ron swanson

How to Ron Swanson Your Life and Save $100 a Month

ron swanson

“Any moron with a crucible, an acetylene torch, and a cast iron waffle maker could have done the same. The whole thing only took me about 20 minutes. People who buy things are suckers.”

– Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation

He builds his own chairs. He carved his own harp (while drinking whiskey). He can McGiver anything and everything with a hammer and a saw.

Ron Swanson – the straight-faced, no B.S., lovable libertarian from the show Parks and Recreation – is a Do-It-Yourself God.

Every time I watch him, I find myself agreeing with his extreme, manny and down-right practical dogma. I’ve been tempted to tattoo a few Ron Swanson phrases to my arm, if only to remember his sage words that I also strive to live by:

1. Never Half-Ass Two Things. Whole-Ass One Thing.

2. Turkey Can Never Beat Cow.

3. People Who Buy Things Are Suckers.

The last quote (and my new personal favorite) came from a recent Parks and Recreation episode where Ron forges a pair of wedding rings in 20 minutes with a wall sconce and a cast iron waffle maker. Check out this clip:

Be Like Ron Swanson and Save $100’s

Okay, so you actually don’t need a cast iron waffle maker and a blow torch to save money. Here are a few easy Ron Swanson-like activities that you can do yourself today (without a shopping spree at Home Depot) that will help you save at least $100 a month.

1. Ron Swanson Your Coffee – Grind and Brew Your Beans.

Ron Swanson would say that you shouldn’t give up the things you love just save money – so ignore the financial advice that tells you otherwise.

“If you give up your daily coffee at Starbucks, you’ll save $780 a year!!!” screams every frugal, personal finance guru on the internet. Like Ron Swanson, I hate this advice. If you’re a daily coffee drinker (raises hand), why would you ditch something that you love that helps get you through the morning?

Cutting out coffee? Dumb. Making it yourself? Smart.

I’m personally a no-frills, strong, dark roasted black coffee girl (insert “I like my coffee like I like my men” joke here). That means when I walk into Starbucks, I pay $2.00 for a tall brewed Cup-o-Joe. That’s $60 a month – not bad for something I love that kick starts my day in a good way.

But let’s be like Ron Swanson and take a look at how much a DIY coffee would cost: for example, you can buy a 40 ounce bag of Starbucks brand French roast whole coffee beans online for $26. Even with a conservative estimate, that’s almost 3 months worth of coffee at about $9 a month.

Possible savings? Assuming you already have a coffee grinder and French press (I got both for $20 at Goodwill), you could save $51 a month.

2. Ron Swanson Your Dinner – Double Your Food With Friends.

Going out to a restaurant is for suckers, especially if you have a Ron Swanson appetite. Want to get twice the food for half the cost? Try hosting a dinner party instead. And you don’t even have to cook (though Ron Swanson would argue that you should know how to cook, especially steak).

Commonly known as a potluck, I lovingly refer to these social gatherings as a “let’s invite my friends over so they can help stock my fridge and wine rack” evening. Okay, that sounds selfish and crass. But in reality, if I invite my friends over for a party and ask them to bring a favorite dish or a bottle of wine, I end up with more food and alcohol than I started with. I get an awesome evening full of good food and people I like and a week’s worth of groceries and drinks afterward. That’s a win-win.

Possible savings? $25 (two bottles of wine and a leftover veggie tray)

3. Ron Swanson Your Workouts – Ditch Your Gym. Seriously.

It took me a few months to convert to this no-gym philosophy, but you seriously do not need a membership or classes to stay in shape. If you have the right fitness goal and the right motivation and accountability, you’ll be able to stay in shape.

You may be asking, “What about weight equipement? Dumbbells and heavy lifting doo-dads?” Guess what? You already have all of that! The human body is a natural weight machine. Pushups, burpees, lunges, jogging, tricep dips… and you don’t need a single piece of equipment except for a good pair of tennis shoes. Throw in a fitness buddy and you’ve got all the motivation you need.

Possible savings? $40 a month for a gym membership.

Just remember: whenever you’re considering a do-it-yourself project over buying something, always make sure it’s worth your time. Three hours to make homemade soap that you could buy for $0.99? Not worth it. Three hours to make your own canoe? Ron Swanson approved.

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8 thoughts on “How to Ron Swanson Your Life and Save $100 a Month

  1. Money Beagle

    I have a copy of the ‘Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness’ hanging on my cubicle wall. I look at it every now and then and find myself nodding about one element or another.

    Reply
  2. Jeremy

    Ron Swanson is an idol to all who watch him. But through his comic relief, he does have a clear message to not be a sheep or an idiot. We really don’t need to buy a bunch of stuff and we should know how to do certain things that not just men but any human with half a brain should know. Anyone know where to buy a life size Ron Swanson cutout?

    Reply
  3. Joel Larsgaard

    Gotta love the Swanson. That last tip is my favorite. Paying for a gym membership (that often goes unused) sucks really bad. But people keep doing it to themselves. Thanks for the great tips Stephanie.

    Reply
    1. Stephanie Halligan Post author

      I’m actually writing a post about gym memberships, because I keep doing that to myself too!

      Reply
  4. femmefrugality

    That clip is too funny! Ron Swanson is the only reason my fiance will sit through that show with me. While we might not make our own rings, we do try to do all the other stuff you mention! (Except coffee. We’re not big coffee drinkers here.) And more…if it’s something we can do ourselves, we do it.

    Reply

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