Saving money feels great, amirite? So regardless of your financial situation, it’s always nice to pay a little less when the opportunity presents itself.
And you probably don’t realize how much you can save in a single week. Below you’ll find 10 tips designed to help you cut back a little – or a lot. Enact one, two, or all 10 and see dollar signs — up to 250 of them.
1. Say No to Automation
It sure is convenient, but automated billing might be draining your account. Print your credit and debit card statements this month to see what you’re paying for. Perhaps you have subscriptions to both Netflix and Hulu. Choose one of these duplicated services and save a good chunk of change.
You might also be spending money on services you no longer use or need. I found that I was still paying a $20 per month gym membership I had while living in Mississippi; I haven’t lived there for over two years.
2. Snack Smart
You know it’s 3 PM every day because your stomach starts to grumble. And when you give into those grumbles, you affect your finances. It’s no surprise that vending machine prices are higher than what you’d pay for snacks in bulk; the same goes for items purchased from convenience stores or take-away eateries.
Plan ahead for your hunger pangs and buy a box of your favorite snack. Pre-portion it so you’ll have enough for the week. I stock up on Kashi Bars and bring 5 apples to work on Mondays. I save around $20 per week by bringing in healthy snacks as opposed to hitting the vending machine every day.
3. Become a Repairman (or Woman)
I’m not suggesting you get a second job. But if you’re thinking of buying a new pair of boots this week because your current pair has worn-out soles, you should consider your repair options. Taking them to a local cobbler will surely be cheaper than replacing the entire pair. Plus, if you love the shoes you already have, this is a win-win.
The same goes for shirts with missing buttons, pants that are now too big or a computer that runs slower than before. Check with an expert to see if they’re fixable before you buy brand new. If you can save money by fixing it, you’ll be happy you did.
4. Smartly Buy in Bulk
Big-box shops try to convince you to buy everything in bulk. While the price-per-unit listed on the price tag can have you seeing dollar signs, it’s not worth it if you won’t use all of what you buy.
The next time you go to your local warehouse store, seek out what you use regularly — and what won’t go bad before you use it. Consider purchasing paper products, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, and anything else you use daily.
5. Be a Cheap Date
We’re not suggesting you make your date pay, or that you dine and dash. It is, however, a great idea to be more budget-conscious when you go out, whether with a significant other or with a friend. Try to find free or low-cost activities, which will save both of you some green.
Rather than a fancy dinner, you could stay home and cook together. You could plan a Netflix marathon instead of going to the theater. You could go thrifting instead of shopping at the local mall. No matter what you like to do, there’s probably a cheaper, equally-as-fun alternative.
6. Budget Your Meals
Many single professionals find themselves eating out often. And, hey, they might be onto something: sometimes it’s cheaper to buy dinner for one than it is to buy all of the ingredients and cook dinner for one.
If you fall into this category, make a budget of how much you can spend per week on food – and stick to it. Track how much you spend on groceries and deduct your restaurant meals, too. This way, you know when you have room to splurge, or when you should eat at home for a few days.
I was spending about $130 per week on groceries for two. After making a realistic budget, I spend $180 on groceries every two weeks, saving me a cool $80 per week.
7. Shop Smarter, Too
You can enjoy a smaller food budget if you know how to shop. Many professional savers swear by couponing. I don’t expect you to become an extreme couponer, prepping and planning for days prior to a shopping trip. But cutting coupons can help you save money on items that you’d buy anyway, and it doesn’t take much effort to do so.
You should also make sure you always go to the grocery store with a list. This will ensure you buy only what you need. Everything looks delicious, but a list will keep you focused on what you need. Maybe next time, frosted donut.
8. Cell Out
You can’t live without your Smartphone, but you can probably live with less of it. Many cell phone plans come with an unnecessary amount of data, minutes or text messages. Cut back on your usage and get a smaller, less pricey plan to match. With the prevalence of free, wireless Internet, you can check your e-mail, social media, and texts regularly. You’ll simply do so without a hefty price tag.
I just did this with my cell phone provider. I was paying $180 for a two-person family plan. By cutting down the data to the amount we actually use, we saved $90 a month!
9. Break for the Bank
The bank wants your money. And, once they have it, they’re going to do whatever it takes to keep it. That’s why you should take time this week to ask if there’s any way to save money on the maintenance fees that come with your account. Perhaps you could save yourself a checking-account fee by switching to direct deposit, or save the materials fee by switching your statements from paper to digital. The consultant at your bank wants to make you happy, so he or she will gladly seek out ways to help you save.
10. Ask For It
There’s no shame in asking business managers and owners for a discount. Maybe there’s something on special you missed, or maybe you might get a little something special simply because you asked. This is especially true if you have a student ID, if you’re a veteran or if you’re part of another group that regularly receives discounts.
Regardless of whether or not you’re successful, you’ll know that you’re walking away with the best price available. A guilt-free conscience and a potentially fatter wallet? I’ll take it.
What are your tips for saving money?