It's that time of year when we're all a little strapped for cash, so figuring out ways to save some money may sound like a pretty good idea. Sure, you can make a traditional budget and only spend a certain amount of money per week. But how about figuring out what you don't need to spend money on at all?
We all drop cash on things we don't need or already have at home. For me, it's buying something for dinner when I know I have food in my fridge. The ease and convenience of takeout wins me over every time — but it comes at a cost. When you add up little purchases like this over time, it's kind of scary how big the number can be.
It can be tough, but in order to save money, you have to change up your bad habits. In my case, I should plan ahead when it comes to getting dinner. I can make my own food ahead of time, or just suck it up and cook when I get home from work. It won't be as fun or easy as getting takeout, but I'll be saving myself $15 a day.
This same theory can be applied to so many things — think bottled water, expensive pre-packaged snacks, and over-priced lattes from a coffee shop. Do you really need these things? Probably not.
All it takes is a little forethought and planning, and you can save yourself a ton of money by figuring out what you don't need to spend money on. Here are a few more things that aren't worth the splurge.
1. New Clothes Fresh Out Of The Store
Nothing brings out the thrill of the hunt more than thrift store shopping. Sure, malls are convenient since you can go in and get the exact thing you want. But how great it is to pull an awesome $2 sweater off the pile in a vintage store, knowing that a similar sweater would cost like $50 more in the mall? Shopping in a thrift store may take a bit more time, but it will yield some pretty sweet results (like a wardrobe totally unique to you), while saving a ton of money.
2. Bottled Water For Days
When water pours for free out of any sink or drinking fountain, why is that we pay a few dollars for it to come in a bottle? It's possible to save so much more money if you buy a reusable water bottle and fill it up from the sink throughout the day. It's free, you'll probably end up drinking more water, and you'll be helping the environment by reducing your plastic waste. Sounds like a win-win-win to me.
3. A Coffee Every Morning
You may think you need a coffee every morning, but you don't need a coffee every morning — at least not from an expensive coffee shop. Get in the habit of brewing your own, and you'll save yourself loads of cash in the long run.
4. The Latest Gadgets
Tech companies make us feel like it's necessary to get the latest phone, tablet or laptop, but it turns out most of it is a marketing scheme. As noted by David Pogue in Scientific American , "Most people wouldn't be embarrassed to drive a 2009 Toyota Camry or to put their food in a 2002 refrigerator (or even a 1992 fridge). But walk around with a four-year-old iPhone, and people think you're some kind of caveman." According to Pogue, companies play into this insecurity and encourage customers to upgrade at least every two years. (So sneaky!) If you want to upgrade, go ahead. But if you're tight on cash, you can certainly hold out until your current version stops working.
5. Cable TV
Unless you love sports and can't watch it any other way, I say get rid of your pricey cable TV right now. For hundreds of dollars less you can get your streaming videos, and (bonus) watch them whenever you want. This is why cable is becoming a thing of the past for the Millennial generation. As noted by Claire Atkinson in the New York Post, "Traditional TV usage — which has been falling among viewers ages 18 to 34 at around 4 percent a year since 2012 — tumbled 10.6 percent between September and January. In the era of smartphones and Netflix, it’s no surprise that traditional TV is losing relevance for younger viewers." The rise of Netflix and other on-demand subscription services may not be so great for cable companies, but it sure is good for those of us who want to save some money.
6. Fancy Cleaning Supplies
You may feel like it's important to coat your bathroom with expensive bleaches and tile sprays, but I swear that's not the only way to get it clean. In fact, natural, homemade cleaning supplies work just as well. All you really need is some vinegar and baking soda, and you're pretty much good to go.
I love a good snack just as much as the next gal, but they certainly can get pricey. A bag of chips here, a container of fruit there, and before you know it you've dropped 20 bucks. Instead of letting yourself die of hunger all day, or whipping out your wallet whenever you get the munchies, try buying your favorite treats in bulk so you can bring your own snacks when you head out for the day. Keep snacks in your car, in your backpack, and in your desk at work. That way you'll be less likely to waste money at the vending machine. Oh, and bonus points if you make the snacks yourself.
We all get into bad spending habits, like dropping cash on lattes or pricey snacks, when we could just get all that stuff from home. Remember not to spend extra money on these types of things, and you're sure to save yourself a lot of cash.
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