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The biggest part of saving money is… not spending money. I have had my 2002 VW ever since the year 2002. My little car got me around through 15 years of my life.
You can be social, grow your career and continue to put money in your savings.
I’ve saved, I’ve lived it’s possible to have a normal life. Curious as to how I saved $18,000 in just a few years to avoid a car payment? Save on the little things, and the big things. Keep reading to find out!
Grocery Store Brand / Holiday/ Expiration Date
Store brand items are usually packaged at the same processing plants as traditional items. There’s no shame in buying a store brand product, it saves you considerable money. When my dad was a teenager he worked at a pea cannery. He said the peas were canned according to their size. After the size selection, different labels were slapped on. Same pea…different labels.
1. Stock up on items after the holidays. Candy can be 90% off just due to after holiday packaging and the product won’t expire for the normal 2 years anyways. Don’t go all out hoarder, but definitely consider items you could need for the next holiday season too.
2. Grocery stores always have a mark down section for bakery goods, but look around your store. You will also find some less obvious places for dairy, meat and close to expiring frozen goods. If your grocery store is good, your fresher items will still have 3 days left on them.
3. Local grocery stores provide hometown deals. If you are a sports fan or commuter, check out what kinds of savings are available. Discounted game tickets
4. Get rebates on gas from your local grocer. Often times there’s a limit on the amount of gallons at a discounted price but it’s a generous 25 gallons.
Start a Money Journal
Analyze YOUR Real Wants, Desires and Needs. I wrote down everything that I purchased throughout a day to figure out just where my money was going, and I mean I wrote everything! Four dollars for a latte is nothing, right? But your daily office coffee is running you $80 a month. Most people are shocked to find that they spend close to 10% of their salary on work related activities. I eliminated as many of these ‘frivolous’ costs as possible by being as self sufficient as possible.
1. Going out to happy hour is totally fun, but get as much bang for your buck as possible. Ice-tea is refillable, and happy hour prices on appetizers mean you can sneak in some extra veggies and a healthy hummus dip.
2. Coffee VS Espresso drinks. An espresso drink will easily cost $4.50 plus. I am talking about your Americano’s, your Macchiato’s and your Latte’s. Drip coffee will cost 1/3 the price anywhere. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need a latte, I guarantee the coffee you buy during your lunch break will be stronger than anything you make at home. Have you tried cold press drip coffee? It’s like a flavor bomb of pure luxury and it’s still cheaper than an espresso drink.
3. Does your workplace offer a commuter discount? Your bus or light-rail might be completely covered.
Think about all of your options before settling on the easiest way to do something. Convenience can come at a cost. Can you drive to work everyday? Absolutely, but maybe the bus picks up and drops off outside your front door and you can actually save money by eliminating wear and tear on your vehicle. Not spending is just as important as saving.
Use Cash Back Incentive Programs
Cutting coupons is old school these days. Phone apps are the way of the future when it comes to savings. Apps like Ibotta will help you save big on groceries. With Ibotta you just snap a picture of your shopping receipt and match it with current deals available online. Get $10 just for signing up through The Rising Damsel, and redeem your first purchase by verifying an item from ANY of their stores.
1. Try to go grocery shopping alone. I know this is a far off Wonderland fantasy for a lot of women, however it will help your budget.
2. Avoid all the little snacks, and processed foods to save big in grocery stores.
3. Always try to buy bulk items. Separate larger packages into smaller ziplocks as soon as you get home. This will keep your portions under control even when you don’t feel like thinking about it.
For Vanity’s Sake
I will never, ever worry about wasting money on a manicure, because I don’t get them. The closer to au naturel you can be, the happier your skin and body will be. Skip on as many appointments as you can, or space them out further apart.
1. We all know gel nails last the longest. If you want to get a manicure opt for gel. You can stretch a french manicure for at least a month. Stick on toenails sound weird but they are AMAZING and make your toes look glam in any season.
2. Natural Aloe Vera Gel is a great skin hydrator as well as a healer, it’s also known to diminish dark spots. A small bottle will go a long way.
3. Grab vitamins for your skin. I am not a doctor but adding zinc and magnesium vitamins has cleared up my skin. This means I save on skin treatments and pricey anti aging remedies.
When Buying Clothes
Never buy something full price. Companies are fighting tooth and nail for our business. It’s easier than ever to make sure you are getting a good price online. Buy quality over quantity and you will always feel good about your appearance. Thirteen years ago, when I was a waitress, I used my extra saved money to buy a Burberry coat. I still have that coat, and it still looks brand new. Buy what is important to you and will make you feel proud. It’s ok to spend more if you KNOW you are buying quality.
1. Wash your clothes less to preserve them and always try to avoid the dryer. The dryer is what will break down your cotton fibers and elastic. A manager at a clothing store told me that years ago, and my darks definitely maintain their color better.
2. Buy online. You can stack discounts, rebates and free shipping. Stores like Nordstrom Rack, Neiman Marcus Last Call and Off Saks offer incredible discounts, and also savings on top of that.
I don’t shop online unless I am checking every rebate available, and the potential for free shipping. This month alone I saved $30.00 using Ebates. All you have to do is check the Ebates site to see if where you want to shop has any cash back. You receive $10 just by signing up through The Rising Damsel.
Save in the Shower
When you shower less often… your body actually adjusts to it. Did you ever stop and consider that your hair is producing extra oil because your shampoo is drying your scalp out? It could be true. Showering 1 less time a week will save you on all your personal products by using them less, in addition to letting all that water (money) go down the drain.
Another huge bonus of showering less is less wear and tear on your hair! Give your hair a break from the blow dryer, curling iron and hair spray! You’ll save even more money by not needing your dead ends clipped as often.
1. Buy bulk hair products and avoid purchasing at the salon. The Kirkland hydration shampoo and conditioner brand from Costco is my favorite.
2. Do natural at home hair treatments and avoid chemicals. Mayo, olive oil, and eggs all have hair healing properties that will leave your mane feeling silky soft. A quick google search will give you tons of at home hair masque treatments.
3. Body scrubs are also easy to make at home. Olive oil and sugar will provide silky smooth skin in minutes.
Eating Out / Leftovers
We love eating out because we hacked it. Many restaurants nowadays are dine and dash style. Avoid paying the tip whenever possible. Restaurants like Chipotle, Panera Bread, Garbanzo’s, PeiWei, Mad Greens, Jason’s Deli and Lark Burger all come without the traditional 20% tip.
1. Check out restaurant discount deals. We love going to Papa Murphy’s on Tuesdays because they offer 25% off a large sized pizza. Restaurants might have a discounted meal on Sundays, or a family night. You can cash out on these opportunities.
2. Take advantage of frequent buyer cards whenever possible.
3. If you don’t know what to ask for as a gift, ask for restaurant gift cards. This provides fun and savings at a later time, I always think of it as an extended celebration. If you buy them at Costco…you also get more restaurant dollars than the cost of the card.
4. Use Ibotta to get cash back on everyday purchases. Receive $10.00 through The Rising Damsel just for signing up.
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Don’t Live Beyond Your Basic Means
Gosh, it’s hard to live within your means when rent and mortgages are running amuck. Be smart when it comes to choosing where to live though. An increase in your mortgage by 200k might seem like a good idea, but consider what you have instead of what you want.
1. Living next to a commuter point like a light-rail will increase your property value over time and cut down on your daily commute, if this an option when you are looking to buy take it seriously.
2. Add value to your current house by changing up the landscape, it could even decrease the amount of water your house uses.
3. Check school districts when you consider a move. Staying for a good school district could be worth it for your kid’s education.
Have an Affordable Wedding
For my wedding I wanted to impress everyone’s stomach. Food, family and love were what was important to me. I didn’t let anyone talk me into anything I didn’t want and it paid off big with no stress.
1. Pick a restaurant and a pre-fixed menu. It will give you delicious options without your guests feeling bad about wanting to order a filet mignon.
2. Purchase your dress from a department store.
3. Have the wedding where you hold the reception. It will save you from needing to get everyone to multiple locations. To get all of my wedding saving tips visit Easy Ways to Have an Elegant Wedding on a Budget.
Don’t Go To Bars, Stop Over Drinking
As a millennial you should be mixing and mingling even in the blogger scene. You don’t have to go dry but to save money… be mindful of when and why you are buying alcohol.
1. Drink the house wine or restaurant’s signature cocktail. These can have a discount associated with them.
2. Choose healthier drinks and try to avoid vast amounts of sugar. Guinness is actually one of the healthier beers you can drink… go figure right? Try to take advantage of ‘buy one get one’ drinks, and share with a friend.
3. Try to go to happy hours if you have to go at all.
If you’re going to the bar on any given day and having a few beers, or glasses of wine, you are really cutting into your savings ability. Bars are expensive and it’s easy to rack up a $75.00 ticket for a meal with a few drinks. Try to go for coffee instead. Ya… coffee costs something too but in this case 500% cheaper.
Tips for Buying that Dream Car
When you are looking for a car, make sure it is the car YOU want. If you’re buying used, it’s easy to think “Well… it’s not that important”…. “It’s only 50k miles more than I wanted”… “It’s the wrong color but it will do.” Your dream new/used car is out there. You can don’t have to cave to the boring salesman looking for a sale. Do your research and keep the upper hand.
Was my husband over it after the 3rd car dealership visit? YES!!!! Was he happy I didn’t cave to pressure in the end when we got the perfect car for our family? YES!!!! If I gave up earlier I would have a vehicle that already had 85k miles on it, with khaki interior and no touch start ability. Instead I got a car with less than 10k miles on it with black leather interior, same year, FOR THE SAME PRICE. If that’s not a lesson… I don’t know what is.
When you’re saving your money be true to yourself. Friends and coworkers will unintentionally try to persuade you to spend money all the time, convenience is just the society we live in. “Oh come on, it’s just $5.00 for a coffee, we need a quick pick me up!”. These situations will always come up. But now you know you can have a drip coffee for 1/4 the price.
When you actually buy something for cash people are shocked. We live in a place where everything is passively put on credit cards. Americans are facing 17 trillion dollars in consumer debt.
Would you like some lifestyle tips before you go? You’ll love these!
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