It’s a New Year, so we’re all on the “I’m gonna be better” tip. I used to think resolutions were for chumps, but now I’m kind of into focusing on stopping my bad habits and working on starting good ones. That said, I’m not great at making giant changes right away and sticking to them. I prefer to make adjustments little by little. So if you’re trying to make a change in your life and you want to do it turtle-style, I’m here for you. I’ll be contributing a little series of ways to be healthier/happier/”greener” and so forth in under five minutes, so these changes won’t consume your entire life.
Every year, one of my resolutions is to quit spending money like I’m a Kardashian and instead establish a firm, healthy savings account. It is a constant work in progress, and I am still not immune to the lure of something pretty, but here’s what I’m trying to do to quickly and easily save a little money – let’s call it Finance 101 for Recovering Shopaholics. Well, current shopaholics.
1. Open a savings account. It takes three minutes. If you don’t already have one, open one with your bank immediately. I’ve read certain pieces that advocate keeping your money in cash in an envelope and I think this is horrible advice. Sock your savings away in the bank. What if your house burns down? What if you get robbed? Open a savings account.
2. Every payday, put X amount of money in savings right away. Figure out what you can save without putting yourself in the lurch and transfer it to savings right away so you’re not tempted to spend it.
3. Clean your closets and sell clothes to resale shops or online. I like Buffalo Exchange, but online sites like Tradesy are also a really great way to easily sell things you don’t wear. Get proficient at eBay.
4. Babysit. Spending a few hours with a coworker’s kids is (usually) fun and can put a little extra money in your pocket.
5. Go out only one night a week instead of two or three. You’ll drink less and save money. Choose between Friday and Saturday and save yourself the hangover.
6. Love to read? Thrift your books instead of paying full price, or get a library card.
7. Bored on your day off? Instead of shopping, exercise to YouTube videos or take a walk. Or even better – volunteer regularly.
8. Challenge yourself to ONLY spend on what you really, truly need at stores like Target. I know that’s really, really hard because you NEED that $12 candle or new hand towels or whatever, but try to stick to your list.
9. Bring your coffee to work. Get a coffee pot that can brew automatically so you have no excuse to get Starbucks on the way. When I quit drinking Starbucks on the daily, I saved at least $30 a month.
10. Lady razor blades are expensive. Save a bunch of money by switching to a man’s razor service. I use Dollar Shave Club and have blades delivered to me every other month for less than I’d pay for a Venus refill.
11. Have a clothing/beauty swap with your friends. You’ll feel like you’re getting something “new” and lighten your load of clothes you don’t wear.
12. Drive the speed limit! Don’t get a speeding ticket, don’t park like an idiot and you’ll save the price of a ticket.
13. When you’re out shopping and see something you HAVE to have, imagine at least two ways you could wear said item. If you can’t think of anything that you’d wear it with at home, leave it there. If it doesn’t fit perfectly, needs tailoring or needs other modification, don’t buy it. You’ll never wear it.
14. Want a new hairstyle? Follow a few of your favorite salons on Facebook and volunteer to be a model. Salons often post model calls for training sessions for cuts and colors, so if you’re game for a change, this is a cheap way to do it.
15. Buy the cheap wine at Trader Joe’s. You probably were doing that anyway, weren’t you?