What are you spending the most money on? Coffee? Alcohol? Dining out? We've all been there. Sometimes money seems to pop into your account one minute, and disappear the next. Treating ourselves to things that we don't need, and can't afford... it's fun, sure, but it can hurt our budgets in the long-run. But there's good news. There are several ways to manipulate your spending so that you can have more money for the things you really need. Being an adult isn't about buying a new pair of heels because you want them. It's about buying the heels that you can afford. It's not the most carefree lifestyle, but it will keep your bills paid. Just by making simple changes to your everyday routine, you can save yourself loads of money in the long-run. Don't live in fear of your bank account — manipulate it. Here's how:
1. See If Your Bank Has Cash Back Deals
Many national banks have programs in place that give you partial cash back when you use your bank account at certain retailers. For instance, many banks will give up to 15 percent cash back when you spend on gas and groceries (aka what you spend most of your cash on). Say hello to free money!
2. Use Websites That Pay You To Shop Online
Did you know that you can be paid to shop online? It's true! There are tons of websites and apps out there such as Swagbucks, Ebates, and Ibotta that offer cash back, rebates, and coupons simply for shopping online. Happy shopping!
3. Remember The Library
Why are you spending money on buying books when you could be borrowing them from your local public library? Books are absolutely amazing, but admit it — there are tons on your bookshelf that you have never read. Don't have buyer's remorse when it comes to purchasing books. Get the book from the library first, and then purchase in a bookstore later on if you loved it.
4. Change Your Light Bulbs
Replace any incandescent bulbs with energy-saving LED bulbs. These light bulbs last up to 42 times longer traditional light bulbs, so you'll be spending less money in the long-run for replacements. Also, LED bulbs use less power overtime, which means a cheaper electricity bill every month.
5. Stop Paying For Cable
Studies show that canceling cable can save you up to $500 a year. Think of what you could be spending that money on instead of Food Network reruns. Invest in TV subscriptions such as Hulu Plus or Netflix add their costs in order to get your TV fix.
6. Bring Your Own Lunch
Bringing your own lunch to work can be such a money saver. Whether your workplace has a cafeteria or you're used to heading out for lunch, avoid spending the excess money by bringing your own lunch. This way you can ensure what you're eating is healthy, while also saving money. On average, Americans spend up to $1,000 every year on buying lunch. How crazy is that?!
7. Buy Generic
You don't need to buy brand name product for every purchase. According to Yahoo! Finance, when it comes to items like sugar, water, cereal, and dairy products you should buy generic. If you can't taste the difference, then why are you spending the extra cash?
8. Take Advantage Of Deal Websites
From Groupon to RetailMeNot, there are multiple websites out there that can alert you to deals in your area, and offer you coupon codes on things you already purchase. Never pay full price again.
9. Make Your Own Skincare
Never underestimate the value of good skincare. However, this doesn't mean that you have to pay top dollar for every product. By using products that you already have at home as substitutes for your average skin care can save you loads of money. For instance, use brown sugar for an all-over body exfoliant. Out of shaving cream? Use coconut oil instead. There are loads of ways to replace your traditional skin care with at home products, and this list will get you started on your DIY journey.
10. Ditch Your Gym Membership
Why work out in a fancy gym when you can get a great work out in the privacy of your own home? Find some YouTube fitness tutorials that you're into and start sweating — for free.
11. Go To Happy Hour
Late night drinks can be expensive. Go to happy hour instead! This way you can have drinks with your friends without breaking the bank. Let's do some fun math. Say you go out twice a week, and purchase three drinks for $8 each. If you go to happy hour, you'll be spending about $4 per drink instead. If you did this for an entire year, then you would be saving $1,248! Think of all the extra drinks you could buy!
12. Using A Basket Instead Of A Cart
By using a basket at the grocery store instead of a cart, you can stock up on fewer items. This means only reaching for items your really need instead of grabbing impulse buys to fill up the cart.
13. Always Ask For Water
When dining out, always ask for a water instead of a soda or tea. Not only is water super healthy for you, but it is always less expensive (read: free).
Don't underestimate thrift stores. As the saying goes, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." Check out your local thrift stores for amazingly cheap finds.
15. Research Beauty Products Before Purchasing
Whether it's the shiny packaging or the beautiful shade, beauty products are incredibly tempting impulse buys. However, they don't always work out they way that you want them too. Before you head to the checkout counter, do a quick Internet search on the product you want. It may not be all that meets the eye.