The best way to have more money, is to spend less of it. Then you can save more. The modern “American Dream” isn’t anything more than to one day be debt free. And if you’re not in debt, you’re probably living week to week, wondering how in the world you’ll be able to retire one day.
If you have time to read this, you have the time and half the mind to make some changes and implement some new ways to improve you monetary well being. I believe in you. (And I’m not going to tell you to sell your clothes or fill out surveys for an extra $5). Old or young, here are 19 ways that can help you prevent blowing money and start saving on your monthly fortunes.
Student Loans should be avoided at all costs.
If that means you can’t go to school right away, then so be it. The world will keep turning and the job market is ever changing. Maybe work for a year and set aside some cash. Take this time to really figure out what you want to study. This will prevent you from changing your major and spending extra money on excess classes in the future. Check out things like Bright Futures for Florida residents and other scholarships based on your state.
Kill your ego, swallow your pride and be okay with taking time to get your education. College is to help you get ahead in the “real” world. So why would you want to set yourself back with debt and interest that you can’t afford? If that means taking a break from school, then so be it! College doesn’t guarantee a job anymore. Be wary of signing up for a lifetime of loans.
Take. Your. Time. Before. You. Sign.
Have an emergency fund.
The first way to stop being broke, is by being prepared.
Whether that be a fund of $100 or $1000, you should have money that you leave untouched. Yes, it is hard to leave that money alone. Yes, it is hard to put money aside for literally nothing; until you need it for something unannounced.
Bug infestation? Red light ticket? You got robbed? That’s what it’s there for; and trust me, those things happen. Start by setting aside $10 a week. You can have you bank set up a separate savings account or go old school and hide it under your mattress. Although, I don’t encourage the latter, the choice is yours. Get to it, thank me later.
Shop Discount Supermarket Stores.
Forget Walmart’s grocery section. They aren’t as cheap as you think. I will shop there for certain items but never grocery shop there. And Whole Foods is a dream, but they’ll also take your whole paycheck.
I choose to shop at Aldi, where there is everything from fresh organic food options to household items to a section dedicated just to gourmet cheese..at half the price. I mean quality filets wrapped in bacon..at $5? I’m not lying.
The catch? Bring a quarter to get a cart and your own reusable bags. You can also buy bags there. I feel good about not adding to the problem of plastic waste and everyone actually returns their carts to get their quarter back. And you’ll never have to worry about a cart running astray and hitting your lovely BMW that you bought with all the money you saved. Unfortunately Aldi sin’t everywhere, so here’s a link to a site with a list of discount supermarkets all over the U.S.!
Do online shopping while you’re sober.
Be a responsible car owner, even if you aren’t a great driver.
Pay your tickets on time. Late fees are literally you saying “here, I messed up and I messed up again, so please take more of my money.” Seriously, set an alarm on your phone or write it on your calendar.
We live in a wonderful world, where you can compare car insurance and also buy insurance in bulk. If you aren’t buying your car insurance for 6 months, I don’t know what you’re doing. Buying every 6 months, gives you all that time to set aside money every month and you save hundreds of dollars. When you buy for 6 months, the company discounts the overall price. You don’t have to worry about paying every month. Instead, set up another savings account and have money automatically deposited to that account. Write down the date that the insurance is due, and pay it when the time comes.You can also adjust your coverage each time you renew, as long as it is within your states requirements. You’ve got options people!
Save for a new car before you jump into payments. Put as much down as you possibly can; and avoid getting a loan at all costs. If that means you can’t afford the newest, nicest and fastest car then again, so be it.
You will feel much freer driving a functioning vehicle that isn’t crushing your mental and monetary status. Also, get a sunpass/E-pass/whatever-pass for tolls. You can only avoid toll roads so much. You may as well avoid getting fees in the mail for unpaid tolls.
Insure gadget items.
You’ll eventually set your phone on the back of your car and drive off. Your cat will inevitably knock your coffee cup onto your laptop. And yes, you will bring home a one night stand that has actually been eyeing your new apple watch the entire time. Most times, insurance isn’t that much more, whether it be $10 extra a month on your phone plan or paying $100 extra when you buy that new MacBook.
It’s cheaper than replacing the whole thing. Can you tell I’ve been there, done that? Insurance is worth it. Here’s some math, just to show how easy it is. If you reduce going out to eat by just twice a week, you could save $10-$20 a week. Let’s stay on the low end. For $10 a week at 4 times per month, you’ll save at least $40 per month. If you set that aside for 2 months and 2 weeks, you’ll have that money for that insurance. That’s just a loose example; it’s doable!
You should be going out and having fun.
Just do it with a cost effective edge in mind. Wanna go see a movie? Go to a matinee show for $5 rather than $13. Or most theaters offer a monthly package if you like to go a lot. For instance, the movies near me offer a movie club for $10 a month and you can go as much as you want. If you go once, you’ve gained what it’s worth. Also, utilize apps that suggest drink specials and happy hours. Or simply google bars near you with specials. And don’t forget to uber! An uber is cheaper than a DUI every time.
Plan affordable dates.
It’s so easy to pack some snacks and bring a blanket to the park or visit your local botanical gardens. The botanical gardens near me offers free entry every Monday. Trader Joe’s offers bouquets of flowers ranging from $2.99-$10. Not into flowers or being outdoors?
Check local museums for discounted days of the week or or check out local coffee shops around some interesting eclectic areas. Live music is always a plus; some restaurants and bars offer live music for free on specific nights. Some of the best dates that I have ever been on, were the simplest.
Prioritize your health.
Buy prescriptions online or in bigger sums. You can save money on prescriptions by asking your pharmacist about buying in larger quantities. For example, I buy my asthma medications in 3 month supplies. Sometimes I can get the 3rd month for free or an overall discount on my inhalers.
When it comes to medications, make sure you have them but still see if there are ways to make them more affordable. It also helps to buy generic meds; they preform the same function at a much more affordable price. Also, make time to go to the doctor once a year and the dentist as well. It’s important to get your gynecological check ups as a female too.
It’s easier to pay for check up fees, than it is if a major issue goes undetected. Then you’ve got hospital bills and that’s what were really trying to avoid here by prioritizing health.
Start by identifying what you’re willing to actually reduce in cost. If you use your cell phone as a mini-computer for your work, then maybe you should be splurging on unlimited data. But if you aren’t, then maybe you could lessen your phone bill by reducing the data or minutes you buy. I know I text way more than I chat on the phone, so unlimited talk isn’t totally necessary for me.
This is applicable to food costs, electric/gas and water too. Can you dine out less? Buy less drive-thru coffee? Turn off your A/C when you leave the house? Take shorter showers? It’s up to you, but be real with yourself. You don’t have to sit in your hot apartment while starving to death in the dark to cut corners. Also that sounds very uncomfortable.
Another tip is to put bills on auto pay. If you’re following your budget plan, the money will be there. I’m such a stickler about paying late fees. Stop giving away your money and set up auto pay!
Do I need to explain this? Just don’t. You look like a fool and unless you can count cards like Zach Galifianakis in “The Hangover” I don’t want to hear it.
Shop around on big ticket items.
You don’t have to wait for black Friday to buy that bicycle you’ve been eyeing or that laptop either. Most websites run weekly specials or offer coupons. I recently bought my own bicycle. In the cycle dealership stores, the one I wanted easily went for $600+ but then I found something similar through Dick’s sporting goods.
I then kept looking on Amazon and found an even better deal with a bicycle that better fit my needs. Craigslist also has a plethora of bikes that people are getting rid of that were hardly ridden. Apps like Decluttr, Letgo and OfferUp are all great alternatives as well to buy lightly used items. Decide to set aside that money weekly. Then when you have the lump sum for the item you desire, and have done your homework, go for it!
This brings me to my next point- save for splurges.
You’ll feel even more satisfied; you’ve literally earned it. Have savings goals. If you want a tattoo, say okay I need X amount of dollars. Then do it. You can, and you will if you really want it. Sitting through that session will be much more exciting, knowing that you own the ink you wear- fully.
Buy secondhand/used clothes.
I personally love going to second hand stores for clothing items. I know the items won’t shrink and that essentially, nobody else will have the same outfit as me. It feels good reusing something that brought someone else value and can now serve purpose in my wardrobe.
Utilize credit cards in a better way.
Get a credit card with cash back and low apr. The Capital One card is great for earning cash back on all purchases. The citi chase credit card is another great option with low interest. If you have a lot of debt, one way to deal with it is by consolidating debt onto cards with lowest apr. Then transfer balances when interest rises so that you can continue paying on the actual balance, not interest.
Shop like a crazy couponer – without being too crazy.
If you have pets, you know you’re going to buy pet food. If you wear make up, you know you’re going to buy make up. There are price matching apps and simply downloading apps for the stores you shop at will allow you access to weekly deals and coupons for free. Before you rush into the store, pull up the information and give it a quick scan.
I personally choose to buy mostly Elf make up because it’s affordable, quality and the products aren’t tested on animals. Besides, who’s to say a rabbit’s skin will react like mine will anyways?
Have a side hustle.
Whether it’s driving with Uber or waitressing to earn some extra money or volunteering to get your foot in the door for a job, a side hustle helps. It doesn’t have to be entirely draining or time consuming, unless that’s what you’re wanting, just something to bring in some extra cash or opportunities.
Utilize student discounts or state resident discounts.
Spotify, Hulu, gym memberships, yoga classes and libraries are just a few places to mention that offer student discounts. For a while, even Joanne’s fabrics store offered student discounts. Don’t be afraid to ask while at the register, the worst they can say is no and the best they can say is yes; and you save a few bucks!
When heading to theme parks, check for state resident discounts. Disney offers passes on close to 75% of their days, that are discounted nearly $20 for Florida residents. That’s $20 extra that you could put towards gas or food!
Any article, website or video that says you can rid yourself of debt, save money or make cash fast, is lying. This is a process. This is a breaking and making of old and new habits. There is no quick fix- unless you’re willing to enter the black market or sell your body and that’s an entirely new set of skills to learn; and also a different article to read.
These are small changes with big effects; which take time. It may be a month or two before you notice the extra money. It may be a year or two before you notice a decrease in your debts. Be patient.
The results will come when you put in the work. It’s all achievable, but patience is key. Only you can make the decision to lead a more responsible monetary life. Only you can make that happen on your own timeline. Hopefully these apps and links can help facilitate your journey. I hope I’ve been able to enlighten you to some of things that I implement into my own life and have found successful.
Thanks for reading! If you have any tips, feel free to share them with me 🙂