The new year is here, and I’m as broke as the city of Detroit (as a Michigander I can say that). Like many others reeling from credit card bills post-holiday spending, I’ve decided that this year, I’m going to be smarter about money. I’ve culled some of my favorite money-saving hacks that seem to be the easiest to implement into my life. If these don’t work, I may be forced to marry a millionaire. Either way, its going to be a great year!
Coffee — Part 1. Make your own coffee
I love (and spend so much money on) coffee so much that I’ve decided I need to write a two parter on it. Invest in a cool travel mug and add 15 extra minutes your morning routine to brew your own coffee. You’ll be saving over $1,000 a year.
Whether you drink coffee from a chain or from a local purveyor, most coffee shops offer refill options. Refills average about 50 cents on the regular, so you save your cup to use in case of emergency. And if the shame of carrying around an old paper cup like some kind of hobo isn’t motivation enough to force you to make your own coffee, I don’t know what is.
Become a beauty guinea pig
Salons like Bumble and Bumble are often looking for hair models for their stylists-in-training. And your budget pampering doesn’t stop there, Arrojo, Aveda and L’Oreal Professional Academy offer a range of discounted services including facials, hair color and massages. If you’re tied to a particular salon but still want to save money? Call and ask! Just because they don’t advertise it on their website, doesn’t mean your favorite hairdresser isn’t looking for a head to practice their skills on.
Host a clothing swap
Throw a clothing swap party with fashionable friends. It’s cheaper and you know who last wore those jeans…if that’s at all comforting. Check out our tutorial on making it a success.
Pay with cash
It is scientifically proven that seeing cash leave your hand will cut down on extra transactions. The physical act of giving someone money will make you think twice about spending it all foolishly. I never thought I’d say this, but thank God for all those cash only places in New York City.
Withdraw from non-fee ATMs only
Save yourself a fee every time you need to withdraw cash. Minimizing all those $2 and $3 penalty feeds means there will be more left in your account than out. In most cases, you’ll need to withdraw only from your bank’s local branch.
Toilet train your cat
We’re not saying it will be easy but it’ll be worth it. Train your cat could save you a minimum of $110 per year in cat litter. $110! What are you people feeding your cats?!
Visit your public library
Public libraries are awesome! Free internet (replacing all those coffee shops you’re no longer going to) and overdue fees that come at a fraction of the cost of a new book. They’re also amazing resources for music, movies and digital copy of books and magazines. Entertainment has never been so cheap!
Always be on the lookout for discounts
Step up to your role as a consumer and ask for deals, perks or extras from employees whenever you interact with them. Remember its part of their job to make you happy and keep you coming back.
Good luck! We’ll throw a party this time next year with all the money we’ve been able to save. Let us know your favorite budget-boosting tricks.