Have your bills found a home at the bottom of your trash bin? Do you die a little inside when you swipe your plastic for a $6 latte? It’s time for the dreaded B-word: Budgeting. It’s not always easy to come up with genius ideas for fast cash (Max and Caroline’s cake fries, anyone?), but here are some quick and useful tips to help keep your wallet looking fatter. Happy saving!
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Saving On…. Gym Memberships
YouTube Yoga: Skip the expensive gym memberships and put your internet obsession to good use. YouTube has tons of free fitness videos that will help you find your Zen without reaching for the $10. You can find anything from yoga and core training to cardio and weights, just start searching.
Extreme Coupon: Coupons are no longer just for Mom. With sites like Groupon and Retailmenot, you’ll want to brag when you are livin’ large at half the price especially on those must try classes offered at the trendy new gym.
Saving On… Beauty Rituals
Skip the Salon: Post-yoga, can click on over to YouTube makeup and hair tutorials. Never mastered the smoky eye? There are countless video guides that can help you primp and pamper for date nights and parties.
Paint Your Own Nails: Painting your opposite hand will never come out as smudge-free as when the professional does it. But keep in mind that a bottle of $8 polish will last you far longer than the $30 mani/pedi.
Lose the Labels: Did you know that your beloved face wash comes in a generic version that works, looks, and smells the exact same way as the expensive bottle? Yeah, our minds were blown, too.
Shake it Out: Don’t toss your shampoo bottle before scraping out the very last drop. Fill the bottle with water, shake, and pour on your head. This also works with chocolate syrup. Voila, chocolate milk.
Saving On… Meal Planning
Brew at Home: Remind yourself daily about the slow-moving line at the local coffee shop or that barista who spells your name with six extra letters. Skip the fancy coffee and brew a to-go cup at home.
BYOL: Bring your own lunch. The brown paper bag is retro. But it leaks a lot, so maybe get a lunchbox.
Plan a Potluck: Want to host a party but don’t want to drop serious $$$ on food? Ask each of your guests to bring a dish and you’ll have an amazing meal for a fraction of the price and a fraction of the work.
Pregame: Start the night at home with your friends and cheap bottles of wine. Switch to water by the time you hit the bar to save both the money and the headache in the morning.
Divide By Two: Splurging on restaurant food? Go halvsies with a friend and split the cost. Or, eat until the halfway point and save some for lunch tomorrow.
Saving On… Shopping
Be Thrifty: Thanks to Macklemore, thrift shopping has never been trendier. Check out your local Good Will for great deals.
Swap Styles: Your best friend’s black dress practically lives in your closet anyways. Trade some of your over-worn outfits for a few weeks at a time. When you swap back, your closet will feel like new again.
Stock Up on “Staples”: The blazer you’ve been eying comes in black and a funky floral print. You’ll regret that wear-once pattern later, whereas the black will never go out of style in your closet.
Borrow Books: Remember that thing called a library card? A quick visit and swipe at the local library saves you money on books, magazines, and DVDs. And hey, you may actually read that book when you know you have to return it in a couple of weeks.
Saving On… Everything Else!
Keep the Change: A change jar is like the poor girl’s savings account. You tend to forget just how much you’ve racked up until you finally cash it in.
Carry Cash: Learn to leave the credit card at home for big nights out. You’ll force yourself to spend within a fixed budget.
Dollar Deals: Ten bucks can get you far at your local dollar store. Bobby pins, Chap Stick, sewing kits, bendy straws…the list goes on.