Trying to build up your savings is one of the hardest things to do when money is tight. So many of us are living paycheck to paycheck and can barely find the money for their next meal, how in the world are they supposed to build their savings?
When you think about possibly having $2600 in your savings account next year, how does that make you feel? Pretty darn good, eh? (Wow, there’s the daily proof that I’m a Canadian!).
Saving money doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it out to be. If you were to implement these 10 small changes into your life you can easily save $50 a week and make this goal a reality! Let’s make it happen.
10 Ways to Save $2600 in One Year (or less!)
Try Free Entertainment
As a 20-something most of my social invites include nights out at a bar or expensive dinner with friends. The key to being able to save money is to satisfy the need for social interaction by figuring out some great free or inexpensive alternatives to going out every Friday night.
Some of the most fun nights I’ve had with friends were game nights! I’m not sure if this is because I’m secretly a 92-year-old not a 23-year-old. Game nights are great because you can sit around for hours eating cheap snacks and having a bottle of wine. Most of the time game nights just end in tears (the laughing kind of course!) and they’re just the best.
Another option for free entertainment is having a potluck instead of going out to dinner. You assign each person a course and you don’t have to spend $50 on an expensive dinner and drinks with friends. It’s also great if you’re a picky eater like me because people will usually bring food you’ve never heard of and you’ll get to try all sorts of stuff!
We live in an age of subscription boxes and online streaming services for just about everything. But we need to ask ourselves how many of these services do you really need to survive?
Unfortunately, the answer is zero. I’ll admit to having a Netflix subscription that I will never get rid of because it’s my favourite place to find weird shows but other than Netflix I’ve deleted all of my subscription services and it’s been great for my wallet and for my time management.
One awesome feature that a lot of online subscription services offer (i.e., JustFab, Audible, etc.) is that they give you the option to pause or skip the month to save some money. I personally do this with JustFab, I only really need two new pairs of shoes a year and I just skip the other months when I don’t need it but I still get to enjoy the good deals!
Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
Meal planning is the key to keeping your grocery bills at a reasonable level and spending less money eating out. Failing to plan means planning to fail!
Recently, I discovered this website called $5 Meal Plan where for only $5 a month they’ll send you a detailed meal plan for each week AND a grocery list. I’m the type of person who would cook the same 5 meals every week if my family let me. This service seriously changed everything for me and made my meals a whole lot different. You can try $5 Meal Plan here and get your first two weeks free to try it out!
Learning how to meal plan successfully or using a service to do it for you will save you from buying meals because of lack of planning and also will keep you on track at the grocery store. It’s pretty awesome!
Make Your Savings a Bill
A very popular finance quote is “do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” This is a really great financial principle to live by. There are so many of us going through our lives thinking that we don’t have the money to be able to build up a savings account because we have “too many expenses” but let’s be real, we could make it work.
To keep yourself more consistent with your savings efforts, you can set up an automatic payment every week that you get paid that will shoot straight towards your savings account. It can be as small as $5 to start, you won’t even miss the money.
Once you’re able to realize that you don’t need that $5, you increase it to $10 and so on. Saving money is best when you don’t have to think about it and you don’t see the money.
Shop at Discount Stores First
When you’re young you want to be seen as “cool” by your peers, and let’s be real, discount stores aren’t cool… but saving money sure is! (I am dork, I am a dork, I am a dork).
Discount and dollar stores have a lot of awesome brand names and cheap stuff that you’ll get for half the price at a regular store and they (usually) work just as well. It’s all about perception. If you need people to perceive you to be this super bougie person who can afford to spend an extra $5 for laundry detergent, do your thing.
But if you don’t care about how other people see you, go to those dollar/discount stores!
Make Your Morning Coffee At Home
I totally understand your need to caffeinate in the morning, there are some days where I swear I wouldn’t be able to function without the thought of caffeine in the day.
However, I’m definitely not the type of person who needs to go to a fancy coffee shop and spend more than $5 every day. A great way to save money is to invest in a decent thermal mug, and a french press and make your coffee at home.
It’ll taste great (not starbucks great, but great) and you’ll save $2-3 dollars a day at least!
Cut Out Junk Food
Ahh, the dreaded cutting out of things that make us feel good. This is one of the tips that will help your wallet and your waistline. More bang for your buck!
Junk food is one of the most expensive foods you can buy for the amount of nutrition that is actually inside of it. Cutting out junk food will make you not only feel better physically, but it will also make your wallet fuller.
I’m definitely guilty of using junk food as a way of rewarding myself when something good happens, but also as a crutch when something goes wrong. I know I’m not alone on this one, who’s with me? I know that when I go on a junk food ban I always end up with a ton of extra money at the end of the month.
Earn Cash Back
So, this is one of those things where you need to spend money to save money, but I promise you it’s worth it. I have two cashback sites that I personally use every time I shop, one for general merchandise, and the other specifically for groceries.
The first is called Ebates! Ebates is a free online website that gets an affiliate commission for referring you to certain online stores and instead of keeping it for themselves they throw a bunch of cash back at YOU the consumer. How awesome is that? You pay no money, and they give you money for buying things you were already going to buy. Sometimes online shopping is completely unavoidable, and you may as well be making money back when you’re buying it. Check out Ebates 100% for free here!
The second cashback site that I love (it’s also an app!) is called Checkout 51. This one is awesome because groceries are an unavoidable expense that you need to survive! The way checkout 51 works is each week they post certain items that they’re giving you cash back for buying and eventually once you’ve scanned enough receipts the offers will be more tailored to your individual needs. How awesome is that? You can get $1 back for buying a certain brand of salsa, or a kind of laundry detergent. I just love free money. Start using Checkout 51 today!
You should always check for cash back opportunities before you buy!
Buy Generic Whenever Possible
Anything that you aren’t able to buy for cheap at a discount/dollar store you can probably find a cheaper brand of at the grocery/bix box store. The crazy thing about generic brands is a lot of the times it’s made by the exact same company and is the exact same product they’re just able to use less advertising for that specific brand so they mark it up less. Crazy, eh?
You don’t need to pay that brand name mark up for things that no one will see (unless they open your fridge, of course).
Save on Heating Costs
Heating and utilities end up being a pretty big chunk of someone’s monthly expenses. There are a ton of great ways to save money on heating and cooling costs especially, I’ll throw you a couple easy tips.
Put on more clothes when the weather starts getting a little cooler, I promise you won’t freeze to death. Winterize your windows and doors to keep that pesky breeze outside where it belongs! Wear lots of socks! Get some cute slippers! Once it warms up again, wear less clothes before you turn on the AC.
Growing up, I live in a 100-year-old home that was horribly insulated and my mother wouldn’t turn the heat on until the outside temps were at least below freezing (fun!) so I’ve learned to layer and get some blankets to save on heating.
I know saving money sucks, it isn’t fun and it’s no fun to talk about (well… I think it’s fun to talk about, obviously). Honestly, developing habits of frugal people can change your entire life and how you view and use money every day which can help your entire future!
Just try and implement a few of these money saving tips at a time and try and build up that protective money cushion before it’s too late. As always, thank you so so so much for stopping by Not Quite an Adult, I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know!
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Hey! My name is Taylor O’Halloran and I’m a huge fan of saving money any way I can.I’m obsessed with dogs and I love all kinds of cheese even though my stomach hates it. I’m a recent university graduate who just wanted to do her own thing and see what happens! Follow me on the journey!