If life is too expensive and you’ve got nothing in the bank, keep reading.
To boost your account balance, please don’t sell a kidney on the black market. (It’s illegal, guys.) Don’t turn to the lottery. (It’s not a sure thing.) And don’t quit modern society (i.e. all the costs that come with it) by disappearing into the deep Canadian wild to spend the rest of your days in solitude, surviving on berries and speaking only to the trees.
You can start keeping more of your hard-earned cash today by making some small changes to the way you handle your money. Here are some simple tips to save more this year.
Keep your memberships and subscriptions in check. We know it’s cool to join the club, but you don’t have to be a member of every single one. Subscription services are appealing because they feel like an affordable luxury, but $12.99 here and $34.34 there will add up fast. Check your bank statements to get a full picture of what you’re paying every month, from weekly food box deliveries to gym memberships to streaming services. Anything you can do without? Unsubscribe.
Make your lunch instead of buying it. At least occasionally. We know you are busy. Maybe the last thing you want to do to is make dinner so you can bring the leftovers to the office for another #SadDeskLunch? That’s okay. There are nights that cooking is just not possible, so don’t beat yourself up. But there are a few things you can do to help yourself out. Try making a large batch of something you love on the weekend (like chili, soup, or lasagna) and freeze individual portions so that you can grab ’em and go when time is precious during the week. Or, if there’s space in the office fridge, store the ingredients you’ll need to make a simple salad or sandwich on your break. Bonus: You’ll probably end up eating more healthy lunches, too.
Nobody expects you to know everything, but there’s no reason you can’t teach yourself a new skill if it’ll help you save. Cue the internet. If you want to learn how to repair a hole in a sweater or how to fix a squeaky old washing machine, just start browsing YouTube. In the habit of treating yourself to a monthly manicure? Paying extra for a shave at the barber? Or working with a trainer at the gym? Try turning to whatever subreddit works for guidance and DIY before you reach for your wallet.
SET AND FORGET
Set up automatic weekly or monthly deposits to your savings accounts. You can also try a round up app like Moka, which automatically invests your spare change, so you can watch your savings grow. When you automate your saving and investing, you only have to make the decision to be responsible once. Let time take care of the rest. You’ll thank yourself when you check your account a few months later. Trust us, it’s a treat to be pleasantly surprised (and not panicked) by your balance.
We know you need certain things to get ahead in this world. Dressing for success isn’t cheap and neither is the technology you need to connect with a professional network. You can, however, start being more selective about when and where you buy. Look for sales on your favourite fashion labels, buy refurbished electronics and, whenever possible, pick cheaper, no name products. Speaking of stuff…
Sell your junk. Lots of people are embracing minimalism, or at least learning to fold their clothes the KonMari way, but the spirit of the lifestyle isn’t necessarily about having less. It’s more about only having what you love. The things in your life shouldn’t weigh you down with guilt (because they were too expensive or because you don’t use them enough). If that guitar you never play or mountain bike you never use are making you feel guilty, hawk ‘em.
You know dinner and drinks are cheaper at home, but you don’t have to give up your social life if you decide to stay in. Organize a potluck with your friends or, if your crew doesn’t love to cook, plan a bottle party where everyone brings a different kind of liquor. You can take turns playing bartender, and you’ll never have to tip. Plus, volunteering to host means you’ll likely get the leftovers. If entertaining isn’t your thing, try a Bring Your Own Wine restaurant. Picking up a bottle on the way to dinner will make your bill way more palatable.
At the end of the day, saving more (i.e. spending less) comes down to being honest about what matters to you. You shouldn’t spend on everything, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend on anything. Think about your priorities. Sure, shelling out for a night at the movies (popcorn included) costs real money, but if it’s the thing that brings you joy, why banish it from your budget? Try these tips once and then adopt what works best for you. Saving can feel so simple you won’t notice the difference, until you get your bank statement. So please don’t leave reality behind to go live in a tree stump without a Wi-Fi connection. You got this.