Heidi is a reader of this blog and personal finance enthusiast. I’m currently writing a book on personal finance (very slowly) and asked her to share some more excellent tips. You can get more finance tips from Heidi at the excellent blog www.thriftytricks.com.
Today I’ll talk about 10 best tips for saving money. There are a ton of money-saving tips out there already, but I won’t bore you with the obvious tips like “stay at home and watch Netflix instead of going to the movies.” These are tried-and-tested things you can do to radically lower your expenses for a short period of time of a few months.
#1 Negotiate a Better Rent
It’s something that you learn once you buy a house and need to find tenants: a good tenant is worth a lot. Most landlords are more concerned with preventing long-term damage (such as you molding the bathroom over time with your sloppy living habits) and are fairly flexible about rent.
Landlords don’t want you to leave. They don’t want to have to bother with finding a new tenant, cleaning the place, painting the walls, and possibly doing it all again in another six months.
Tell your landlord that you love the place but have found another place for $100 less per month. Ask them if they will consider matching that. If they do (and most will), you’ll now have an extra $2200 per year for your savings.
Learning how to negotiate better is a great skill to have. It’ll help you get better terms of your next employment, but what’s more important right now, it will save you a bunch of money. Sign up here to get the free ebook from Ramit Seethi with word-to-word templates you can use. The sweepstake is closed, but the information inside is still hot and useful.
#2 Cut Your Own Hair
I know what are you thinking – how am I supposed to get a job going to interviews looking like a scarecrow? But hear me out here. Whether you have long or short hair, paying for a haircut every 3-4 weeks adds up to a lot of money. So why not learn to DIY it or have a friend do it?
If you don’t want to do your entire haircut, at least learn to touch it up and make the haircut go another few weeks. This way, you’ll cut down on haircut expenses at least 50%. Read this tutorial to learn all about cutting your own hair with hair clippers.
#3 Simply Don’t Buy New Stuff
Depending on your buying habits, you might be inclined to buy new pair of sneakers every 6 months, or order a juicer off of Amazon without giving it much thought. Well, the times of compulsive buying are over. You’ll need to get disciplined. Make it into a game – can you go for 18 weeks without making an unnecessary purchase?
I am currently on the slow carb diet and I see lots of connections between the diet and going frugal for a couple of months. For example, I write a list of foods that I crave but can’t have, like walnut cake or fries. Then, on my ‘free’ day each week, I can eat those (even though I never do because the craving’s gone). You can do the same – write down everything that you’ll buy after you get your first paycheck. This will help you push through – and you might even realize that you don’t really want that thing anymore after a while.
#4 Follow The “One Drink” Rule
As an unemployed person, possibly the worst thing you can do is to isolate yourself from your friends because you can’t afford to go out with them. To save money, follow this simple rule: For each meetup, only order a single drink. I know how easy it is to say ‘I can’t decide between latte and cinnamon tea. Better have both.’ and leave a too much money at the bar.
Also, I shouldn’t be saying this but – don’t pay the entire bill. Friends often forget about this ‘little favor’ and you’ll feel bad about not getting the ‘investment’ back.
#5 Cancel All Memberships
Got a magazine subscription? Cancel it. Gym membership? Put it on pause. Paying for access on that adult website? Not anymore.
To save a ton of money, first look through all the recurring payments you’re making and put every unessential expense on hold.
#6 Throw Stuff Away
This may seem like an odd advice, but it has more to do with detaching yourself from material things than with making money from sales. That sounded very new-age, I know.
The fewer items you own, the more you’ll realize that you don’t really need them. Owning a lot of stuff is actually causing you to want to buy more of it. If you want to learn more about this fascinating effect, click here to read why you should throw stuff away.
#7 Change Your Life with Wine in a Box
It’s strange. The more money I make, the less I spend on wine. In my younger years, I’d buy my wine in a bottle. But now I drink all of my wine from cardboard boxes. The math works out to about $7 per bottle. Amazing, life-changing stuff.
Get more finance tips from Heidi at the excellent blog www.thriftytricks.com.