After sifting through responses from my reader survey, it’s abundantly clear: money is the main reason you don’t travel as much as you’d like. This wasn’t some huge revelation, but it certainly let me know that I need to focus on as much budgeting and money-saving advice as I possibly can. So if you’re looking for tips that will actually save you money and aren’t the usual “skip the Starbucks” or “wear layers at home on cold nights,” these ten suggestions should help.
Buy quality items
This one sounds counterintuitive, but fast fashion is terrible for the people who make it and it simply doesn’t last. You’ll end up replacing your stuff more often and spending just as much as you would on a better-made option. The more often you need to shop to replace things (either in-store or online) the more inclined you’ll be to buy other stuff, too.
Drink more water
Carry around your own refillable water bottle everywhere you go. Aside from the fact that you will channel your inner health goddess and you’re probably not drinking enough water (8 glasses a day, yo), it will also encourage you to stop buying bottled water or other beverages.
A filling, delicious meal does not require meat—it requires lots of fiber and/or protein, like quinoa, farro, or rice. You don’t need to go full veggie, but enjoy meat in your diet only twice a week. Filling, tasty recipes are easy to come by and fresh vegetables cost way less than beef or chicken.
Switch up your feminine hygiene routine
Your body, your rules, so you determine what feminine hygiene products are best for you. But if you’re sick of paying $10 or more per month on pads and tampons, look into other options. I love the Diva Cup, and after the small investment of about $20 it’s good for two years. You could also do other menstrual cup varieties, a menstrual sponge, or Thinx panties (never tried them but they sound cool!).
Be frugally festive
Get clever with your Halloween costume, refrain from going overboard on holiday decorations (or DIY for kicks!), and start shopping now for gifts to take advantage of sale items or other good deals that might not be around in December. You can still celebrate without blowing your entire budget.
Set a 30 day shopping rule
When I find something I’m tempted to buy I wait a few weeks and think about it…and often forget about it altogether. There’s no reason you can’t indulge from time to time—in fact, you should to avoid totally binging at some point—but waiting a few weeks will give you time to determine if it’s something worth splurging on.
Look for promo codes
Never buy anything online without typing in the website or company name and “coupon code” or “promo code.” RetailMeNot is my favorite resource; otherwise, sign up for the company’s email list—you’ll often get a promo code within 48 hours of joining (and it’s easy enough to unsubscribe).
Do pickup instead of delivery
Obviously, if you’re really wanting to save money, you should avoid ordering out altogether. But I get it: there is sometimes nothing dreamier than seeing that delivery man or woman at your doorstep, pizza in hand. Instead, plan to pick it up on your way home from work or take a quick walk over to the restaurant to grab it, ditch the delivery fees and tip, and be your own delivery dreamboat.
Frequent community Facebook groups and Craigslist
Aside from looking at the Craigslist Free section regularly, join a few community Facebook groups where buying and selling is allowed (I’m part of a Burners in LA group and a women’s group) and keep your eyes peeled. Check them often for things you need and also be on the lookout for someone who wants to buy something you’d want to part with. I recently got two large, beautiful mirrors for $30 this way!
Know where to find the free shit
There is free stuff (or nearly free stuff) to do everywhere you go, so know what newspapers or blogs list affordable events. Here are some notable ones:
Austin: Austin 360, Austin Monthly, Event Goat
Atlanta: Creative Loafing
Baltimore: The Baltimore Sun
Birmingham: Birmingham 365
Boston: The Boston Calendar
Charlotte (NC): Charlotte Observer
Denver: The Denver Post
Detroit: The Detroit News
Houston: Houston Press
Jackson: Jackson Free Press
Los Angeles: LA Weekly, LosAngeles.com, LAist
|Memphis: I <3 Memphis
Missoula: Missoula Events
New Orleans: NOLA
New York: The Skint, Village Voice
Orlando: Orlando Weekly
Phoenix: AZ Central, Phoenix New Times
Pittsburgh: Triblive Events
Portland: PDX Pipeline, Williamette Week, Portland Mercury
Providence (RI): GoProvidence.com
Salt Lake City: Salt Lake Magazine
San Francisco: Fun Cheap SF, SF Weekly
Seattle: Seattle Weekly, Seattle Pipeline
Twin Cities: Daily Planet, Minnesota Monthly, Minneapolis Northwest
Washington, D.C.: The Going Out Guide
Cities around the world: Time Out
What sort of things do you do to save money?
ps if you’re looking for additional money-saving tips, subscribe to my newsletter below for weekly advice and check out 10 Ways to Actually Save Money.
Some links in this post are affiliate links, meaning I receive a small incentive when you purchase (at no cost to you). I only ever promote items I love, and all opinions are my own.