I realize I haven’t been posting about my savings as frequently as I should, so I am going to try to post five tips a day over the next couple of days so I can catch up. I will admit, I haven’t exactly stayed on track with it. My grocery shopping spree did not help me out at all. However, the groceries were needed. It’s keeping me from going out all of the time, and I have enough food in my fridge now to last me the rest of the month. It did all cost me around $175 though…a lot of what I had saved. I have decided to reduce my savings goal for this month to $700, which is a lot more realistic anyhow and is what I should have initially started with.
Tip #9: Only buy something new when replacing something old. This especially works with clothing. If you need to buy some new shirts or jeans, throw another pair out, or better yet, donate them to charity. If you can’t part with anything, you can’t buy anything. Sethi says this tip is especially psychological.
“The psychology of having to open up your closet, decide what to give away, and to get it to the nearest charity (or garbage can) is enough to stop many of us from buying something new.”
-Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich
This is tip is also very goal-driven. For example, I am not going to go out and buy a new pair of boots (although I do really really want some new ones) if my goal is to save money. This one requires me to be very conscious about my spending habits. The other day I was at Hobby Lobby looking for waxed linen cord for a piece of jewelry I want to make. They didn’t have what I was looking for, but I ended up with items in my cart anyway. After almost reaching the cashier’s counter, I looked at my cart and realized that I would be spending the money I have been trying so hard to save. So I stopped and left without purchasing a single item. It actually felt pretty good. I felt accomplished because I had worked towards my goal.
Total savings from this tip: $20 (which is what I would have spent at Hobby Lobby if I didn’t step away from my cart)
Tip #10: Use the free rewards from your credit cards, car insurance, and workplace. These rewards often go ignored and unused. In fact, I have never even used them myself. Well, I have redeemed my cash back rewards on one of my credit cards. They give you 10% back for every 2,500 points you earn, which is then credited back to my credit card.
I just went to one of my credit cards rewards page and found a couple deals that I could use. With April soon approaching, my credit card offers 15% cash back when I file my taxes with H&R Block Online, which I was actually considering using over TurboTax this year. Now I just got that extra push to switch. If I don’t like it, I get some money back and won’t use it next year. They also offer 5% cash back on iTunes purchases until next month. I don’t necessarily plan on spending money on iTunes, especially since I am trying to save money, but if I do, now I know I can get a little back on my purchases. A lot of credit cards and car insurance companies offer travel discounts. My Bank of America credit card does, but I am trying to pay this one off, so I don’t plan on using it any time soon.
What kinds of rewards do your credit cards or memberships (i.e. Costco) offer?
Total savings: $25 by redeeming my 10% cash back on one of my credit cards, plus 15% of whatever it is I am going to be paying for my taxes to get done (probably around $6 or so).
Tip #11: Never pay full retail price for clothes (or eyeglasses) again. This sounds nearly impossible to do. However, it really isn’t at all. You don’t need to shop at Macy’s or Nordstrom to buy all of your clothes. There are discount stores everywhere. My personal favorite is TJ Maxx. I find all kinds of great things there. Clothes, purses, home goods. Usually when it comes to shopping at discount stores, like Nordstrom Rack for example, I never have any luck finding something I really want. TJ Maxx always has something for me though, and at a fraction of the cost any of the other retail or department stores are offering. Ramit offers a few of his favorite sites, like Overstock.com and Gilt on his blog too. He also suggests buying online. Not only is it so much easier and more convenient to shop straight from home, but they usually have some great deals and can be a lot cheaper than in the store.
Then again, I am trying to save money rather than spend it buying clothes. I do however need ink for my printer, HDMI cables, a wireless internet card, and an optical video cable for my new surround sound (a wonderful Christmas present my my ever-loving boyfriend). I almost went out to Best Buy and Office Depot to buy these, but decided to check Amazon.com first. I could save around 50% from buying online than in-store. I decided to wait until next month to make the purchases, but buying from Amazon will save me around $50 on all of these items. These little things add up.
Have any other places you like to shop for discount prices?
Total savings: around $50
Tip #12: Save money on eating out. For myself, and many people I know, this is one of the biggest expenses. Before I went on my grocery shopping spree, I would eat out almost everyday because I didn’t have food in my apartment. Although I spent quite a bit on groceries, I typically spend about $200 per month on dining out, and sometimes more (according to my Mint.com November budget, I spent over $300 on eating out). Yikes! That doesn’t even include the money I spend at work on food. So in the long run, spending $175 on groceries for practically an entire month’s worth of food doesn’t seem too bad. The good news about that is that I won’t have to spend that much every month. It was more of a jumping off point to get started.
Anyway, this tip is all about saving money when you do go out. Using coupons sounds like a good way to start. I am not a coupon clipper by any means, but if I do see a coupon for a restaurant I frequent or would like to visit in my mail, I’ll save it. I think I need to hit up Groupon a little more too especially since Rob lives in Orange County, where there are a lot more deals available. I am trying not to eat out as much though. Rob and I have been staying in and cooking dinner when he comes to visit. Thus far, I have only eaten out about once a week this month, which is saving me some money.
Do you save money when going out by using coupons? What kind and where from?
Total savings: $150 to $200
Tip #13: Negotiate your car insurance. This is actually something I really need to do as soon as possible. I unfortunately was extremely irresponsible a little over a year ago and got a DUI. Along with that DUI came higher insurance rates and the requirement to have SR22 insurance for the next three years. This meant that my parents were no longer going to be paying for my car insurance (I guess we all have to grow up eventually, damn). I shopped my policy and discovered that my current insurance company, Mercury, was the cheapest–$205 per month. Then I got a new car. A safer car even. For some reason, that changed everything. My insurance went up $70 per month! It’s outrageous! I can’t afford to be paying $275 every month for the next three years! Is it because it’s a new car? I don’t understand why it increased so much?
I keep putting off calling my insurance broker to ask them to shop it for me, but this tip is pushing me to finally do so. So I just emailed my broker (because they’re closed on the weekends and I’ll probably forget to call on Monday) asking her to shop around for me. My roommate did this recently because his rates went up too (he also had Mercury. Hmm…?) and he is paying a lot less. Hopefully I will have a few quotes to share with you next week and will be able to calculate my savings from this tip then.
Until then, let me know if you know of any good insurance rates around right now and what kinds of deals and discounts they offer.
Total savings: To be determined…