The more I started reading the web for tips on saving money, the more I discovered that I’m already doing almost everything these people have recommended. I feel like I’m not alone in this–this isn’t the first time I’ve heard to turn off the lights when I leave the room, DIY stuff whenever possible or cancel gym memberships (which I never had in the first place.) My car is already paid off and as fuel efficient as a POS can be, I split my rent with a roommate and I don’t even buy vegetables much because they rot so fast. I don’t pay for haircuts. I’m a Goodwill maven. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need to save even more money.
Where the hell are the tips for the already pretty frugal?
Below are some ways that I’m going to try to save money that I hope aren’t total “No Shit, Sherlock” moments for everyone else. What are you doing to save money that isn’t a “duh”?
– Unsubscribe From Sales
For me, flashy email updates from my favorite brands are one of my worst spontaneous-spending triggers. I’m always legitimately needing new jeans, but it’s so easy to throw in an extra top whenever there’s a sale on. To get a hold on this, I’ve just gone through and unsubscribed from everything that’s a sales pitch. My inbox is already thanking me.
– Set a Financial “Diet”
I read an awesome article that detailed budgeting like caloric intake; subtract your necessary expenses (bills, savings) from your income, then divide by 30 to get your daily budget and don’t spend more than that any given day. For me, that would be impractical, as that budget is less than a tank of gas in my tiny car. But I’m using that figure times seven to get my weekly budget… and that number is so do-able! The trick is to keep a notebook and write down everything you spend.
– Spend Less on Hygiene
I’m not suggesting you skip your hygiene altogether, but I am saying that you’re probably spending too much somewhere on your primping routine. Some shortcuts? Gender-free or “men’s” razors, shaving cream and deodorant are almost always less than the pink versions. Pore strips? DIY is sooo much cheaper. My cleaning routine is already as threadbare as I can go, but I am DIYing my dry shampoo (cornstarch, yo.)
– The Library
Books and movies are wonderful entertainment, and my home would feel empty without them. I still buy books I really love. But for books that you likely will never pick up again? Checking them out is free, and most libraries have lengthy borrow periods. Plus, most libraries have movies for rent that are much less expensive than almost every rental place. If your library doesn’t have a book or movie you’re interested in, just ask! They’ll usually order it and put it on hold, just for you. The caveat? Sometimes you have to wait for a book to come in stock, and if you happen to lose a book (coughcough) then it can be just as expensive as buying. Or more.
– Pay in Cash
For me, carrying cash is such a hassle. But using it pays off (wakka) sometimes. Many gas stations have a 5 cent per gallon discount for paying in cash. (This also applies to using your debit card PIN at a lot of locations, but be aware that if your bank charges you for PIN usage, you might be eating the savings.) Some retail locations do this, too! Medical facilities also offer secret cash discounts. You have to pay the full amount in cash, but you can sometimes rack up a 10% discount from a hospital.
Keep a running Amazon wishlist. Anything you want but don’t need immediately, chuck it up on the wishlist. Point your closest loved ones to the list and suggest that it’s a starting-off point for your birthday or other gift-giving events. That way, they don’t have to ask what you want, and you won’t tell them “Oh, you don’t have to buy me anything…” They should know where the list is and should buy from it if that’s what they want to do. Don’t be shy. There’s makeup, clothing and household cleaning devices on my list.