They say 13 is an unlucky number but I disagree, I feel quite lucky so far this year. Now that the New Year is here it’s a great opportunity to start some new money-saving habits (and stick with them!) Here are some of my favorite money-saving suggestions:
1. Review Your Bank Statement – I like to do most of my shopping online (you’ll see why in #2) so sometimes when I order something I forget. Late last month I noticed I was charged early the previous month by an unfamiliar “.com”. I scoured my email for a confirmation (including the Spam folder) but couldn’t find one. I contacted the company with the information I did have and the following week the item was in my mailbox. If I didn’t get any satisfaction from the company I would have contacted my bank to reverse the charge and start an investigation.
2. Sign up for Ebates – If you prefer to shop online you NEED to sign up for an ebates.com account! Ebates refunds a percentage of your total if you shop through their site. (Ebates is partnered with tons of retailers.) I was skeptical at first but I’ve been using the service for years and have received a nice return on my purchases. This holiday season was nice because most retailers doubled their rewards. Another thing I love about ebates is that they have a referral service. This past month I referred a few people and received a $5 credit for each person. You can also choose your method of payment: charity donation, PayPal or check.
3. Cancel Cable – Yes, you read that correctly. No, I don’t have cable. I don’t watch Love & Hip Hop. I don’t watch RHOA. And, quite frankly I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. At all. I am much more productive. I’m saving money and I listen to music more (something I had been abandoning). I love music way more than TV so it works out well. Plus, since my radio is usually on, I find myself dancing a lot more – something that undeniably burns more calories than sitting on the couch.
4. Monthly Subscription Boxes: Cancel or Skip Every Other Month – I’ll admit I loooove monthly subscription services. However, they can be addicting. Every month I check out the items being offered and if they’re similar to something I already own or I’m not in love, I skip. The three I currently have are JustFab, JewelMint and Julep. I love them all so I’m hesitant about canceling and sometimes they have amazing sales that I do NOT want to miss. (Tip: If you’re going to skip a month make sure you do it during the “Skip Period”. You don’t want to be charged if you don’t plan on purchasing anything.)
5. Only Buy On Sale – TRUST ME this works! Clothes: Yesterday I went to brunch with a friend. On my way there I noticed every single article of clothing I had on was purchased either on sale or with a coupon. From my authentic Burberry purse to my brand new neon yellow American Eagle Outfitters sweater (originally $40 but I got it for $9.00) to my UGG boots. What’s my secret? I wait until the end of each season when everything is on sale to buy a few new pieces. A few years back I bought my most recent winter coat on Christmas day. It was priced well over $100 at the GAP. I went online Christmas day and got it for around $30. Groceries: Nope. I don’t clip coupons (although, I should) but I just don’t have the time. So what do I do? I keep a running list of things I need and I browse the online circulars for all of the markets in my area to see which has most of the items I need on sale. I go there and buy those items and just wait till my next trip for the other things I need OR search the drugstore circulars depending on what it is. (Tip: Cereal is always cheaper at the drugstore.) I’m also infamous for stocking up as long as it’s not a perishable good.
Bonus: Sell Online – I don’t only buy online I also sell things on ebay (some prefer craigslist). I’ve made hundreds of dollars over the years selling things I didn’t want that other people were more than happy to take off my hands. Remember: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Over the years I have earned a perfect 100% seller rating and a few “stars” so when I post items, buyers know I’m a seller who they can trust. This makes selling a little easier. (Tip: Before listing an item, research it on ebay to get a general idea of how much it’s worth.)
Money Challenge – Some of you may have seen the 52 Week Money Challenge that went viral last week. Yes, I’m about that life. Click here for a printable version of the chart. The “Challenge” is to save one dollar more than you saved the previous week and by the end of the year you’ll have $1,378 saved. The point of this challenge (in my opinion) is not for it to replace any existing saving plans that you have but to be additional. For me, saving a few extra dollars each week until December means I’ll have money for Christmas presents. I think it’s a great idea. If you can afford it try it out. Tip 1: Put the money into an interest bearing account. Barclays currently has the highest interest at 1%. Tip 2: Work backwards. Since it’s week 2 of the year, should you choose to participate, you would put $52 and $51 into the account now and $50 next week, then so on and so forth. The idea is to accrue interest on the larger amounts throughout the year so you deposit them first. (I won’t be doing it this way but it’s a cool concept.) Tip 3: If you have any extra disposable income during the year, make deposits for a few months. This week I’m going to make a “large” deposit for the next few months just so it’s there and I don’t have to think about it. I’ll mark my calendar accordingly.
What’s your favorite money-saving tip? Are you going to do the Money Challenge?