Saving money is a must.
Everyone knows this. But very few can actually practice it. For many of us, it is always the new trend, the bag, the shoes, or the skincare that needs to be bought home because, if you don’t, your anxiety goes through the roof. The fear of missing out, or FOMO, as it is fondly called, keeps you up at night. When you are caught in such a dilemma, everything works against you.
Your friends don’t seem to have a care in the world as they routinely check out the latest spots in town. Your favorite bloggers and lifestyle gurus flaunt the latest trends in lifestyle, gadgets, and fashion. When you pass by a store, everything in the windows calls out your name.
Where is the opportunity to save money?
For many young adults, the urge to have the latest everything is insatiable. They also have the idea that reducing even a small part of their personal expenses will mean making a drastic change in their lifestyle.
But the truth is far from it. It is not only the old and the experienced that can make adjustments in their life and save a lot of money.
In fact, some millennials and younger generations are living fulfilling and straightforward lives without compromising anything. We are not going to suggest that you become a minimalist overnight. But we offer you tips and recommendations that you can adopt to streamline your personal expenses. It will not only save you a good amount of money. It is also a more sustainable and responsible way to live.
How to Mentally Prepare for Making a Change
Unless you are in a good headspace and make a conscious decision to take control of your personal finance, everything will be futile. It doesn’t matter how many tips and ideas you are bombarded with; it will be in vain.
It is a good idea to take some inspiration from those who are successful in the field. You don’t have to go to a convention to get motivated. Some ways you can get motivated and educate yourself is by listening to podcasts or audio-books, watching videos, and reading books.
Another way you can get pointed in the right direction is from a mentor. It can be a friend, a relative, or someone you know who works in the industry. More often than not, they will be willing to give you their insights and expert advice.
Along with all the motivation, making the decision to stop following trends is also crucial. It is the number one reason why people end up in the cycle of endless buying.
When you have the information and the right state of mind, it will be much easier for you to make the changes in your expenses without feeling the pinch.
How to Start Budgeting Your Expenses
Budgeting is always the best place to start if you plan to take back control of your finances. This will give you an overview of your finances. You can do this with pen and paper or using a spreadsheet. Online financial tools are also a great alternative, as well.
During this process, there will be some expenses that are fixed and cannot be tampered with. This can be such areas as rent or mortgage and different types of loans. For most people, there is little that can be done about this type of fixed monthly expenses.
However, other areas of expenses usually have some room that you can squeeze. This includes utilities, food, travel, and entertainment, which are variable.
For the rest of this post, we will focus on the latter.
How to Save Money on Food
It is one of the basic necessities of life. There is no reason to compromise on the quality of food that you eat. But you can reduce how much to spend on food and groceries.
Practice Bulk Shopping
This applies to non-perishable items of food. This includes pulses, flour, rice, sugar, and salt, among others. Bulk purchases usually come with a lower cost per unit. Most times, they also have some type of coupon attached to it. It may seem like an insignificant amount, but it can come to a good amount over the months.
Stay Away From Brands
Branded items of food cost more than generic ones at the supermarket. Most times, it is not because it tastes better nor has more nutritional value. You are only paying extra for fancy packaging and maybe the added sugar and salt.
So the next time you go shopping, compare the branded canned tomato with a generic one. If the top ingredients are the same, buy the generic one.
Cook Your Own Meals
Cooking your meals from scratch may not be for everyone. But it is a lot healthier. You can save the leftovers for the next meal or pack it for lunch at work. It is also one of the best ways to save a decent amount of money.
Refrain From Regularly Eating Out
For many working individuals, eating out or ordering takeaway is the next best thing to a mother’s meal. It is easy and convenient.
The average expenditure of eating out by one person in a year is about $4,000 in America. Eating out occasionally is fine, but imagine the money you can save from keeping it to a minimum.
Cut Down on Drinks
A lot of young working adults cannot do without a couple of drinks every week. These drinking sessions do not come free. They are hard on your wallet, as well as your liver. If you are someone who indulges in alcoholic drinks quite often, it’s time to put a check on it. You will save money, and your health will be a lot better as well.
Reduce Takeaway Coffee
Millennials are reported to be spending $1,100 every year on coffee. This is more than what the majority of them are putting into their retirement plans.
If you are someone who does not feel alive without a shot of caffeine in the morning, consider taking a flask or a reusable cup. This is an excellent way to care for your wallet as well as the environment. Some coffee shops, including Starbucks, also offer discounts if you bring your own cup.
How to Save Money on Pet Food
If you have are a pet owner, you are probably spending up to $200 on pet food every month. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report, the total amount of money spent on buying pet food in 2011 was $61.4 billion.
This mind-blowing figure can be reduced without compromising on the safety and health of your pet.
Some of the ways you can reduce expenses on pet food include:
Buy During a Sale
Every season, there is a sale on almost all items, including pet food. It is a great time to buy as much as you possibly can. The only thing you need to watch out for is the expiration date and consider if your pet can consume it before the date.
Buy in Bulk and Generic Brands
The same things that work for your food also apply to your pet food. Bulk purchase and generic brands are an excellent way to reduce expenses.
Most times, online platforms, such as Amazon, offer pet items at a much lower rate than a physical store. It is an excellent way to save your pennies. It is also very convenient and saves time, as it gets delivered to your doorstep.
If you are a loyal customer, you can sign up for loyalty programs and avail the discount codes.
How to Save Money on Utilities
Americans spend up to $11,800 every year on utilities. Utilities are an essential part of everyday living, and it is also affected by the number of persons living in the household.
However, there are certain ways that you can trim the expenses on utilities as well.
Energy bills are one of the most significant expenses in almost every household. Ways to save energy bills are:
Eliminate Phantom Charge
All electric devices consume a small amount of energy even when the switch is off. To eliminate this, unplug electronic devices instead of just switching it off when it is not in use.
Use LED Bulbs
Using energy-efficient bulbs is one of the easiest yet effective ways to save on energy bills. Apart from saving energy, they also last a lot longer than other types of light bulbs.
Get Rid of Drafts
Drafts can drain your home’s temperature to a considerable degree. A direct consequence of this is increasing energy bills. This condition is worse if your house was built before the 90s. Consider air sealing your home and get rid of drafts.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
Installing this in your home is not only convenient, but it saves a lot of energy as well.
How to Save Money on Personal Care
Personal care and grooming is a significant money drainer. According to a Forbes article, a total of $6.9 billion is spent on grooming by men. Without sounding stereotypical, this figure is a lot higher when it comes to women.
The never-ending pursuit of staying youthful is fueling this industry. So is there a way to streamline your expenses without sacrificing your attempt to remain young for as long as possible? Yes!
Just like your food and pet food, making a bulk purchase can also be applied to personal care items. These include shampoos, soaps, and deodorants, among others.
The cost per unit for family size items is typically lesser than regular-sized items. It is a great way to trim your expenses on grooming products.
Purchase During Sales
This is a no brainer. Every retailer and store offers sales a couple of times during the year. It is a great time to stock up on your favorite items, whether it is cosmetics, makeup, or skincare.
However, personal items have a life-shell of 12 to 24 months after they are opened. Therefore, it is good to consider this before you make a bulk purchase. It is because makeup items and cosmetics last a lot longer than grooming products.
If you work with big beauty stores, you can also make use of employee discounts. It is a great way to reduce expenses on personal care items and other products. Among the stores that offer employee discounts include Ulta, CVS, Sephora, Nordstrom, and Macy’s, among others.
Ask for Samples
Beauty stores and retailers will have samples for almost anything. This is a great way to try out new items before you decide to buy a full-sized one. You can save a lot of money this way.
However, you need to know that you might have to ask for samples. Sales representatives and those behind counters will not know if you require samples or not. So don’t be shy to ask for it.
If you visit hotels and have access to samples, such as bathroom amenities, personal care items, and stationery, you can also bring it with you. It is not rude to take away these items from hotels. After all, they are complimentary.
Use It Before You Buy It
Many people have the habit of purchasing multiple items of the same product. It is not unusual for an average person’s vanity or a bathroom cupboard to be overflowing with unused and unopened products.
Go through all your creams and potions and use them before you go for another shopping spree. Unless the product is expired or opened for more than ten months, you may still be able to use it.
Buy Only What You Use
Just because your favorite makeup artist creates spectacular looks with different products does not mean you should go and buy everything.
If you don’t use blusher and bronzer, does it make sense to purchase those? This type of random consumer behavior can be a grave mistake.
Remember that they are professionals, and their job requires them to use multiple products to create.
Quality Over Quantity
Certain products, such as hairdryers, makeup brushes, and applicators, require investment. A good quality hair dryer will protect your hair and also dry it faster. It will also last longer as well.
Makeup applicators that are good quality will also perform a lot better than a cheap one. So instead of buying a dozen cheap brushes that you cannot use, it is best to have a couple of good quality ones that will work great and also last longer.
It is important to take note that quality does not mean expensive. Drugstore brands have improved by leaps and bounds, and some affordable items can perform just as well as expensive and designer products. The best source of information is to watch dupe videos on YouTube.
Buy Your Products Online
Online e-retailers often offer products at lower rates most of the time. Apart from the brand’s official website, online giants, such as Amazon, are a great place to find good shopping deals.
Shopping online also allows you to compare prices at different platforms, which maximize your savings. Another added bonus of online shopping is to use apps with coupons. A popular app that you can use to save money on online shopping is Honey. All you need to do is sign up to get multiple coupons and promo codes. Click here to join.
The one thing that you have to consider while shopping online is the shipping price. Even if the price of the item is reduced and on offer, if the shipping charges are massive, you will end up paying more.
Cut Down on Salon Visits
It is not the end of the world if you don’t get your hair cut every week. It is fine to pamper yourself sometimes and for special events. However, it won’t hurt if you decide to get your haircut or styled after every two weeks or so.
Along the same lines, you can try and get your nails done at home. Professional treatments can be a boost every once in a while. But you can get great results by following tutorials and using your ideas as well. An added advantage of treating yourself at home is that you can use the products multiple times as well.
Buy Less Clothing
The struggle to find something to wear every morning stems from random buying. Randomly buying everything that catches your fancy can result in a wardrobe full of mismatched items.
If you have a thoughtfully planned wardrobe, you will have no problem putting outfits together. Apart from this, you will save a lot of money by making intentional purchases.
Another reason to consider buying less clothing is the carbon footprint. Up to 20 billion lbs of clothes end up in landfills in the United States alone. As a result of this, toxic gases are emitted, which are harmful to the environment.
Reconsider Your Gym Membership
A vast number of working individuals have memberships in fancy gyms even if they don’t work out regularly. Just because you don’t go, it doesn’t mean you are not paying for it.
If you go to the gym just once in a week, ask yourself if you need the membership. The same applies if you have exclusive membership in other places, such as a club.
How to Save Money on Transportation
A lot of working Americans struggle with auto-loans. Owning a car is not cheap at all. It can cost as much as $8,698 to run and maintain a vehicle in the US. Some of the best ways you can save money on transportation are:
Use Public Transport
Using public transportation is a great way to reduce your travel expenses. If you don’t have access to public transportation, rideshare services are a great alternative.
Uber and Lyft are popular services that are available in almost all cities, so it won’t be a problem finding one. You can also choose to carpool to work if the services are available.
Apart from reducing your expenses, it also reduces your carbon footprint.
Keep Your Car in Top Condition
If the situation is such that you need to have a car for work and personal reasons, keep the car in tip-top condition. It can include keeping the tires inflated, maintaining the engines, and changing lubricants often.
The more battered your car is, the harder it is on your wallet. You will have to compromise on mileage as well as gas consumption.
Another way to minimize your auto expenses is to have just one car. Even if you don’t use it often, you will pay insurance for the vehicles you have registered in your name. Cars also have a depreciating disadvantage, so the smartest way is to sell it off and use the money for something useful.
Pay Your Auto Bills on Time
If you have a car, apart from maintenance, it also entails regular payments.
Bills related to cars, including parking tickets and speeding tickets, can also add up to a significant amount. These are the two most common bills incurred by the vast majority of car owners in the US. It can be worse if you don’t pay them on time. They can increase up to three times, which can make it a massive burden in your personal finances.
Also, make sure that you clear your insurance fees on time. Incurring late fees and penalties can blow your finances out of the water.
If you have always thought that it requires a dramatic lifestyle change to trim your expenses, you are mistaken. It all begins with making some subtle adjustments in your everyday living.
Whether it is making conscious purchases or making the best of what you have in your inventory, it contributes to how much you end up saving. Personal expenses are an integral part of daily life, so every penny counts for the overall success of financial planning.