Most of us need to budget to live. How tight your personal budget is depends on your financial goals, where you’re at with them, and a whole slew of other factors. What I do know, is everyone enjoys saving a little money here and there. The following is a compilation of advice I’ve heard, read about, and come up with on my own. I enjoy studying personal finance and budgeting while working toward personal financial goals.
Tricks to help you save money:
Do your own beauty services: My hairstylist will hate this one, and rightfully so. But if you’re batting down the hatches and really, truly trying to save in every area of your life, learn to color your own hair for a time. Keep it simple and keep it conditioned. Get minimalistic haircuts, and do your other beauty services, including your nails. Watch YouTube for pointers, and save a few bucks.
Car and home insurance: When was the last time you got a few auto insurance quotes? It can be a chore, but the only way to know for sure if you’re getting the best deal is to check around. If you ask your agent for the best price on your current policy, sometimes there are a few things they can do too. This move can save a bit of money, and in some cases, a ton. My husband and I just did this and are saving almost $100 a month.
Condense your TV streaming services: If you still pay for Direct TV or other cable TV services, I don’t even know you. Seriously, why? But, if you’re like most of us these days, you’ve accumulated more than one TV streaming service. Whether it’s because you “needed” it to watch your favorite show, or it offered a free trial period, you probably don’t need more than one service now. Or, pick a couple and axe the rest. I mean, do you really watch THAT much TV? If so, well, that’s a whole other conversation.
Take advantage of happy hours and appetizers: Anyone remember Rachel Ray’s $40 a Day show? Most of the time, she dined during happy hours for dinner or ordered off the appetizer menu to save money. These tips are invaluable to saving money at restaurants. Also, they can help you try items at higher end places you may otherwise not want to fork out the money for. Plus, the portions are usually a little more sensible, thus helping your waistline as well. Fun fact: I met my husband while using this tip 10 years ago in downtown Portland. So, you never know. This one could lead you to love too.
Are you really using all that data? Check your cell phone bill to see how much data you’re really using each month. If you’re on wifi most of the time, it’s probably not much. If you’re using a ton for work then it’s probably worth comparing unlimited data plans. But if you’re not using much or those data usage habits can be cleaned up a bit, that’s probably worth checking into too. This one move could save you anywhere from $10 a month on up, just by doing a quick check-in with your carrier.
Make dining out a special treat: Dining out all the time will expand your waist and flatten your wallet. As a lover of eating out, I’ve lessened the habit by cooking at home and bringing my lunch to work most days. Breakfast is almost always at home, and making double meals and freezing extras has become a regular occurrence at our house to make the most out of our resources.
Become a frequent flier at your public library: I love the library and it’s one of my suggestions for free things to do this March. It’s for a good reason, too. I’ve probably saved thousands of dollars and gotten as many hours of free entertainment from my public library.
Make your favorite coffee drinks at home: My husband and I have taken to making our coffees at home every day, with an exception here and there for special treats. This one step has saved us a ton of money, especially on the more expensive cold brews and “fun” coffee drinks. Again, it’s probably saving us a ton in calories too.
Make a grocery list and stick to it: We plan our meals for the week, make a list, then buy the items off that list. It sounds simple, but so many of us go to the store and throw in extras that add up and then we don’t use them. The other side of this item is to then actually use the items you buy and incorporate them into meals and snacks for the week.
Stop buying bottled water: Refill 1- or 3-gallon jugs at local water stands, or buy a water filter for your home. It will save you money while being kinder to the environment.
Get generic: Try the generic version of medicines, food, even cosmetics. You might be surprised at how good the quality is with certain items, so much so that they might be better than the brand-name.
Buy larger quantities: If you use something repeatedly, buy in bulk. Doing so will save you a ton of money and time over the long haul.
It never hurts to ask: Always ask for discounts. You never know when a business offers locals’ discounts, AAA, AARP, military, or other discounts. In Las Vegas, I can think of at least one restaurant that will give you a free hot dog if you happen to be named their name of the day. That’s a free lunch!