1. Stop buying food for every meal.
Buying breakfast every morning and lunch every afternoon will add up – fast. It’s extremely unnecessary to be spending almost $20 every single day on things that you can make yourself. Even if you’re only stopping at Starbucks every morning for coffee, that’s about $60 a month. This is about $720 a year… on coffee. Grocery shop strategically so you can make meals three times a day and be satisfied. After a few weeks of packing meals, you will save an impressive amount.
2. Stop going out every single Friday AND Saturday.
By the end of the work week, we’re ready to celebrate (aka binge drink). But this isn’t essential both nights of every single weekend. Your drunk self is careless when it comes to spending, which is why you’ll wake up with $60 of shots and $20 of Taco Bell gone. Not to mention being hungover means buying even more hangover food. Limit yourself to one night a weekend and you’ll save money, as well as your body.
3. Stop going out for every single occasion.
Happy hour with coworkers, a family friend’s birthday, dinner with the girls. Just because there is something going on does not mean you have to actually be involved every single time. If you’re struggling to save, the last thing you should be doing is going out for drinks every Thursday. Having no money in your account is much worse than FOMO.
4. Stop ‘treating yourself’ on a consistent basis.
This is another thing that’s sometimes (keyword) okay, but you shouldn’t be making a big purchase with every paycheck. We tend to feel justified because we work hard and earn it, but if you don’t set limits on your spending, than that number in your account will never grow. Set a goal for yourself: for every $1,000 you save, splurge a little. Don’t jump to buy a Prada bag with only $150 in your savings.
5. Stop treating everyone else.
This is something I’m guilty of whenever I finally have money. When I’m broke between paychecks, people will spot me for meals, buy me drinks, etc. And when I do finally have money, I treat them. Which is fine, until they have to spot me again a week later. Don’t be buying everyone rounds of drinks, paying for their cab, and all that just because you can at that very moment. Stay within your means and know what you can afford to spend on others.
6. Carpool whenever possible.
Gas is such a regular thing we spend money on that we barely even realize how much it actually adds up. If you’re the one always carpooling people around, that means you’re the one filling up their gas tank more often. Keep track and take turns, and if someone offers to drive, let them.
7. Pregame before the bar, if you do go out.
If you’re planning a big night out with your friends, pregame before. A lot. Splitting a case of beer between people to drink beforehand is much cheaper than buying those first five beers at the bar yourself. If you get there already a little drunk, you won’t have to play catch-up and spend almost $50 just to get a buzz. You can have a couple mixed drinks and be perfectly (drunkenly) happy the rest of the night without breaking the bank.
8. Opt for cheaper options.
If you’ve been putting off dinner with the lady friends for too long, then go and get a big appetizer instead of an entrée, or a simple mixed drink instead of one of those $12 fancy cocktails. Instead of going to the movies and spending almost $30 on a ticket and snacks, stay in, pop your own popcorn and have a movie night on your couch. If it’s been awhile since you’ve had a nice dinner with your SO, spend the time cooking together and making a meal from scratch. There are fun, cheap options to all of the activities you regularly spend money on.
9. Plan for the holidays in advance.
The holidays are coming, which means spending a lot of money on presents, decorations, and superfluous items. Instead of waiting until the last minute and blowing your December paychecks, start making a list early and keep an eye out for some items to buy ahead. Everything is more expensive around the holiday season, so buying things now while they’re either cheap or on sale will save you a boatload. And another tip: create a specific budget for each person you plan to shop for and stick to it. Don’t spend $500 on your SO last minute just to suddenly realize that you don’t have enough for your parents. And keep in mind, it’s the thought that counts. Don’t get your mom a $300 Tiffany necklace when she’d be happy with a handmade item.
10. Stop making all those unnecessary purchases.
Little things add up ridiculously fast. If you’ve ever been to CVS, you understand that. Stop spending so much money on those little items you don’t really need at the moment. I’ll go to CVS for just one thing I need, and will end up spending $100 on all of these products that I won’t use for another month or two. Just because you have money in the bank doesn’t mean you should spend it.