Back when I worked in corporate la-la land, we used to use a little tool called Keep, Stop, Start. Whenever you got back from a development course, you had to sit down with your manager and talk through what you were going to keep doing, what you were going to stop doing and what you were going to start doing as a result of what you learned. I thought that since I've tortured so many people with this little exercise in my time as a manager, that it was only fair that I turn the tables on myself and do my own Keep, Stop, Start list. Because let's face it, moving onto a sailboat and cruising full-time is probably the biggest development course I'll ever attend.
As there are no paychecks from corporate la-la land anymore and we'll be living off of our saving as we head off on our little adventure, here is my Keep, Stop, Start list for getting ready to live a very frugal life. (All prices in New Zealand dollars, around .80 to the US dollar.)
Keep - well this list is a little embarrassing given what it starts with...
- Booze - If we stopped drinking completely, we could save a fortune. It costs around $10-14 for a glass of wine when you go out for drinks in Auckland. That's a lot of money. And if you wanted to save money by drinking at home, a 12 pack of Heineken would cost you around $30. But it is nice to catch-up with friends for a vino or two so I've decided to keep booze on my list. However, I just do it a lot less.
- Food - Yep, I'm not going to give up eating. However, I have set myself a budget for how much I spend at the grocery store each month and stick to it. It's kind of fun checking out what is on sale each week and tailoring what we eat around the bargains. I've turned it into a bit of a treasure hunt game.
Start - if you want to live on a budget, you have to start doing a whole lot of things differently...
- Tracking - I track every single penny that we spend so that I can see what we're spending it on and look for ways to cut back. I wouldn't have been able to cut back on our grocery budget if I didn't know where the money was going. And you make really different choices when every penny counts as you know exactly what you're spending it on. Scott thinks I might be a little bit of a control freak, but spreadsheets are fun! And he'll thank me later as we're able to stretch our savings.
- Selling My Clothes - I've been selling my old corporate la-la land wardrobe at a couple of consignment shops. And while I won't get rich from it, I have earned a couple hundred dollars which will definitely come in handy.
Stop - strangely, many of these things have to do with my beauty routine, or lack thereof...
- Coloring My Hair - I haven't colored my hair since June. For the younger crowd out there, this might not seem like such a big deal. But if you're middle aged, you'll get it. It has been fascinating to find out what my natural hair color is and how many gray hairs I actually have. The ones I have are mostly on the top of my head which I can't see, so I pretend they aren't there. And I'm saving around $16 a month on a box of do-it-yourself at home hair color.
- Hair Cuts - I haven't had a proper haircut in months. Unfortunately, it is starting to show and there are only so many ways you can creatively tie your hair back. But getting your hair done in Auckland can be pricey. I won't say how much it costs me as Scott might have a heart attack. Let's just say that I've saved a pretty penny ignoring this part of my beauty routine.
- Getting My Nails Done - I haven't had a manicure or pedicure in ages. I used to love getting these done as a little treat to myself. Now I treat myself with reading books on sailing. Not quite the same thing.
- Buying Clothes - I haven't bought any new clothes since June. Or shoes. Living on a sailboat means I won't need to keep my corporate la-la land wardrobe updated. And I have plenty of casual clothes already for living on a boat. So, no new clothes in months. Scott, I bet you're impressed with this one!
- Coffee - No, I still drink coffee. I just drink it at home. We had a great little coffee shop at work and I would get a trim, flat white coffee every day around 10:00 am. And often a little treat from the bakery case. Coffees can cost around $4-5 here, so getting rid of this daily habit has saved me oodles. My waistline thanks me too. But I do miss those banana chocolate chip muffins.
So that's my list. What's on your Keep, Stop, Start list?
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