Remember this post on why I decided to become a more conscious shopper. Well, it’s been six months since and I’m starting to reap the rewards. It feels amazing. If someone told me ten years ago I’d be able to overcome my debt AND have a savings account (with more than a cent in it) I’d call bullshit. You guys, it’s so ridiculously easy to spend, spend, spend so just imagine 18 year old me with six credit cards - SIX!
For the first time ever: I have funds for a rainy day, am making huge strides on paying off my debt, have a credit score that isn’t shameful, and can foresee vacations instead of staycations. Like holy cow – did I really make this happen?
I’m definitely not rich (yet) but rethinking how to make my dollar stretch has helped me tremendously. Lifestyle changes and smart decisions contributed to a healthy bank account and I’d love to share them with you all.
Say No to Taxis
Every cab ride home can cost me around $40 easy meanwhile a subway ride is only $2.75. Also, both are roughly the same time when commuting so this is a no-brainer. For those of you in NYC riding at least twice a day, five times a week - get the unlimited monthly metrocard. You'll save so much in the long run.
If you must cab it home, be smart about it and use Uber’s carpool or Lyft’s Line. These two options are cheaper (when not in surge mode) when getting to where you need to go.
Say No to ATM & Bank Fees
Every now and then I encounter a shop or restaurant that’s cash only and find myself walking to the nearest ATM. The no-fee standalone ATM are few and far between - which is why I started planning ahead for those few “cash only” moments by withdrawing cash in advance from my bank periodically.
While you’re there why not inquire about certain bank fees & charges. For instance I was getting charged $25 a month because I haven’t set up my direct deposit. $25 a month adds up so I immediately took care of that situation.
When it Comes to Food
In December I analyzed where the majority of my money went. Let’s just say more money went towards food than to my student loans, rent, and shopping combined. Pretty embarrassing but I love discovering new restaurants. My solution was to create a budget for food (something I never had before) and plan my meals out. Weekly trips to the supermarket and prepping meals the night before have become the norm. I saved hundreds by eating breakfast at home and bringing lunch to work.
In addition to dining in, I cut the cord to my Starbucks ritual and replaced it with a stroll around the neighborhood.
When it Comes to Beauty
Believe in the power of samples - readily available everywhere for free. The other month I ran out of daily moisturizer but instead of running to my nearest Sephora to reload I pulled out my samples. You guys, the amount of samples I own could last me all through summer... Of next year. When it came time to settle down on a moisturizer I already knew which brands worked best for my skin – always a good thing.
Manicures. We all love them but it can add up. I've cut back on this pastime big time, but cutting back doesn’t mean eliminating “me time." Instead of sitting in a salon I’ve changed the scenario to an evening with Netflix – and a fresh mani done by moi.
No Cable Television
Although I do miss watching the news and the Kardashians - paying a monthly Netflix bill compared to a Time Warner bill is the tits. Not only that, I feel more productive on the weekends and am more apt to escape the apartment. Some people can't imagine life without cable and to those people I say cut those chains and be free.
Along those lines - go digging in your last monthly statement. Are there any monthly subscriptions you can quit? Any you completely forgot about that you should cancel immediately?
When it Comes to Shopping
There are a few rules I always refer to in this department to help stick to my/your budget:
Quality will always beat out quantity - always. But, when it comes to simple household goods - generic brands are your friends.
Before you buy, ask if there's a sale or discount you can use. Shopping online? Use google to your advantage and search for the latest deals/coupons before confirming purchase.
Sleep on it. If you still want the item a day or week later go back and get it. In this age of mass production and easily replicated goods buyer's remorse is more of a myth than a feeling.
One in, one out. This rule will help when it comes to rethinking what you're bringing into the home (i.e. clutter) and could save you a few bucks in the long run.
Save on Energy
When you have two tech geeks living in one space, figuring out how to not have the most insane ConEd bill is priority. This rings even more true during the dog days of summer. Things that help us keep our bill low and affordable: unplug appliances when not is use (we even unplug our media console station), turn off the lights, use the economic setting when possible, keep laptops unplugged when not in use. Generally, keeping things unplugged has saved us close to $50 and more - we tested out our theory last year to make sure it wasn't us.
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