All my life I’ve hated math, except when it comes to money. I’m one of those people who loves checking all my bank accounts, making budgets, stashing money away, and more importantly – spending it on things I love. After all, what is the point in having any money if you’re just going to deprive yourself? Money = freedom. Money = travel. Money = QUESO. While there’s more to life than money, how you use what you have can empower you or leave you feeling emo. Here are some of my favorite money tips and tricks!
I realize that not all of these will work for everyone, especially people with tons of debt or tons of kids (I don’t know about that life), but hopefully you can take away something that does work for you!
Have a Safety Net – Duh. This is Money 101, but not everyone heeds this advice even if literally everyone says it. It’s so important though! Make sure you’re stashing away something, no matter how small, every single month. You never know when you might need it! I have a separate spreadsheet in my budget called Savings where I put away $100 every month. I pretend like it isn’t there even though it’s really still in my checking account. This way I’ll never overdraw my account and if I have an unexpected expense then it’s not a big deal because the money is already there. It won’t eat away my money for the rest of the month.
Make a Flexible Budget – People tend to cringe at the word “budget”, but it can actually be fun. I’m not overly strict with mine. It’s more of a goal. If I meet it cool, if I don’t it’s also cool. Why? Because of the built-in safety net. I have categories for:
- Automatic transfers – any money that I know will come out of my account every month
- Gas/car stuff
- Self-care/other – probably my fave category! This is where I put my massages, hair appointments, vitamins, chiropractor appointments, etc.
I have it set up to where it shows me my “goal amount” left to spend each month and how much I can actually spend if I need it. Keep in mind, my “actual amount left to spend” doesn’t take any of my savings into account so I could really spend even more if I had to do so. The key is tricking yourself, people.
Pretend Credit is Debit – Again, another tricking yourself move. I know not everyone can do this, but if you can it’s the best. Treat your credit card as a debit and automatically deduct anything you spend from your budget. That way you won’t be surprised when you get your statement; you can just automatically pay it because you know the money is there.
Take Advantage of a 401k – It’s never to early to take advantage of your company’s 401k plan if they offer one. Most companies will match a portion of whatever you put in, so it’s basically free money. A lot of people will tell you to go full-on from the beginning and contribute the max amount, but that wasn’t my approach. I’d rather have a little more cushion in my actual checking than an insane amount of extra cash in my 401k that I won’t spend until I’m old, but you do what works for you! I’ve gradually increased my contribution every year after I get my raise so it isn’t as much of a dent in my paycheck.
Open a Separate Savings Account – I’ve been meaning to do this for years, but this year I finally did it. I opened an actual savings account. So in addition to stashing away $100 every month in my fake savings account, I put away another $100 in a legit one. I went with Ellevest because it was designed by women for women, taking into the account that we typically make less than men and have different savings goals. Plus the format is pretty and easy to use. Now I haven’t had mine long enough to know if it’s going to make me a bunch of extra money with my investments, but either way, I have money set aside to grow in a place where I can’t easily spend it. That’s always a good thing.
Buy Quality, Not Quantity – If Marie Kondo has taught us one thing, it’s that you need to buy things that spark joy and will LAST. This is something I’ve practiced for a long time with my purses especially, but I’ve been even more intentional about my overall shopping habits the past couple years. I never bother with cheap “fast fashion” stores like Forever 21, and instead opt for higher quality places like Madewell (my fave!). It saves you money in the long run because you won’t get sick of your clothes and they won’t fall apart as easily. I’d rather throw down $300+ at Madewell at once than randomly spend $20 here and there one cheap stuff.
Still don’t want to spend as much? You already know Target has the best of both worlds. I’ve had sweaters from Target for years that I love and that still look good. They’ve also really upped their skincare/beauty game.
Poshmark – Since I love purging my closet of things I don’t use, I have a store on Poshmark! It’s free, super easy to use, and a great way to make some extra cash. I’ve been using it for almost a year and have made a nice little chunk, which I naturally put in my fake savings account. You can sell anything from clothes and purses to jewelry and makeup (yes, people will even buy used makeup).
Bonus Tip: Citrine – If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know I’m about that magical woo-woo life. Citrine is said to attract money and abundance, so I’ve started keeping a little one in my wallet next to my money. Why not, ya know? I have noticed that since I’ve been doing that my 401k has been extra balling. If that’s coincidence or the Universe hearing me, I don’t really care. It’s fun.
For any couples who are wondering, these are all things that I do for my personal money. Worsham and I each still have our separate bank accounts as well as a joint one together for all of our combined expenses (mortgage, bills, date nights, house stuff, pet supplies, etc.). We like the idea of still having our own money to do whatever we please with, and we each have a designated portion of our paycheck automatically go to our joint account.
What are your favorite money-saving tips?