Ways I save money on the regular.12:00 AM
I'm always cognizant of my finances but this year I'm laser-focused because work fuck off time happens in November so my budget needs to be on point. I don't have the time, nor the desire, to adjust my lifestyle (read: I want to continue to buy what I want, when I want and do what I want) when not working so I'm scrutinizing my expenses with a magnifying glass and pumping up the jam (even more) with savings.
I've been on a spending freeze (for the most part) since the holidays ended. The $24 sweat pants and $2 yarn don't count since that's practically free when you consider those prices. Anyway, my point is that frivolous, daily spending is what's really dangerous because that's where money leaks out and you don't even noticing until it's too late.
The two biggest expenses that don't seem to make a significant impact at time of purchase but actually does, is food and drink. One often thinks that the small price of a coffee is nothing but add that up for the week, especially if you get more than just a basic coffee, and that's a pretty big chunk of money leaving your wallet.
I did a little experiment just for this post: 3 weeks ago, I took out $200. That's a lot of spending money (something that I never do; at most, I only have $20 on me) and a long time to have it burning a hole in my wallet. At the end of the 3 weeks, I wanted to see how much money was left over based on my daily spending habits.
Result: I have $215. I think I already had the $15 to start with by my point - I didn't spend a dime in those 3 weeks.
Here's how I don't spend during the week (or weekend, for that matter):
I don't buy food when I'm at work. I've been bringing my lunch to work since 2012...that's FIVE YEARS of not spending any money on food when at work. Pretty impressive, right?
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I bring my lunch AND dinner since I workout at 630pm and I go straight from work. This means I won't have time to go home to eat so I bring my dinner with me. An average lunch at work costs around $12 (including drink and taxes) which could mean $60 spent if I bought lunch each day. Fuck that noise. I lug a huge cooler to work that's stuffed with healthy food I make at home and that $60 stays in my wallet.
If I feel snackish, I have a drawer of healthy snacks that get replenished so things like nuts, Lara bars, coconut shreds etc are handy so I don't have to go downstairs to buy anything.
This includes drinks - I drink my coffee at home before I leave for the office and while I'm at work, I only drink water (refillable bottle and the water cooler at work).
I don't buy food when I'm out. Call me a creature of habit, but I eat at certain times: 7:30am, 12pm, 530pm. I plan my outings (errands etc) around these times so I don't have to run around hungry trying to find something to eat which prevents two things: me eating crap and me spending money.
I also have healthy snacks in my purse at all times so I can eat those to hold me over until I get home.
I very rarely buy drinks when I'm out. That's what my S'well bottle is for -- I fill that up and lug that around with me everywhere. The only time I buy coffee is when I have a gift card, a free coffee that I've stolen from my husband (from "roll up the rim") or free Starbucks rewards.
I don't go out much. This pretty much takes care of seeing things that would normally tempt me to spend money. I rarely go to the mall and if I do, I stay away from stores like Sephora or Indigo; places where they lure you in with bright lighting and pretty packages. It's not that I don't go out to avoid spending; it's that my old lady grumpiness prevents me from wanting to go out and be around humans.
There are other ways I save money (maybe another post?) - make my own things (soap, hats, scarves, craft things, planner items), participate in reward programs (ie. reviewing books that gives me 10 points per review and points = $), participate in money-back programs (ebates).