Saving money can be hard to do, but it doesn't have to be. Saving up is about being willing to change your lifestyle, find creative alternatives and exercise self-control. Sounds hard? Not so much. Check out these creative tips for ways to save cash without compromising.
1. Dinner Parties Instead of Eating Out
Most of the fun of eating out is just being with friends. Often times, we only go out because friends are going and you don't want to be the one to go home and eat alone.
It's true, eating is a great social activity, but it can add up quickly, especially if you like an appetizer or drink with your meal. First things first, set a budget for meals out and don't exceed it. It doesn't hurt once or twice a month, but once or twice a week can really put a hurting on your pocket.
Chances are your friends are missing those $15 meals also. Suggest gathering for a dinner party. Groceries are much cheaper, especially with several friends chipping in. You can have a great time cooking together and then sitting down to a homemade meal. It might be difficult to start up, but once everyone's in the habit, it will feel more natural than eating out!
2. Coupons First, Plans Later
There are amazing deals to be found via online coupons or even coupons in print. Before you make plans or a grocery list, see what's on sale, or what Groupon or Living Social deals are available. You can make your list based on possible savings.
However, one of the pitfalls of coupons is that we feel the need to buy anything that's on sale. Do not buy just because you have a coupon. Whether you're using food or entertainment coupons, only spend on what you really need.
3. Get a Part-Time Job at Your Favorite Clothing Store
Working in retail may not sound ideal, but it can add up to big savings. Most retail stores will hire people just to work a night a week or even a weekend a month and are especially willing to hire during holiday seasons.
Snagging a quick part-time gig at your favorite clothing store and working a few days a month will earn you a bit of extra cash, plus give you the benefits of the employee discount. Many brands also allow you to purchase items for a spouse, dependents or even friends with your discount. If you work for a brand that offers clothing for the whole family, you can save money on everyone's clothes for every purchase.
Like coupons, this tip requires discipline. Don't buy something on every shift and don't buy things just because. It's better to do your shopping all at once and then save for the rest of the time. It's also wise to wait until items go on a promotional sale, but not clearance. Most brands allow you to take your full discount off of promotional sale items, but only a fraction of your discount off of clearance items.
4. Buy In Bulk
Non-perishable food items like cereal, snacks and canned foods as well as household items like toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies or hygiene products are the perfect way to save money by purchasing a lot at one time.
Companies package paper products and cleaning or hygiene products to be cheaper per unit when bought in bulk. It saves them packaging, so they're willing to cut you a deal. Coupons are a great way to take advantage of sales because they usually apply for more than just one of each item.
If there's ever a sale on these types of goods, stock up while you can.
5. Find Free Activities
Depending on where you live, there are usually free activities to enjoy. Big cities offer more opportunities, but smaller cities have great events as well. Most cities and towns have great autumn activities or concerts. Most museums usually have a free day or two per month and you can be smart about going at certain times to save money as well. Stay up-to-date on the happenings in your area and plan to take advantage of the free opportunities that come your way!
6. Be Wise
The key to saving money is being wise with your spending. Indulge yourself every now and then, but do your best to save money daily, making for a bigger pay-off in the end.