Growing up in the midwest, I learned a thing or two about saving money. My parents rarely splurged on expensive things; cars, dinners or vacations. We lived a moderate lifestyle and were taught that you needed to earn what you get. Begging for a candy bar while waiting in the checkout line at the store didn’t work too well, unfortunately. As a child, I knew that in order to get that something extra, I had to save my money. We’d get a weekly allowance ($5) for washing the dishes, vacuuming and other chores around the house. My piggy bank was always full, at least and until my brother got a hold of it (I’ll save that sibling story for another day). I’d used the money to buy the latest barbie or the extra funnel cake the next time we were at the fair. Over time, I understood the importance of having a few extra bucks for rainy days. Money doesn’t grow on trees after all. When I wanted to splurge, I didn’t feel guilty because I had earned it. Fortunately, this little lesson has stuck with me.
So, as summer slowly (heat, please go away) comes to an end, people are back in the office and before we know it…the holidays will be here! Here are five useful tips and tricks to help you save money starting in September:
- Goodbye Starbucks/daily coffee house stop. I looooooove coffee. I love it so much that we went to Colombia in part to tour a coffee plantation. Being at the source was really cool! Instead of getting our daily dose of caffeine at the coffee shop, we make a pot of coffee every morning. Every two weeks we spend $16 for a 1lb bag of whole bean coffee. That lasts us 14 days. That’s only 57 cents a day(each of us), opposed to the $6 a day you’d spend on a cappuccino. Now, I understand that time isn’t always on our side in the morning. So, even if you only do this a few days a week, it will save you quite a bit as the weeks and months go on.
- Sign up for Digit. They pull small sums of money from your account and place it in a separate savings account. You can withdrawal at any point. What I love most about the app is that you receive all the updates via text. I can also make requests to check my checking account balance & savings balance with one word commands. It’s genius!! I save money without realizing it! So if you’re saving up for a trip or a big purchase, I’d highly recommend signing up and giving it a try. It also allows you to determine how much you want to save. You can be really conservative with saving or you can get aggressive and have them withdrawal more from your account.
- Skip the group dinners this month or at least cut back. Whenever I’m saving money, I tend to skip the group dinners. We’ve all been in the situation where we go out to dinner with 8-10 people and the check never evens out. If you want to save money, just skip the dinner. You shouldn’t have to pay for someone’s 10 martinis, just because they had a bad day at work. Instead, agree to meet up with your friends before or after for a drink.
- This is probably more applicable for city girls, but take public transportation. Fill up your metro card with $20-$40 and take the subway or bus. I love riding the bus in the city. They’re rarely packed, air conditioned and you have access to wifi! Most people don’t know, but you get a free transfer whenever you ride the bus. So you can get a round trip (within 2 hours) for $2.75. I know you aren’t going to like this one but delete your uber app or at least use it as a last resort. Figure out public transportation. Who couldn’t benefit from saving $300 in transportation!?! Same goes for those traveling. Learn how to use public transportation. It’s one of the easiest ways to get around in large cities, especially in Europe and you don’t have to worry about the cabby taking you on the scenic route.
- Don’t buy anything full price this month. Over the weekend, I walked into Gap and found the cutest pair of sweatpants. They were $39.95. We all know large retailers always have sales. If you can, wait it out till it goes on sale. There are tons of ways to get updates when something you LOVE goes on sale.