After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we could all use a few new tricks to save more money. I know my reserves have been depleted. I’ve managed to develop a few habits over the years that have helped me save money in “unexpected” ways.
Now, I am no financial planner. In fact, I did really poorly in accounting in college. I didn’t do too much better in finance. However, as a millennial (Have I mentioned how much I dislike the fact that I’m a millennial?), I was able to purchase a house on my own, purchase a car (that is almost paid off), contribute to my 401k, and have a fairly comfortable number in my savings account. All of this to say, don’t go to any sort of money expert and say, “Well this blog that I read told me to do this.”
Automate your savings.
One of the easiest ways to save more money is to automate it. I set up my bank to move $100 to my savings account every week. Now, you might be able to do more, you may be able to do less. Maybe you can only save every other week. That’s fine! Just automate it so you don’t have to think about saving. If you think about it, you’re more likely to find an excuse not to do it.
Now, as for the amount you’ll save, play with it a bit. I started at $25/week. Then, after a couple of paychecks, I bumped it up to $50. After a couple more, I was able to bump it up again. Save what you can without feeling the pinch too hard.
Take advantage of cash back.
There are SO MANY different ways you can utilize cash back. One of my favorite ways is Rakuten (formerly eBates). If you shop online, you can automatically earn cash back on your orders from a lot of different stores. Earlier this month, I got 8% cash back from Old Navy on an order of activewear. You then get a check quarterly. If you use my link, you even get a $10 bonus just for making your first purchase!
I’m also a big fan of utilizing credit cards…if you have the means to pay them off. I tend to put most purchases on my various credit cards, and pay them once or twice a month. Currently, I’m racking up my cash back in case of a rainy day…or maybe a vacation.
Hint: I learned a trick where, if you pay your credit cards twice a month to pay off the balance, it actually helps boost your credit score!
A Cash Envelope
I haven’t done this in a while (#holidays), but whenever you go grocery shopping, get $20 cash back. Then, put it in an envelope. You can use this envelope in a couple of different ways. It can be a super, back up savings envelope, or you can use it as your spending money. For me, it’s a little bit of both. I purchased my reading chair with my envelope cash. If I’m going out with friends, I’ll use envelope cash.
If you find yourself easily swiping that card or tapping your phone every time you pass a Starbucks, maybe try cash instead. When you’re out, no more coffee that week. To that point…
Spend a month (or a week) of no spending.
Now, this is no unnecessary spending. You can still buy groceries or gas so you can make it to work. However, you don’t get to eat out at restaurants and you can skip a happy hour with your girlfriends. If you find that the money you’re making isn’t going as far as you’d like, this is a great place to start.
You can’t even imagine the Facebook groups I’m in where I see girls complaining about not having enough money, only to post the next day about how they’re headed to the nail salon to get their new SNS dip whatever.
Now, don’t take everything out of your life that makes you happy or keeps you sane. Just, if you’re having trouble with money, cut out the unnecessary expenditures first.
Side Hustle = Savings
Now, if this blog made any money (seriously, peeps, click some darn links!), I’d be funneling that money into my savings or paying down some debt. If you work and have a side hustle, you should take every “extra” dollar to save or to pay down debt.
Sell what you don’t need.
I have not had much luck on apps like Poshmark, but I have had some decent success with selling items through Facebook Marketplace. It’s only $10 here or $40 there, but it can definitely help you out. That treadmill you never use? Sell it. The bike in the garage you swore you’d ride to work? Sell it. The dresser you’ve been meaning to upgrade? Sell it and put the money toward the upgrade!
There are also various stores that will buy back items from you for store credit. 2nd & Charles is one of my favorites for this. I don’t often sell back books, but it’s nice to have store credit to replace those books I just sold to them. It’s a never ending cycle.
Now, there are plenty of cases for donating items, but there are also opportunities where people are looking for discounted, used items.
Whether you’re making five figures, six figures, or maybe even seven figures, everyone could stand to save more money. Circumstances arise where you realize that you weren’t ready financially. While you may not be able to be ready for everything, hopefully you can at least get guac at Chipotle next time.
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Photos courtesy of Unsplash.