Seeing as the main goal to this blog is to talk about money, and we all want to have more of it, I decided that this week I would to list out my “tips” for saving as much as you can of that precious moolah. And I realize some of these you are going to gaff at (“No cable? Bitch, please), but trust me, you CAN live without these…or at least without one or two.
1) Cable – you don’t need it. That’s right, ladies…you don’t need it. About 5 years ago whenever all the stations switched from analog to digital, I slowly started losing cable channels at the apartment I was renting. At first, it was just 10 or so that were lost, then 20, until finally we were down to the basic NBC, ABC, etc. At that point, my roommates and I had the talk about whether we wanted to spend extra each month on TV. And our answer? No. It just wasn’t worth it. It’s amazing how many good shows are on basic TV, and after a week or two, I didn’t even really miss having it. Besides, anything I really wanted to watch I could see through the internet, Netflix ($7.99/month), or online streaming using ADTHE.net or ChannelChooser.com (this is for you sports fans - it's what I use to watched the World Cup!) . As an added plus, not having it allowed me to focus my extra time on things I really wanted to do. Currently, I’m using that time to fix up my new house and write this blog. And when I need time to turn my brain off, which is what most people use TV for, I just go on Pinterest. That’ll suck you in for hours.
2) Lunch breaks w/ the co-workers. Granted, these are good every once in awhile—it allows you to connect to your co-workers on another level and build camaraderie outside the workplace. However, doing this more than once or twice a week is just stupid. Yes, stupid. Let’s say you buy an “expensive” Lean Cuisine for lunch instead of going out for 4 days out of the week. The money you save ($7 lunch out versus $3 Lean Cuisine) will save you $800 a year. Sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it?
3) Cook. Rocket science, right? You’ve heard it before and now you’ll hear it again. Cooking from home will save you tons in restaurant bills. Plus, guys love a good cook. So double bonus—save money and impress the gents ;) Or screw the guys and impress yourself – even better!
4) Stop outfitting your apartment with 20,000 candles. What I’m really trying to get at here is for you to stop with all the knickknacks. Do I love having candles around? Yes, ma’am. Do I need them in every crevice of my home? Definitely not. We spend so much of our money on “fluff” items in our early 20s – candles, picture frames, cute wine stoppers, clothes for our pups - when we could be using that cash to pay down credit card and student loan debt or building an emergency fund. Think about it this way: buying one $20 Yankee candle a month means that over 5 years, you’ve spent almost $1,200 on candles alone. NOT WORTH IT. So trust me when I say skip all the extras that just take up space without adding value to your life. No one really cares about them anyways.
5) Paying full price for electronics. Ever heard of Black Friday? Utilize it. On top of that, all electronics eventually go on sale. Except for Apple. And in their case, just wait until the new model comes out 6 months after the most recent one has been announced and save a couple hundred. I waited for the iPhone 5 before ever switching to Apple, and got the iPhone 4 for free. I may not be in front of the technology curve, but it’s all I need for what I was wanting out of a phone.
6) Buy used. Talking cars here, ladies. Just driving a car off the lot depreciates it by thousands. Wait a year after the model you’ve had your eye on comes out, and you could save yourself an arm and a leg. Trust me on this…unless you’re making $90K+, you have no reason to be driving a new car. If you make more than that, props to you…buy whatever the hell you want. (Just kidding! Although you do have a little more wiggle room.)
7) Use the library. Seriously, how often do you reread a book? Or watch a DVD over and over again? Newsflash: you can get all of the books and DVDs you want for free by just signing up at your local library. And as libraries are increasing their eBooks presence, you can also download eBooks to your Kindle or Nook for free. It’s like Christmas every day. Don’t get me wrong, I have a good collection of books at my house. But I usually get them as gifts (yes, I actually put them on my wish list) or buy them used on Barnes & Nobles’ website, which saves me about 80% on each book. So if you’re going to buy, never pay full price. Wait a few months, and you can get them uber cheap.
8) Ditch the copycats. Figure out what you really need…and what you really want. Everything else you shouldn’t spend money (or a ton of money) on. For example, I for some reason was really into the color blush for a season. And looking in my closet, I have about 3 blush shirts that are essentially the same shirt. WTF was I thinking? There is no need to have 3 identical shirts. So when you are shopping, think about what you have…and don’t copycat an item you already own.
9) Stop spending $ on trendy clothes. I’m not saying you can’t buy anything trendy because, hello, there is some really cute stuff out there. But please do not spend a ton of money on something that may go out of style next season. Want something fashionable? Go to Forever 21 or H&M…they have cute stuff for cheap, and when the fashion world has moved on to something else a year later, you won’t be killing yourself for spending a ton on one piece of clothing.
10) Find a roommate. Or 3. Roommates can be terrible or awesome – it’s a coin toss. But when you can save $600 a month, they don’t look so bad.
Some of these are just common sense; I know that. But sometimes we all need wake-up calls to what we should be doing. And I get that some of these are uncomfortable to think about doing without (how can I go without watching Game of Thrones?!), but you have to think back to those goals you set after reading my “Goal Setting…and Other Fun Friday Night Activities” post. Is not doing any of these helping you achieve those goals? I didn’t think so ;)
Feel free to share with the rest of our readers any money-saving tips you use in your daily life. We could all use a little extra help!