After living in California for six years, I recently made the move back to my home state of Georgia.
I literally sold or gave away everything and drove across the country.
I was terrified.
The road trip back with my best girlfriend was fun and therapeutic. We laughed, cried and sang along to Madonna and some 90’s rap. I came back to family and some familiarity but I had no job and not much of a plan.
The only thing I knew was I wanted to slow down, live a more affordable life, and be a part of a community. I had to trust that the universe would show me the way. I would be lying if I said it’s been easy and I’m not even sure I made the right choice.
I do know that it’s a work in progress and that I am exactly where I need to be internally. Everyday I read, get outside and keep practicing yoga.
Here are eight ways I saved money and became more resourceful during this transition:
1. Shop at farmer’s markets.
I’ve always shopped at farmer’s markets—eating local and seasonally is very important to me. Research what is growing around you. Visit those farms and pick your own fruit! You will save money and feel good that you picked your food yourself. There is something
satisfying about pulling fruit from the tree. Also, it’s fun to chat with the farmers—ask them questions about their farm and what they’re growing. It’ll be an interesting way to get to know what you’re eating and sometimes they’ll even throw in a little extra.
2. Shop at local thrift stores.
Location is key here. Goodwill is great in small towns and is usually not as picked over as bigger cities. I love finding random coffee mugs and mason jars for pickling. Check for furniture too!
3. Be of service.
Meet your neighbours. Offer to walk their dogs, water their yards or in my case offer a yoga class to the community.
4. Don’t waste food.
I choose my food wisely when I shop. I try to buy real food, not things that come out of a box. Also, things that will stretch and can be versatile, like local eggs—I never leave the market without them.
When things start to wilt or expire, pickle them or toss them in your Vitamix for a smoothie or soup!
5. When the gas tank is half full, fill it up.
I’ve been staying with family and commuting to the city. Traffic is so unpredictable; I’d rather fill up where it’s cheaper and not have to worry about it in the city. Also, gas evaporates quicker when you let it get down towards empty.
6. Move your body.
Where I live, public transport is not really an option—everyone drives everywhere—but I love to walk.
I mean, I really love to walk. If I can walk there I surely will. Think about that: maybe you drive somewhere initially and then walk somewhere else from there.
Walking is the best exercise there is and it gets you out of your head. (Push-ups, squats, and lunges along the way are bonus points!)
7. Transfer your debt.
I was able to transfer one balance to another bank that offered me zero interest for 18 months. This one’s not that major, but helpful if you are in transition.
8. Ask for help.
This one’s huge and most likely the hardest one. At least it was for me.
Your family and friends are there for you. Be humble and honest with where you’re at and what you’re going through. Most likely they’ve been there at some point, too.
If you are reading this and have gone through a difficult time too, I do hope this is helpful, or at least reminds you that you are not alone.
Life will always be full of challenges. With help and support from our friends, family, neighbours and those in our community, we must keep putting one foot before the other and remember that this all will pass. I honestly believe that these individual challenges, as well as the challenges we are experiencing in our world today, teach us things about each other and ourselves.
We are here to learn and grow.
Author: Melanie Kaufman
Editor: Erin Lawson.