I’ll be the first to admit that I looooove shopping. I do it way too often whether it’s aimlessly perusing the aisles at TJ-Maxx or filling up my online shopping cart with items, I don’t need.
Since finding out that fast fashion is right below oil when we’re looking at how harmful it is for our environment and watching documentaries like Stink! really got me thinking about the clothes I put on my body and my overall carbon footprint.
Although I am trying to cut back on my shopping, I can’t say that I’m always successful. When I have big events or going away for a weekend, I still find myself back at the racks looking for clothes.
Luckily, I recently joined a sustainability challenge to not shop for the next three months (more on that in another blog!), but today, I thought I’d share with you a few money-saving tips so you can keep your wallet getting fatter!
Keep Track of Monthly Bills
This is something that I’ve regularly been doing, and it’s been an enormous help. It’s simple, really. On the notes section of my phone, I listed all of my bills and separated it by paycheck so I know how much I can roughly put into my savings and what I can put towards my spending budget.
If you have an iPhone, you can include a button instead of a – to make sure I keep track of what I’ve paid and what is still missing. You can also keep it fun by adding emojis.
Keeping track of monthly bills will help you set a realistic budget and also lay it all out there for you. For me, I know I spend a little bit too much on streaming services so having it listed for me makes me look at my choices each month and think, “Do I really need all of this?”
PRO TIP: Put monthly services like Hulu, Scribd, or any recurring services that you have on hold now and then. If you notice that you’re not using it as much as you’d like, don’t just spend that money if you’re not using it!
I love using Scribd for e-books and audiobooks, but I’m not always using it. Instead, I’ll switch between the app, physical books, and rented books from the library. When I’m in my off weeks of not using the app, I’ll put it on hold and turn it back on when I’m ready to use it again.
Pay in Cash
If you’ve been listening to Dave Ramsey, you might have heard this a few too many times.
This is something that a cousin of mine always does, and I’d always be astonished at how much she had in cash, but when she let me in on her secret, I was mindblown!
It’s genius, and I’ll admit that I don’t do it as often as I’d wish.
So you can go extreme like Dave Ramsey, or you can choose to be somewhere in between – which is kind of where I’m at.
Dave Ramsey recommends that you withdraw cash bi-weekly or monthly and give it home. For example, let’s say you take out $300 for those two weeks when you get paid. Create an envelope for each category such as gas, groceries, and any other spending items that you can do by cash. Split that $300 into each group, and there’s your spending budget!
For me, restricting my payments to categories can get a little tricky. I don’t always follow it, and I will be honest and say that I’m guilty of overspending at Target or choosing to use my card instead of the cash, but it’s a process!
Whichever option you choose, having cash on hand is always helpful. This way, you can be more conscious of how much you’re spending. Even if you end up using your card, you’ll likely end up thinking about the cash on hand first and realize that you don’t have enough which will then make you take into consideration how much you’re actually spending.
Immediately Put Money into your Savings
Whenever I get paid, instead of looking at the whole number, I’ll look at how much money I have after bills. With that amount, I’ll put a realistic amount into my savings and allow the rest towards my spending budget for groceries, small items here and there, and last-minute purchases.
If I have anything left over before I get paid again, that goes directly into my savings.
Although I still do this every month, instead of savings I’m currently working off paying my credit card – two ACL surgeries for my corgi in one year really set me behind, but all I care is that I have the money to help him get healthy again!
At the moment, I’m aggressively trying to pay off my card to begin saving just as aggressively. I’m in a fortunate situation at the moment where my rent is very low, and most of my larger bills go to my health insurance and my car.
This might sound counter-intuitive, but listen! Remember what I said about restricting yourself? Let’s not do that. If you want to buy something, do it as long as it’s within your means.
The other day, I went to Target to get a few things and ended up wandering by the sales section. I picked out a couple of items to try on and ultimately didn’t end up buying any of them. Why? Because I didn’t restrict myself. If I hadn’t allowed myself to look at those items, I probably would have ended up spending the same amount on something stupid to make up for the spending that could have been.
It might sound dumb, but I, myself, and I knew I would have walked out with a bunch of unnecessary items. (Which is also like every other Target trip, let’s be honest.)
Don’t worry. I’m not going to tell you how badly you need to invest in your 401K or start up your IRA – although, I’m pretty sure you should? That’s what everyone is telling us, right?! Man, how much I wish we were taught about investing at school.
But I digress!
When I mention investing, I mean that you should invest in products that will help you save money in the long run.
Earlier this year, I made a few purchases to accomplish this – an $11 Sally Hansen wax kit and a few extra dollars on wax strips along with an $80 gel manicure setup from Amazon along with an $18 gel nail polish set.
A Brazilian wax at European Wax Center can start at $54. That’s not even counting if you want to get your eyebrows ($21) or mustache ($13) waxed. Granted, a Brazilian is not something I can do on my own (I’ve tried, and I will happily spend the $54+ on having someone else do it!) but I feel comfortable enough with waxing my own eyebrows and mustache, which is $34 (plus tip) that I can put towards something else.
QUICK SIDE NOTE: If you have a Uni K Wax near you – definitely check them out! They’re cheaper than European Wax Center PLUS their wax is so freaking gentle that I barely felt a thing!
As for gel manicures, we know very well how expensive a nail salon trip can get – especially if you’re doing gel. Although I’m not saying I will only do my manicure at home, but it definitely helps when I want to be gentler with my wallet.
Looking for more money saving tips or have any other questions? Let me know! I’m starting these blogs back up and going headfirst cause I have some exciting things to share!