For some people, the advice to cook at home in order to save money seems like a no-brainer. We all know that bringing a bagged lunch with a sandwich to work is cheaper than going to a restaurant. But if you are trying to save money, you should start cooking at home more often, and only go out to eat on special occasions.
As an added bonus, getting into the habit of cooking at home can be a huge stress relief for some people. Instead of sitting at a desk, you are doing something physical, and focusing your mind on something other than your problems. If you feel like you do not have enough time to go grocery shopping, start using Walmart Grocery Pickup. This cuts down at least an hour or two in time wandering the grocery store and standing in line on a Saturday. Just pick the products you want, schedule a time, and go pick it up. Best of all, it’s free.
Going to Sephora and Ulta for new makeup truly is a wonderful experience, and spending $20 here and there can feel like treating yourself to a little reward for all of your hard work. However, most of us who love to shop for makeup must admit that we will buy a new product before finishing an old one. Or, we see something a beauty guru recommended on YouTube, and immediately want to buy it straight away. With all of the hype surrounding makeup celebrities like Jeffree Star and Kylie Jenner, it has become natural to drop $50 just for a new eyeshadow palette. This habit can add up to over $100 a month, or $1,200 a year. In reality, you can still look beautiful without spending a fortune on makeup.
If you already have an extensive makeup collection, start by completely stopping yourself from going to Sephora for the next year, and avoid the hype surrounding celebrity brands. Try to find “dupes” for your favorite products at the pharmacy. CVS has amazing coupon deals on a regular basis, too. And if there are some “holy grail” items you really, truly need from Sephora, like a special foundation, ask your friends and family to give you Sephora gift cards for your birthday and the holiday season.
If you are only working one job, you may want to consider getting a side-hustle. This is a second (or third) job that will give you additional income. A lot of people decide to sign up for Uber or Lyft so that they can drive people in their spare time after work or on the weekends. Others become meal delivery drivers for apps like Grub Hub and Uber Eats. These are flexible options that a lot of young people think are great to fit into their existing schedules.
Even if it seems exhausting, remember that your side-hustle could just be temporary so that you can save up for your goal. If you can make an extra $150 a week from a side hustle, that’s $7,800 a year. That’s already a huge step towards your $25,000 goal.
21. Do Your Manicures, Pedicures, and Waxing at Home
Some people accuse women of being high maintenance if they insist on always having manicures, pedicures, and waxing done once a week. However, some jobs actually expect women to be incredibly well-groomed if they want to be taken seriously in their field. If this describes your situation, it seems like a very expensive necessity. But with a little bit of research, you can start doing all of these procedures at home.
With a foot bath and some manicure tools, you can start doing your own manicures and pedicures at home for under $20 total. Almost every woman already has a bottle of nail polish at home, but if you need a new one, it’s usually less than $10 a bottle. If you feel intimidated, check out YouTube for tutorial videos. Once you buy the tools, you should be able to keep doing your own manicures and pedicures on your own, instead of spending $20 or more a week. Or, buy stick-on nails in bulk. If you buy a wax warmer and wax beads online, it’s just $20 for a starter kit.
If you have a good job, and you do not want to add on a second side-hustle, you may want to see if there is any chance that you could make more money. Explain to your boss that you are trying to make more money in order to buy a house, and ask if there are any opportunities for growth in a new position. Or, try to see if there is opportunity for overtime hours.
More often than not, your boss will be happy that you are asking about other opportunities at the company, instead of demanding a raise or trying to leave. As long as you approach them in a professional manner, it should be a positive experience. However, if you are met with any kind of hostility, or a flat-out refusal to give you any kind of assistance, you need to really take that into consideration. Are you happy at your current salary? If they are refusing to budge, or making false promises, you may need to look for a new job.
In the United States, most households have an over-abundance of food. When you open your pantry, you might find cans and boxes of food that were never eaten. Unfortunately, a lot of people leave food for so long, it eventually goes past its expiration date, and it might get thrown away before you can use it. Does this sound like you? If so, it may be an opportunity to save money on groceries.
Instead of letting the food in your stockpile go bad, start cooking the food. Sure, it won’t be as delicious as some of the meals that you might have been planning, but if you can go a few weeks without going to the grocery store, you will save hundreds of dollars. Once you are forced to eat your stockpile food, it will also help you to realize just how little you actually need to buy when you start getting groceries again.
When you have friends, you may be tempted to go out to expensive restaurants, vacations, and hobbies together every weekend. But when you are trying to save money, these social outings can seriously take a toll on your wallet. If you can no longer afford to go on extravagant outings, be honest with your friend about your goal to save $25,000.
This does not mean that you have to give up spending time with your friends. Just tell them that for the next year, you want to only do activities that are free or cheap. If your friend refuses to accept this, they were probably never your friend in the first place. A true friend will completely understand your goal, and support your decision.
17. Get a More Affordable Gym Membership (Or Cancel It)
A lot of people have a gym membership “just in case” they decide to start working out, but they are never actually using it. They feel too embaressed to cancel the subscription, but that’s just silly. It’s very literally throwing money away. If you honestly never go to the gym, go ahead and cancel it, and automatically save a few hundred dollars over the course of the year.
Even if you do work out on a regular basis, consider canceling your membership anyway. You can get exercise for free by running in the park, joining a local sports league, or by doing landscaping in your back yard. It doesn’t have to be expensive to stay in shape.
The average American spends over $100 a month on their cell phone plan, on top of whatever they paid to purchase their phone. Sometimes, this plan is combined together so that you are paying for both to a company like Verizon or AT&T. However, it is far cheaper to buy a used phone outright, and then find a carrier that will charge a fraction of the price.
Companies like Tracfone, Republic Wireless, Mint, and Total Wireless all have phone plans that are only $10 per month for service and data. You can put these plans on brand new iPhones, and even keep your old number. So your friends will never know that you are on a cheaper plan, anyway. If you go from $100 to $10, that’s a savings of $90 a month. Or, $1,080 over the course of a year.
There are plenty of people out there who feel like they need to “Keep up with the Joneses” and buy a brand new phone every single year. Depending on the brand, this can cost between $500 to $1,000 for the phone, as well as taxes, accessories, and a potentially a new phone service plan.
Before you buy a new phone, ask yourself if you really need it. Can you keep using your current phone for another year or two? Also consider buying a second-hand phone if you really need an upgrade for work obligations.
There are some people who insist on having the newest Macbook every single year who will go to great lengths to stand in line outside of the Apple Store. They are always around $1,300 each when they are brand new. These computers are expensive because they are high quality and built to last. So it doesn’t make sense to be upgrading your computer every single year.
During your one-to-two year savings journey, keep the same computer that you already have. Only upgrade if it is completely necessary for your work. For example, if your computer’s operating system no longer allows Google Chrome to work, that’s a huge problem! You can also save money by buying a second-hand computer, instead of purchasing a brand new one.
In the United States, there is a huge emphasis on the car we drive. It becomes a status symbol, and it tells people a lot about who you are as a person. Remember that these are all just social constructs. Warren Buffet is a billionaire, and yet he will buy the same car and keep it for over 10 years.
If you have more than one vehicle in your household, ask your spouse if it’s possible to share just one. You could sell your car and make a few thousand dollars back if you own it out-right, and it could also save on monthly car insurance and gas. If you live in a city, you probably have the option to take public transportation or walk to work, too. The amount of money could can save would vary from person to person. But if your monthly car expenses add up to $400, that’s $4,800 per year.
Most Americans have more clothes than they actually need. And a lot of people have outfits in their closet that are still new-with-tags. There is a very good chance that if you stopped buying clothes completely for the next year, you could still be fine, and totally presentable in your every-day-life.
Remember that clothes don’t have to be such a big deal. There is a reason why some people subscribe to the idea of a “capsule wardrobe”. The amount of money you could save on clothes over time would vary drastically from person to person, but for some, it could easily add up to over $1,000 a year.
If you are going on a journey to save money, let your partner know immediately. After all, if they are one of the most important people in your life, they should know about your hopes and dreams. If you agree to make this journey together, it can be a lot easier to achieve your goal.
If you and your partner both agree to go on cheap dates, cook at home, and spend less money in general, it can become a lot easier to be held accountable. And if you are married, you could both contribute money into the same savings account, and the $25,000 will grow even faster.
Just because you are trying to save money doesn’t mean you have to give up going out and having fun. Nearly every Parks and Recreation department tries to have free community events planned for its residents, especially in the spring and summer. These could be craft shows, outdoor concerts, workshops, car shows, and so much more. There may also be a local coffee shop that hosts an open mic night.
Once you start going to a lot of these free events, you may start running into the same people who are doing what you are doing. This is great, because it means that you can surround yourself with a “tribe” of new friends who are like-minded people. Even after your year or two of saving is over, you may find yourself continuing to go to these events, simply because it’s a lot of fun.
Everyone has to pay your bills, no matter where you live. But there are almost always ways to cut down on your monthly bills. Call your electricity, phone, internet, and gas companies to ask if they are willing to give any kind of discount for being a loyal customer. You may have to ask if there is a “customer retention department”.
If your utility companies are not willing to budge, you may want to consider switching to another company Sometimes, there will be sign-up bonuses that will give you a great deal for one year when you first sign up. Look for offers, and make a switch, if only temporarily.
If you have a steady full-time job, you may put some money aside from each paycheck to go towards your vacation. If you are trying to reach your goal of getting to $25,000, you may want to consider putting off a vacation for at least a year or two, until you reach your goal.
Considering that most vacations cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, this is a huge chunk of money that could put you one step closer to your goal. Instead of flying to an exotic location, consider giving yourself a “stay-cation”. Relax at home, read a good book, and get things done.
If your living expenses are really high, and it’s not possible to break your lease any time soon, you should consider getting a roommate or two. By splitting the cost of your rent in half, you can immediately begin putting that extra money towards your goal of saving.
If you rent was $1,500 alone, it can go down to $750. After one year, that adds up to $9,000. That’s a huge chunk of money towards your $25,000 goal!
Do you have a two-bedroom apartment, but you’re just one person? You could be bringing in some extra income by renting out a room on AirBnB. If you live in an urban area, you will be almost guaranteed to be fully booked at all times, as long as you are offering a reasonable rate.
Every location is different, and the amount of money you can get for your space may vary drastically. However, let’s assume you can make $100 per night from renting out a room. Multiple that $100 by 10 nights per month, and that’s $1,000, or $12,000 per year towards your goal.
A lot of people refuse to give up their habit of going to Starbucks for a $4 coffee every single day. They make the excuse that it gives them a place to study outside of the house, or that it’s the only coffee that helps keep them awake. Sorry to say, but most of those reason are just excuses. If you went to Starbucks and spent $4 per day 365 days a year, that’s $1,460…And most people spend more than $4 per trip.
That is a significant chunk of money that could be going towards your $25,000 goal! Instead of going to Starbucks, get the K-Cups or a bag of coffee grounds, and start making the exact same coffee at home. You can give yourself an equally relaxing atmosphere with good music, a coffee bar, and everything else, too.
Almost everyone has a monthly subscription that they put on a credit card and completely forget about. It could be a video streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. Maybe it’s your gym membership, or a fee to join an online course. Even if it is only $10 a month, that adds up to $120 per year. Considering that you may have multiple subscriptions, this could be several hundred dollars you are wasting.
Instead of thinking in terms that maybe some day you’ll use it, cancel, and wait until you are actually ready to start again. For example, maybe there is a blizzard that is forcing you to stay home from work for a few days, and you would love to get that Netflix subscription back. Get it back for one month, and then cancel it.
3. Remind Yourself Of How Much Your Investments Will Be Worth
Once you get in the habit of investing wisely, you will realize that every dollar counts. Suddenly, “It’s just $5” turns into- “But that $5 could become $10.” There are a lot of different ways to invest, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer on how to do it. You may want to invest in the stock market, or start a business.
If you are trying to save for retirement, it becomes more important than ever to start investing. When you invest in a ROTH IRA, your retirement savings will grow to the point where if you start saving in your 20’s, you can become a millionaire by the time you retire.
If your job is not paying you enough to save money and achieve your goals, it may be time for you to update your resume and switch careers. Yes, this is easier said than done, and sometimes, it might feel like you are lucky to be employed at all. If you really want to make a big change in your career, it may require you to take a class, move to a different town, or say goodbye to co-workers who have become friends.
Remember that at the end of the day, you are the only person responsible for your success and well-being. And sometimes, you have to make the choices that are going to be the best for you, and your future. Always be looking out for your own best interests, and consider all options.
Remember that the journey to saving $25,000 will be a long road. It will not always be easy. In fact, it is more likely that you will have a lot of issues along the way. Just remind yourself how important it is to get to the goal you desire. Whether it’s a new house, a debt-free life, or anything else, you will feel proud of yourself in the end.
Also remind yourself that this is frugal lifestyle to save your $25,000 is only temporary. Once you are done with your timeline, you can go back to living however you want. The more strict you are with your saving habits, the easier your future will become. You can do this! Don’t give up.