So, you’ve come to the realization that you probably need to save money. Congrats! You’ve done half the job, now it’s time to make a plan and actually do it.
But, where do I start?
If you haven’t done an audit of your spending habits yet and have absolutely no clue where to start, let me point you in the right direction.
In this post, I will go over the 5 habits and expenses that were causing me to overspend, and what I did to fix them in order to lead a more financially independent life.
5 Reasons Why You’re Still Broke
First, let’s begin by identifying the problem, then we will focus on resolving it. This will be by far the most important step in this process and you should be very thorough, after all, by identifying where you overspend, it’ll be much easier to manage, rather than wonder at the end of the month where all your money went. So without further ado, I present to you the top 5 ways you’re probably spending too much money.
1. You buy name brand items
I am not talking about clothes or shoes. I am talking about food. Now next time you go grocery shopping, are you automatically grabbing the name brand item that you’ve known for years? Or are you looking for a store brand alternative to that item? Most times, there is an alternative that is sometimes as much as 50% cheaper. That’s a huge money saver, imagine cutting your grocery bill in half! The store-brand item isn’t cheaper because it isn’t as good, most times, the stores utilize the same manufacturers as the brands do, however, they do not spend money on advertising, fancy packaging, or shelf space, making their product considerably cheaper.
One example of that would be Publix store brand items, where Coca-Cola is $1.99 for a bottle, meanwhile, Publix Cola is a whopping $0.99. Or, if you are as much of a fan as I am, Aldi offers a whole store of their brand items, and their prices do not compare to other stores. Simply because they do not spend millions on TV ads. I actually like some of their products much better than original brand name items.
So next time you go to the store, look around for a store brand alternative to the items you are selecting.
2. You pay full price
This is something I learned while in college and it has saved me a lot of money over the years. When you don’t have a lot of money to go around, but still want things, you find ways to make them more affordable. That includes promo codes, coupons, cashback, and general discounts.
Every time I shop online, I do not press “checkout” without first checking for these three things.
First, I check if the website I am shopping on is available on Rakuten. If you haven’t heard of Rakuten, you need to get it now. It is a website that offers cash-back for simply shopping through their portal/link. What you do is first go to their website, search if the store you want to shop at is partnered with them, or you can download the Chrome extension like I did, most stores are partnered with them, and you start shopping.
They also started offering in-store shopping for some stores as well if you are an in-person kind of gal.
The range of cashback is wide, I have scored as much as 10-15% cashback once, as they are constantly having double cashback days and other promos. That’s it, no catch. And if you join via my link, you’ll receive $10 for free.
It works great for stores like Ulta, Sephora, and even when booking flights and hotels. Seriously! I got $40 cashback from my last trip because I booked the hotel on Agoda via the Rakuten link.
Get free $10 when you sign up for Rakuten.
Another thing, coupons and, promo codes. I will not checkout without first Googling if there is a promo code available, whether it’s free shipping, or 10% with an email sign up, I always do it. It seriously adds up. There is not a specific site I go on to find coupons, I simply click the first 2-3 links I find on Google and see if any of them apply.
There is actually another great Chrome extension that is offered by Capital One called Wikibuy.
Wikibuy tests multiple promo codes when you are checking out to see if any of them apply. Great tool that I use often.
Pro Tip: Create an email address simply for those kinds of things, where you receive coupons, deals, etc. That way, you don’t spam your regular email, but still take advantage of the savings.
3. You get your nails done regularly at the salon
Hear me out, a mani/pedi these days costs as much as $50 and if you get additional services like gel or dip powder, it can come up to as much as $70, add a tip, and do this approximately twice a month, or if you wait, every 3 weeks, and it adds up to quite the amount. Now I am not suggesting you never get your nails done, but reduce that amount to maybe once a month, or once every 6 weeks. Instead, what you can do, and what I personally did, was invest in some nail grooming items at home.
You only really need a few items that are not going to break the bank, but instead, help you in the long term save money.
If you are a fan of dip powder like myself, you don’t even need an LED lamp, it is optional. Instead, I bought a dip powder tip for around $25-$30. Those items will last you for quite some time and are super affordable. Everything combined will cost you as much as one visit at the nail salon, but it will last months if not years.
For pedicures, I invested in an at-home foot spa bath, and essentials like pumice stones, Pedi Egg and scrubs, some of them you might already have.
Yes, it does take some skill to do your own nails, especially dip powder and gel, but everything is easier the more you practice. I have been doing my nails at home regularly for over two years now, with an occasional visit to the salon for some maintenance and pampering, and I cannot rave enough about how much money it has saved me.
4. You visit Starbucks regularly
Ever heard of The Latte Factor? If not, seriously, great book and a great idea. The main idea of the book is that in order to save money, you must give up your little purchases, such as your regular coffee order, that amount to large sums over time. Now the idea of making you give up your favorite Starbucks drink forever is not sustainable in my personal opinion, but once again, it’s all about reducing the spending to help you save money.
An average Starbucks beverage ranges between $4-$5, and some people go once, or even twice a day. Imagine that, $5 every single day, and that assumes you don’t purchase anything else while there. That adds up to around $150 a month and $1800 a year. Not so little when you put it on that scale, huh?
So instead, what you can do is go to Starbucks every other day, or even twice a week and reduce that amount. You can do a lot with an additional $1800 a year. Get a good coffee at home, a milk frother, and a fancy cup that makes you happy so that your coffee at home becomes more enjoyable. Take that $5 and do something else with it instead, like invest! Trust me, that is a great start to investing.
5. You use cash or debit card
This one is optional but it has proven to be the biggest difference maker for me. If you haven’t heard about credit card churning, I might do another post about that, it’s ultimately how I get cheap airline tickets and how my last trip to Barcelona cost me less than $400. Yes, seriously!
If you have a credit card but it does not offer any rewards, points, or miles, it’s time to upgrade it. You need to be collecting some type of reward for using it, otherwise, there is no incentive for using it.
I will make an entire post about the detail about how this works, but for now, use your credit card and pay it off when you can in order to collect the reward and build your credit score.
Another downside to only having a debit card/checking account is that your already saved cash does not accumulate any interest. Therefore, you need to have a high yield savings account that offers you monthly interest which grows your money passively while it’s sitting in the bank. Having cash as savings doesn’t do you any good, in fact, your money loses value. With a high yield savings account such as Discover or Wealthfront, you are making money while saving.
Those are my top ways to start saving money. Once you have identified where you can save, it is time to create a budget. But I already talked about that 😊
Hopefully, you found this insightful. If so, comment down below how will YOU save money.
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