16 Clever Ways to Save Money Now
by Tiffany Walking Eagle | 7-minute read
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There’s nothing wrong with buying things you like or spending money to pamper yourself on occasion (in my head, I’m hearing Tom and Donna from Parks and Rec say “Treat yo’ self!” in unison.) However, most of us could stand to spend a little less dough once in awhile, while some of us need to save cash, like, yesterday. Saving money doesn’t have to be a drag either, and you don’t have to turn into a total miser; it can even be fun, forcing you to get more creative with your time and money usage!
Whether you’re on a tight budget or just looking to cut back on your spending, check out the simple but crafty tips below.
Take advantage of YouTube tutorials instead of hiring someone.
Do you tend to hire a handyman for household repairs or improvements? If so, you could definitely save some cash by checking out YouTube for the simple fixes. Armed with the tools you need and some patience, you may be able to repair things on your own without too much hassle. Even my dear sweet mother has fixed a minor problem with her car by watching “a Youtube” (anyone else’s parents say this? Sigh) so if she can, I’m betting you can too.
Do your own nails.
Nail salons can get pretty pricey, so doing DIY manis and pedis at home can save you some major mullah. Check out my nail hack article here to make at-home nails quicker and easier.
Make coffee at home.
Do you really need your daily Starbucks to survive? No. You want it, but you don’t need it. Let’s say your daily coffee costs you $3.00 (could be a lot more), and you buy it Monday through Friday. That’s 15 bucks a week, and 60 bucks a month just on coffee! Instead, save money by making coffee at home. No need to never buy your fancy drink again though; make it a weekly treat instead of a daily one to cut costs but still get your fix.
Cut cable & switch to Netflix or Hulu.
Switching from cable TV to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu can save you quite a bit of cash every month. Netflix and Hulu subscriptions start at $7.99 per month, and the ad-free version of Hulu is $11.99 a month.
When you do shop online, sign up for Ebates. It’s a free cashback website with tons of affiliates from airlines to department stores and everything in between. You’ll make cash back on things you were planning to buy anyway. Once you sign up for Ebates, you can download their cashback button, and it will let you know if they offer a rebate for items you’re shopping for online. Super simple!
Reduce monthly subscriptions.
There are tons of fun monthly boxes and online subscriptions these days for everything from cosmetics to clothes to streaming services; they’re typically affordable, but the costs do add up quickly! Take a bit of time to sort through your many monthly subscriptions, and nix the ones you don’t use or need.
Cut down on eating out.
This one is kind of a no-brainer, but eating out can get really pricey. If you tend to eat out multiple times a week or month, determine to cut back the number of times you do. You’ll be surprised how much you can save.
Pack a lunch & meal plan.
Take a few hours on Sundays (or whatever day you’re off) and cook up a bunch of meals. Hit up Pinterest if you have trouble thinking of stuff to make; you’ll find everything from budget freezer meals to one-pan skillets to instant pot recipes…and more. Meal prepping can actually be fun, and you’ll feel so accomplished afterward! Put on some music, pour yourself a glass of wine, and get to it. Not only are you going to not eat greasy fast food for lunches this week, but you’ll being saving money too.
Learn to bargain shop...even at the grocery store.
Get familiar with clearance aisles and overstock stores like Marshall’s and TJ Maxx when shopping for clothes and household goods. You can also save on groceries by hunting for stuff on sale and looking for discount stickers on various items you already buy. Typically things that are close to the use-by date go on sale; just be sure to use them quickly. Grocery stores also have discount sections, usually located near the back of the store, and you can find some pretty cool (sometimes weird) stuff back there. Buying mostly discount foods does require you to be a bit more flexible with your meal planning, but just get creative!
Opt for cheaper cell phone plans.
Prepaid phone plans like Boost Mobile, Straight Talk, and Cricket Wireless are often significantly cheaper than contracts, plus you have the freedom of changing your plan if you wish without the hefty fees. You can purchase a phone through them, or you can bring any unlocked phone to get your service started. I personally use Cricket. They were bought by AT&T a while back, so their coverage is pretty good, and I only pay $55 a month for unlimited high-speed data.
Learn how to quell your need for instant gratification.
This is more of a life tip, but you really can save money if you learn the difference between needs and wants. Rather than immediately buying that cool gadget you really want, ask yourself if you have to have it right now. Chances are, you don’t, so plan to save up for a month or two and buy it then instead.
Plan date nights and nights out better.
No need to eliminate your social life to save money! You can still go out and have fun with friends or have your weekly date night with your partner. Your friends planning to go out for dinner and drinks this weekend? Eat dinner at home, then meet up for a beer or two afterward. Looking for a fun but cheap date night? Split dessert at a local restaurant. Better still, pack a picnic, go for a bike ride, or watch a movie in.
Thrift shop instead of buying new.
There’s something addicting about the hunt of finding a cute piece in a thrift store. I challenged myself to buy only thrifted clothing for about 10 months, and it was actually tons of fun. I probably spent less than $200 (roughly 20 bucks a month) on clothing for all those months, and I got tons of fun pieces I love.
You can even get thrifted household goods, furniture, appliances, decor, and more; I once got an adorable charcuterie set, still in the box, for $4.50 as well as a cute glass carafe for my coffee bar for just 25 cents; I later found that same carafe on Amazon for $12. Score! Facebook Marketplace is also awesome for second-hand items.
Set your bank account to save money automatically.
Oftentimes online banking accounts offer the option to put money from your checking into your savings account automatically. I set my bank account to automatically save $25 every time a paycheck for myself or my husband gets deposited. Even if you can only afford to save $5, it adds up over time, and having savings automatically set is convenient so you don’t have to think or stress about it.
Try the cash method.
Instead of charging up your debit or credit card for everything, take out a set amount of cash for the week and stick to that for your spending, whether it be groceries, clothing, or other needs. Watching cash disappear from your wallet makes you far more conscious of how much you spend versus sliding your card—er, I mean, inserting the chip? (Doesn’t sound as cool…)
Work out at home versus the gym.
Gyms are great, but since there are so many ways to work out and free resources to learn how these days, gym memberships aren’t a necessity. If you’re into yoga, I recommend Yoga with Adriene, as she offers tons of free full workout videos. Check out Pinterest for other at-home or outdoor workouts. If you still like having some guidance in your workouts, Aaptiv is an awesome, affordable option.
What are your favorite ways to save? Let me know in the comments!