1. Cup of Trader Joe’s.
Make your own brew. Getting barista-made coffee every morning adds up. I mean, latte art is nice and all but a $4+ cortado is getting ridiculous. Or if you’re going to stay at a coffee shop, stay for a few productive hours (you paid for that WiFi and space) instead of picking up to go.
2. Toothpaste is toothpaste.
The price difference in many products is a result of brand marketing. If you look at the ingredients of most things, they’re all made out of the same main thing. So just get a moisturizer that works and not the expensive cream that’s supposed to be diamond-like. Designer mascara and bronzer are not worth it when store-bought can rival over-the-Saks-counter. Always ask for samples.
3. Shop smart style.
I used to buy dresses with no event in mind. Wear and keep only what you need. Sell your dust-accumulating clothes. If you need something, head to consignment because your style is timeless. Rent the runway if need be or better yet, borrow from your friend’s closet. My BFF and I switch clothes all the time if we get bored with the seasons.
4. Go public.
Do more free things! Meet up in the park and not some place you’re forced to spend money. Borrow books and take advantage of the tax dollars cut out of your paycheck.
5. Stop going out.
Fifteen dollar salads are going to toss up your budget. Get away from group outings that get expensive with uneven splitting. Enough with fancy cocktails and stay in with wine night. And ladies, don’t pay on the date (sorry guys I’m more old-school with this but don’t worry I don’t use it to go out just for a meal).
6. Get rid of extra.
Bundle cable services, if you haven’t cut the cord already. Or paying for an expensive gym. I used to change in the locker room and think why am I not a lawyer like the other ladies in here? Sign up for community or donation-based classes you can actually afford.
7. Don’t get sucked in by social media.
Instant FOMO sucks and has you savoring or favoring places that will do a number on your wallet. If you “like to know it,” they’ll send you clothing temptation in an email. Unsubscribe to Gilt or Groupon because your debt shouldn’t add up like your inbox.
8. Quid pro quo.
Be a guinea pig and offer to be a model for a haircut, for example. Take pictures for someone who can in turn do your nails for you.
9. Limit yourself.
Prioritize with which and how many events you’re going to. Each $10 ticket turns to $50 events down a black hole. They say time is money and you can volunteer as exchange (if you’re good at it, they might actually hire and pay you). Be on the lookout for rush or last-minute savings. Say no to the bridal shower if you’re not a bridesmaid so you can make it to the wedding.
10. Admit it.
There’s nothing wrong with telling your friends or colleagues that you’re on a budget (we know it’s not really saving up). Besides you need to own up to the stark reality that your savings account is nonexistent. For example, the people at my last gym were lawyers and I was not making their salaries. Evaluate your past transactions, live within your means at the present moment and plan for a brighter future.