I know what you’re thinking. Why is this girl wearing a Louis Vuitton scarf and preaching to me about saving money? Girl, what?
At work I’m referred to as the budget police because I not only try to watch what I spend, but I will shame you on your wasteful spending. With love, of course. But, sometimes people try to call me out when I get an online order in or I wear a nice bag by saying “Oh, I thought you were on a budget.”
If you’ve been following me for a while then you know that my biggest vice are designer handbags. And of course I love to shop and I’m able to do that because I budget in other parts of my life. So today I wanted to share my simple tips to save money so if you’ve had your eye on a new pair of shoes or want to finally take that vacation, this will hopefully help you to cut out some wasteful spending.
6 TIPS TO SAVE MONEY
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR ACCOUNT
It’s 10pm, do you know what your bank account looks like?
I’ve known so many people that don’t want to look at their account and don’t want to deal with it. They just want to swipe the card and deal with it later. Nope, not on my watch.
The first thing I recommend is printing off a bank statement and really looking at what you’re spending money on. When you spend five dollars here and there, you don’t think anything of it because its just $5. But, that stuff adds up and then you realize you spent $50 on nonsense.
When I was in college, I would always scroll through my bank account and be so annoyed with myself because it was all food charges. Chipotle here, chick fil a there, a random $5 DVD that I didn’t need and candy from CVS. I didn’t think anything of it because who gets mad over 8 bucks for Chipotle. Well that stuff adds up and when I wanted to buy new clothes I couldn’t because I wasted all my money.
It’s time to face the music people. Print off your bank statements. Get a pretty little red pen and start making notes and crossing things off that you know you didn’t need in your life so you can make some changes in time for the next statement.
PACK YOUR OWN LUNCH… AND BREAKFAST & SNACKS
I swear I don’t have an issue with food. I love food. I just think we waste so much money on food.
Let me set the scene for you.
Lunch time rolls around and you’re starving. Maybe you’ll step out to get a salad or it’s a cheat day so you’ll treat yourself to tacos. Naturally you have to get something to drink too. Oh and they have cookies at the counter, yum. Your total comes up to $15. Or maybe you’re on a budget and you have a go to place. You don’t have to buy a drink because you have water at the office so your total comes up to $8. Not bad. It’s just one charge and it’s lunch.
Well if you spend that money for lunch 5 days a week, that’s anywhere from $40 to $75 a week. And that much money for a whole month is anywhere from $160 to $300.
And all of a sudden that little lunch doesn’t seem so great anymore.
Not to mention most of us don’t have time to eat breakfast at home so we grab something while heading into work and of course we get hungry when 3pm rolls around so we need something to snack on. Charge that to the card as well. In the moment, it may seem like you’re not spending that much but when you account for the fact that it’s 5 days a week and an entire month, it really does add up.
I’ve gotten into the habit of packing my breakfast, lunch, snack, drink and all. I can spend $5 on a box of breakfast sandwiches and it’ll last me a week. It’s definitely more cost efficient and I’m not spending money here and there during the week. I’ve saved so much money from not buying food out and bringing my own food. And plus, since it’s winter I don’t always want to throw on my layers to go get food. I can just waltz over to the microwave and heat up my food.
And if you work from home and don’t head into the office, you can still apply this to your life. Make sure you’re preparing your food rather than running out for fast food!
BE STRATEGIC WHEN PURCHASING TOILETRIES
I wanted to mention this because I feel it’s such a missed opportunity when it comes to saving money.
Raise your hand if you only buy shampoo or soap when you’re down to the last drop or your last bar of soap. Or you just put in the last toilet paper so you know it’s time to buy a new pack. You run to CVS and spend $7 on shampoo and conditioner on Monday. No big deal. But, you’re running out of toilet paper by Wednesday so that’s $6. And man, you really need new razors by Friday so that $8.
Again, these things add up!! On top of all your food purchases for the week, the new pair of jeans you had to have, gas or a metro card and now toiletries.
I used to make these rookie mistakes in college because I didn’t know any better. But, my mom is so smart when it comes to this that I’ve learned from her. She always makes sure we are fully stocked with shampoo, soap and toilet paper long before we even finish what we have. She makes specific trips the Bed, Bath & Beyond to get a majority of our stuff and combines coupons to get money off.
It saves so much money and we’re not constantly stressed that we’re running out of this or that.
FOLLOW THE THREE DAY SHOPPING RULE
I read an article once on how this girl saved thousands and changed her financial situation.
I can’t seem to find it or else I would have linked it, but basically she lived by the three day rule. If she saw a sweater she wanted, she would walk away from it and if she was still thinking about it three days later she would get it. She even followed this rule when it came to food. If she was craving steak, she would see if she was craving it three days later. She found that most of the time she had forgotten and gotten over it so it helped her impulse spending.
I’m sure we’re all guilty of making impulse purchases. I mean you see something you fall in love with and you just have to have it. But, then it sits in your closet and nothing happens… I’ve started to apply this to my life and found that it’s been super helpful especially with the new spring arrivals.
When I was younger (and if you could believe it, more dramatic than I am now) I would go to the mall and pretty much needed everything in my life. My mom is the true budget police and if it wasn’t on sale then it wasn’t happening. And as we walked away (or as she dragged me away in the middle of my tantrum) she would always tell me “if it’s meant for you then it will be there.” Most of the time I would forget about it and sometimes when I was really in love with something we would go back and it would be on super sale in my size.
I also look at it like an iPhone. I already have one. It may not be the newest one, but it works just fine. And imagine I pay full price and jump into the newest one just because, but the minute I get it, the even newer and nicer one comes out. Plus you always know a new and nicer one will be coming out every year.
Yeah no, stop making impulse buys people, you really don’t need that *insert thing you insist you can’t live without here* in your life.
GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR WARDROBE
Every morning I like to play this game with myself. I open my closet full of clothes and open all my drawers full of clothes and then complain I have nothing to wear. It’s so fun.
Every so often, I make an effort to go through my wardrobe and re-organize it. I donate everything I haven’t worn recently and organize what I’m keeping. Every time I do this, I find something that I forgot about and start adding it into my wardrobe again like it’s a new piece I’ve never seen.
Style isn’t buying new things and throwing it together. Personal style is about how you take something and make it your own. So take a look inside your wardrobe and play around and mix and match. If you wear a certain top with a denim jacket all the time, switch it up and see what else you can wear with it.
I’ve gotten more positive feedback on an outfit where I’ve mixed things in my wardrobe then when I wear head to toe new things.
PICK YOUR VICE, YOU CAN’T HAVE EVERYTHING
Do you love traveling? And concerts? And shopping, getting facials and getting your nails done and going out to eat and grabbing a drink with friends?
That’s so nice. You should like those things. But, the reality is, doing all that and then some is taking a toll on your bank account. And that’s only fun things, we’re not even factoring the actual bills you have to pay.
I think if you’re serious about saving money, you need to figure out what it is that you really love and can’t live without.
If you want to travel and love doing so then maybe you should cut out the weekly manis and pedis so you can save for your trip. Or maybe you have your eyes on a new designer bag (me) and you’ve been eyeing that gorgeous Gucci bag for like two years now (me). Then you need to make choices and cut things out to save money for a splurge piece.
It’s all about choices and making smart ones. What about you? What are some of your favorite tips to save money?
But, honestly, when you’re trying to save money it’s about being honest with yourself.
We all know when we’re wasting money and being too loose with our spending. Even if we don’t admit it or want to deal with it, we know. And if you’re fine with it, then that’s fine. But, if you’re serious about it, then you need to start making changes. You don’t have to shock yourself and take big measures in one day, but just small steps to eventually get there.
And follow your instincts when it comes to your purchases. The other day I was in line at Sephora, I had a lipstick and lip mask in my hand. I then remembered that I finished the sample of the primer I loved and wanted to pick it up. I only had a little bit of a gift card left over so if I had gotten all three items, I would have been paying at least $50 even with my gift card. I decided to put the lipstick back since I didn’t really need it at that moment, but the primer I was literally scraping the bottle for.
If you’re serious with saving money, you should start pulling yourself out of line and really questioning your purchases and be honest with yourself!!
I hope you guys enjoyed this post! A little tough love never hurt anybody. Thank you so much for reading!!