Sunday via Syl: 10 easy ways to save money (by spending less)
You know those YouTube videos where a person (identity not revealed beyond their occupation and salary) talks about how they spend their money?
I’ve watched a ton of those videos before and earlier this morning, I was watching how this 41-year-old doctor living in New Jersey spends her $1.3M income.
We all have a different lifestyle and budget, so saving money will look a tad different from one person to another, and I’ve listed some easy ways everyone can implement in their lives.
1. Use a cash back program when shopping online.
You can download extensions that help you save money.
- Honey is a browser extension/add-on that tests millions of coupon codes for you to use and helps you get the best deal (when shopping on Amazon, it’ll alert you if a product is available for a lower price from a different seller/listing and can pull up a price history of items on Amazon).
- Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) is a website that pays you to shop online. It allows you to earn cash back at 2,500+ stores. Most of the places give around 3-10% cash back which might not seem like a lot, but it does add up over time. You can also share your referral link with friends and family and earn $25 if they sign up and spend $25 within the first quarter.
*Click HERE to sign up using my referral link to help your girl out!*
- Swagbucks is a site that rewards you for answering surveys, watching videos, etc. You earn Swagbucks (abbreviated SB) that you can cash in for free gift cards.
*Sign up HERE using my referral link* P.S. We both get 500 SB bonus when you sign up and earn 500 SB within the first month!
2. Cut your own hair.
My dad asked me to help him cut his hair yesterday. I’ve never met someone more trusting in asking me to cut their hair. Anyway, point is, unless you want your hair looking a certain way that you, yourself, or a friend/family member cannot help achieve, then grab a pair of scissors (or maybe order a pair of hair-cutting scissors first), find a tutorial, sit in front of a mirror, and do it yourself! For ladies, some spend an upwards of $50+ for a trim??? I could never justify $50 for someone to trim my hair an inch.
3. Buy everyday essential (non-perishables) in bulk when there’s a sale.
When there’s a big sale on something that won’t go bad like food does, then consider buying more than the usual one or two you purchase. If it’s something you know you can finish before the expiration date in bulk, then you do you, no judgment (unless the store limits the amount you can purchase). I once bought 10 bags of my favorite snack at a supermarket one time because it was on sale, did I regret that? No. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Did my body hate me after all those snacks? Maybe just a bit.
4. Use the 24-Hour Rule.
If you’re tempted to buy some non-essential items like clothing, new sneakers, the most recent gadget, just give yourself 24 hours to think it through before impulsively hitting that purchase button. Don’t buy something cheap or on sale for the the sake of it being cheap.
- Another thing I like doing is calculating purchases by the amount of time I’d have to work to buy it. Like if I made $30/hour and the shoes I want are $90, are the shoes worth working three hours for?
If you’re online shopping, keep it in your cart to purchase after sleeping on it for at least 24 hours. Is it something you truly need? Something that will improve your quality of life and make you happier?
5a. Cancel (recurring) subscriptions you don’t use.
While we’re on the topic of shopping and what not, go through recurring subscriptions that you haven’t been using–that cable you’re not watching? Magazine subscription you haven’t read in months? A gym membership you haven’t been taking advantage of? The only subscription I have is Amazon Prime…leading me to point 5b:
5b. Share subscription services.
No shame in the sharing game! Not sure about you, but the only friends with benefits I would engage in is having smart friends/family who are willing to share their streaming services account(s) with me in turn for me helping out with another (Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO GO, Spotify, Disney Plus, Crunchyroll, etc.). Is there a point to paying individually for services if you can share it with no problems?
6. Put your bills on auto-pay.
This ensures bills are paid on time, in full to avoid any extra late charges. Sometimes some loan providers offer a small interest rate deduction if you enroll in auto-pay.
7. Cook more often.
Eating out and ordering takeout really adds up and hurts the wallet. It can be a hard habit to break, especially when your schedule is jam-packed, but cooking doesn’t have to take hours – there’s a ton of quick and easy recipes out there! Plus, when you’re cooking, you 100% know what ingredients are in your food. Let’s say takeout cost you $40 for dinner and you do it five times a week, that’s $200/week you’re spending. With that $40, you can go to your local supermarket and grab a pack of fresh boneless chicken breast for and some veggies that will last you several meals.
- That routine of grabbing a coffee, latte, or bubble tea before getting into the office or during lunch? Instead of spending $5 on that every single day, is there a way for you to make your coffee and tea at home to limit the “oh it’s okay, it’s only $5” before it adds up to over $1,000/year?
8. Plan gift-giving in advance.
As much as we sometimes look forward to the holidays, they can also be the most stressful times of the year. Some people are money-saving experts and take advantage of clearance and post-holiday sales (Black Friday, Boxing Day, summer sales, etc). It is something I aspire to become better at. Give yourself time to think of thoughtful gifts and write a list and track your spending so you don’t overbuy!
9. Maintain an emergency fund.
You know how people always say to have three to six months of your income set aside for any unexpected emergencies? Yes, do it. Having an emergency fund will give you peace of mind, meet unexpected financial challenges and help you to reduce debt. You should not be running on zero dollars in your savings. Some of you are probably like, yeah, duh, I know….and some of you are like ahhh yikes! What? If this whole thing seems too unrealistic or overwhelming, just start small with $500 in your emergency fund, then build up as you are able.
10. Track your spending!
A lot of people cringe at hearing “budget”, but how else are you supposed to manage what you don’t measure? The surest way of saving money is to spend less and save more. There’s a LOT of ways to track your cash flow.
- EveryDollar is a budgeting app that helps you create a monthly budget in less than 10 minutes and is tailored for zero-based budgeting, a method where expenses equal your income. It’s free to sign up and create transactions each time you spend. If you want to connect your bank account and expenses, you need to pay for EveryDollar Plus ($129.99 annually).
- Mint.com is widely known and applauded as the gold standard for budgeting tools. It automatically updates and categorizes transactions in real-time so that you can see an accurate picture of your spending. The service also alerts you when you go over budget and provides free credit scores and credit score monitoring.
- You Need a Budget (YNAB) is an app that focuses on having you make a plan for every dollar you earn. That dollar is essentially assigned to a category of bill paying, saving, or investing. By account for every dollar each month, it helps you to cut down on overspending and get you ahead of the curve so you’re not left living paycheck to paycheck.
What are some of your tips on saving money? I’d love to hear it in the comments!
If you enjoyed this list and saved some cash, consider sharing this with a friend and/or subscribing for more content in the future!
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Until next week,