research online subscription streaming services or cable packages that cater to the channels you watch and find the best deals by comparing multiple TV providers. The Internet makes it easy to research current cable subscription rates and cell phone plans, so you can determine which company offers the best value for your needs and budget.

When you are trying to save money, there are many things you can do that don’t involve simply cutting out unnecessary expenses. Being proactive and putting effort into learning new skills and eliminating routine expenses by being more hands on is one way. You can also research providers and find loyalty rewards programs to get the best deals on goods and services you regularly use.

Review: JORD Wood Watches

In the last few years, since the rise of the cell phone, watches have largely become a fashion statement. Many of us don’t need them to tell the time, but they can still make a powerful fashion statement. If you are looking for a chic watch that is made with sustainable materials, consider the unique JORD Wood Watches.

JORD sent my Mrs. SPF and I wood watches for review. I received the Sully Natural Green, and Mrs. SPF received the Ely Cherry, which she absolutely loves. It’s important to note, first of all, that wood varies in color and grain, and sometimes the coloring isn’t exact. Because these watches are made from wood, each one is unique. If you order a Sully Natural Green, it would likely look different to mine; they wouldn’t be exact matches. I was a little disappointed with this fact because my watch looks a little more brown than it does green. Even so, I find the watch attractive and stylish, and, once it was adjusted, comfortable to wear. If you need to make adjustments, you can get information from JORD. Our jeweler was reluctant to adjusted our watches, due to their being made out of wood rather than metal. However, this was a small detail, and adjusting the watches wasn’t a big deal.

One of the things I love about this watch is the sustainability aspect. I haven’t been able to completely verify the sourcing of the materials, but JORD says that the wood is sourced from all over the world from sustainable materials. The company says it doesn’t cut down forests to create these wood watches. For the eco-conscious, this is good news. It’s great to know that you can wear something uniquely stylish that isn’t destroying the environment.

I also like that this is a relatively small operation. JORD operates in the United States with about 15 people, and also employs around 15 people overseas to manufacture the watches. This is one of the downsides to the company, is that the team in China puts together the watches. JORD uses high quality movements in its watches, and is switching from premium Chinese Citizen Miyota movements to premium Japanese Seagull movements. JORD launched in November 2013 and remains somewhat small. However, the company hopes to expand. JORD also hopes to continue to add sustainable materials in the manufacture of the watches as the company expands.

Final verdict: I really enjoy my JORD wood watch. It’s different, and it’s attractive and comfortable. I also support the company’s efforts to be sustainable. While there are a few issues I have with the company, overall I think this is a great idea, and this watch would be a stylish accessory to any wardrobe.