In our world of instant gratification, it’s more necessary than ever to be able to stay focused on saving money any way you can. So to help you monitor your spending habits and cut expenses in order to save more, here are a batch of easy hacks you can use every day — starting right now. That’s instant gratification at its finest!
1. Have a weekly money date.
Commit to sitting down with your money once a week for a money date. During this time, update your budget, review your accounts, and track your progress against your financial goals.
2. Plan out your meals for the week.
“The average American family spends $225 a month eating away from home – dinners eaten out, quick snacks grabbed, and coffees ordered and consumed on the run,” says Trent Hamm in an article for The Simple Dollar. Dining out can cause a drain on your budget, so take a few hours every weekend to grocery shop and meal plan for the week. This can help you save money and hopefully some calories, too.
3. Cut out cable.
Gasp! Cut out TV? Never! But with services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime, you can now watch your favorite TV shows and movies for a fraction of the cost of cable TV. An NPD study shows that cable bills will soon grow to an average of $123 per month, or $1,476 per year. By switching over to an online service or cutting out TV altogether, you can save that money for another financial goal.
4. Switch to Class Pass.
If you love working out, Class Pass is the way to go. By paying a membership fee of $99 per month, you can attend all sorts of fitness classes in your neighborhood, like cycling, yoga, pilates, barre, strength training, bootcamp, dance, and more. This beats having to pay for each studio’s monthly membership or individual class fee, which can add up to hundreds of dollars a month.
5. Host a potluck.
The more friends you have, the more money you spend on lunch dates, birthday parties, and gifts. Switch it up and, instead of meeting up for a fancy restaurant dinner, host a potluck and have everyone bring his or her favorite dish.
6. Leverage vacation rentals.
Finding a place to stay while traveling is convenient when you use vacation rental sites like Airbnb. You can often find a place that has a kitchen (so you can cook meals at “home” instead of eating out, to save money) at a rate that’s comparable to hotels. You can even rent out your own place on Airbnb while you travel to make some extra cash to pay for your own expenses. It’s a win-win scenario.
7. Make coffee at home.
This one’s not my favorite, as I absolutely love going to coffee shops and drinking organic, delicious coffee. But spending $4 to $5 on coffee every day definitely adds up. So try my approach and allow yourself a few days a week to buy coffee at cafes, and make it at home the rest of the time.
8. Work more.
When you’re working a lot, there’s not much time left to shop and spend money. Stay busy and pursue a career you love — then see how, when you’re busy hustling, you spend less.
9. Wait 48 hours before you click “buy.”
We can have anything we want these days with just the click of a button (there’s that instant gratification again!), so it’s important to find a system to help buffer your impulse purchases. Example: Determine a spending threshold, and wait 48 hours before spending money on things that exceed that threshold. When you do, you will find that most of the time, those items were more in-the-moment “wants” than “needs.”
10. Use blogs and Pinterest to learn DIY beauty treatments.
Self-care is important — but going to spas and getting pedicures, massages, and the like can really add up. Budget a certain amount to spend on these things, then use blogs and inspiration sites like Pinterest to find money-saving, at-home beauty treatments.
11. Outsource with Fiverr or TaskRabbit.
Time is a commodity, and your time is precious and valuable. And these days, there are so many tasks that you can outsource, saving yourself time and money. But how do you figure out if outsourcing something is worth the expense? Calculate the cost of your time (determine how long certain tasks take you, and set a value based on your budget), which will help you figure out if you can pay someone to do something for less than your hourly rate. Once you know the value of your time, you can strategically outsource it, using a service like Fiverr or TaskRabbit, for a fraction of your hourly rate.
12. Get creative with gifts.
When it comes to birthday and holiday gifts, find creative ways to express your love to friends and family members. Most people will appreciate the thought behind your gifts more than anything, so don’t be afraid to save money and find free ways to celebrate.
13. Choose quality over quantity.
This can apply to food, clothes, electronics, and much more. Although it’s tempting to choose the more budget-friendly version of an item, sometimes choosing quality over quantity will save you more in the long run. Find a balance that is right for you and choose quality whenever you can.
14. Deal with your emotions.
Often, excessive spending is a way to avoid feeling certain emotions. If you check in with yourself before you go on a major spending spree, you may be able to identify if you’re feeling bored, lonely, or stressed. Is spending money just a way to avoid the underlying emotion?
15. Stop trying to keep up with the Kardashians.
It’s hard to keep your blinders on and not compare your financial life to others’, especially celebrities. It is really important, however, to be clear about what matters most to you and build a financial plan that supports that vision. This will keep you moving toward your financial goals.
Tune in next month for the second batch of easy savings tips!
Brittney Castro is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.