How to not suck with your money!
Updated: Mar 18, 2018
Maybe I am wrong here but I am under the assumption that everybody loves saving money. Every single person, with a fully developed neocortex, loves to save money - whether or not you are conscious of this fact or not, it is a part of you.
We all want to be this ballin' cat.
It’s mid-day and you are in a coffee buying
mood. I have two cups of coffee for sale:
Cup #1 = $2 Cup #2 = $4
These two cups of coffee are identical. Two cups of coffee flavored precisely for your exact palate – delicious.
Now unless I am mistaken – you will be paying for Cup #1.
It seems ridiculous to me that anyone would even contemplate buying Cup #2 for double the price when you are getting the exact same product.
Okay, so have I made my point that ‘saving money’ is an innate desire that we all possess whether or not we are conscious of it? Have I gained your interest and gotten you excited to learn about saving money? I sure hope so - moving right along.
So what is this whole post going to be about?
Simple: Conscious, every-day activities that you can implement into your daily routine to save some green.
Also I realize that some of this advice may seem basic and rudimentary to some people and that is okay. My hope here is that everyone can learn at least one extra tactic that will help lead to a plumper savings account; if you know the advice, simply skip it or maybe re-read it for further consolidation.
1. BUDGET; no seriously, budget.
This is honestly the most important tip that I think I could give anyone trying to save money. It makes sense that it would be difficult to save money when you’re not even keeping track of where it’s going.
Now, a good budget requires a lot of thinking and planning – but let me, in short form, tell you what I have found works for me. Keep in mind that I put the most important financial payments near the top – and the lesser near the bottom. Also, this is just specifically for me and my situation – everybody will differ with housing, food, gas, etc. depending on location and current situation.
(I also split rent/utilities with two other people which is another great way to save money).
I allow myself ~ 1250 / month: A) $467 - Rent B) $100 - Bills C) $350 - Food D) $220 - Car Expenses E) $100 – Extra
Of course the trick in all of this is saving anything extra that you earn; may I suggest putting it into a TFSA. Then sit back and watch the savings pile up. https://www.theprogressivemillennials.com/blog/tax-free-savings-account-sucks
A budget means nothing if you can’t stick to it.
2. Economize your house.
I put this towards the top of this list because it’s not only a great way to save some money, but it’s also a great way to help our dying planet.
This includes things such as (but not limited to): - Turning off lights / replacing outdated light-bulbs. - Turning off the heat when not home. - Reducing your water consumption; water is expensive to heat. - Plastic wrapping your windows in the winter. - Replace old, power-draining appliances. - Layer up (instead of using a heater). - Closing doors / windows.
Progressive Millennials love the planet.
3. Eat in – Not Out.
This one seems rather straightforward to me - it is much cheaper to eat in, not out.
You can easily spend upwards of a hundred dollars when you go out to eat, whereas you could have stayed home and had the same meal for less than ten dollars - easy.
This also gives you a chance to hone your cooking skills, which is never a bad thing. Learn how to make a variety of dishes with inexpensive ingredients such as potatoes, onions, rice, beans, etc.
Be a sim, improve your cooking skill.
4. Optimize your shopping trips.
Let me preface this all by saying, if you are able to grow your own food, do it. Think of how much money per month you spend on food, and how much you would save monthly if you were to grow even a small portion of your own food.
If you’re like me though, growing your own food isn’t an option at the moment; So what are some other options for saving money when it comes to that trip to the grocery store?
First and foremost, DO NOT impulse buy. This takes a little prep-work but it can be overcome. For example, never go to the grocery store hungry. This is a great way to leave with items that you really did not need and wouldn’t even have looked at otherwise (talking about you Oreos…). I have found that the best way to avoid impulse buying is to make a list beforehand and go shopping on a full belly.
Second, not all grocery stores are created equal. Some have amazing produce but high prices; whereas some have shit produce but cheap prices. You don’t have to buy the worst quality produce but you don’t need the best quality produce either. Do a price comparison of your local grocery stores and find the best fit.
Third, avoid prepackaged food whenever possible. Buying fresh ingredients and making meals yourself will pretty much always be less expensive than processed foods. Think about it; That $2 can of soup might seem financially insignificant but that’s only one meal for $2. You could make a whole pot of soup for a few dollars worth of potatoes, lentils and vegetables and have leftovers for days.
Also, try to plan out your weekly meals around deals found in the grocery store flyers. This is a creative way to save some extra money each month, plus it pushes your capabilities as a cook. Included in this mindset is the use of coupons, redemption of store “points” or deals, bulk shopping, etc.
Finally, DO NOT LET FOOD ROT IN YOUR FRIDGE. I repeat, do not let food rot in your fridge. You are literally just watching your money rot… don’t be stupid. You paid for that food, eat that food! The more food you waste, the more trips to the grocery store you will have to make.
Being aware of your shopping habits will lead to more money in your wallet in the long run.
5. MOTHER-FUCKING THRIFT SHOPPING.
I definitely may be a little late to the punch with this one (thanks Macklemore) but it’s too simple and awesome to not mention. Buying from a thrift-shop is not only better for your wallet, it is better for the planet. You can find pretty much anything second-hand if you look hard enough.
We are Progressive Millennials – we love the planet (in my best non-indoctrinating tone).
If you love clothes but hate being broke, this one is for you.
6. Make your bank work for you.
I feel that this is one of those factors that people often easily overlook. Your transaction fees add up and banks are very notorious for hiding them. While I’m not fully against transaction fees (banks do need money to function), I definitely believe they ridiculously inflate the price of transaction fees in order to make a profit.
So what can you do to try to minimize the amount of transaction fees you face? Well easy, just like grocery stores, not all banks are made the same. Do some shopping around, find the bank that best fits your financial needs, talk to banking advisor and ask them what ‘deals’ the chosen institution offers to members. The best way to learn how to save money is to ask. Now, once again, not all banks are the same. I cannot speak for what deal you may find – I can only speak on my own personal experience. Mine included opening a credit card, chequing account, savings account, and investing account. This is worth it though because you will get the monthly account fees waved saving you an extra $30 dollars a month.
Or, you could just wait for big banks to inevitably crumble due to blockchain technology (Our banking systems are about to undergo radical change).
Be skeptical of banks.
7. Clubs/Bars will leave you broke…
This follows the same logic as tip number three, drink in – not out.
Clubs and bars are notorious sinkholes for money. The owners laugh at you because you will likely get too drunk and spend more money than you normally would have.
They’ve admittedly gotten me before; don’t let them get you too.
I’m not saying don’t go out to a bar or club every now and again (although our party culture is horrendous); I’m saying that you don’t need to go “empty your bank account” as many of the Top 100 pop songs would put it… what a horrible message. There are plenty of other activities that you can try out; It doesn’t always need to be a bar or club. Go find out what your city has to offer! Explore!
Alternatively, invite your friends over to your place beforehand.
Alcohol from a liquor store is much, much, much less expensive than at a bar or club.
Or, stop drinking altogether. Your body will thank you.
8. Cut your cable – Read a book.
Personally I do not know many Millennials who still even pay for cable, but nevertheless, they probably exist. Cable is a waste of money; the TV is a waste of time* (*but who doesn’t love an amazing binge session every now and again).
You don’t need to get rid of TV and movies altogether, but just stop paying so much for them. We live in the age of technology – there is no excuse to succumb to the cable companies.
Alternatively, pick up a book; They’re amazing.
9. Minimalize (AKA. knick-knacks burn cash).
Sorry if you are a big fan of knick-knacks and decorations, but I personally think they are just more household clutter and junk. I’ll admit I’m a little biased when I call them “a huge waste of money” but I feel that I do have a fair point.
Put simply, the less money you spend on meaningless junk (which is also just a strain on our planet), the more money you will eventually accumulate in your savings account.
Would you rather have saved a million dollars or have the world’s largest collection of some mundane item? I know my choice.
Now, this advice transcends into the realm of materialism as a whole – not just knick-knacks. You do not always need the latest and greatest piece of technology or to buy into every trend to hit the market.
Please do not buy into the fallacy that material goods will make you happy or “cool”.
Do not let material items run you. Fuck materialism.
10. Carpool / Transit / Bike / Walk.
We’re not going to spend much time on this one. These alternatives are better for the environment, your wallet, and also your health.
Think about them.
11. Don’t have kids. (lol)
I realize that many people reading this will simply ignore this last point, which is fair. If you truly want kids, this really isn’t a good tip for you.
That being said, kids are easily the biggest drain on your wallet and the world is grossly overpopulated. You could honestly ignore all my other advice (tips 1-10) and just follow this final tip and probably still come out ahead. Kids are already very expensive and the world is only getting more expensive to live in so you do the math.
I’m not saying to not have kids, but maybe just wait until you are more financially stable to actually take on such a task. Put your money into ideas and investments that will eventually make you money while you’re young, so that when you’re a bit older having a kid won’t be so financially crippling. Maybe have one kid instead multiple. And always keep in mind that despite the societal pressure to reproduce, you are never under any obligation to have kids.
If you can’t take care of your own finances, then what are you going to do when there are children in the mix?
My guess is you are going to struggle.
So there you have it, the best advice that I could conjure up to hopefully help you save a little bit of your hard earned money each month.
Save money while helping the environment. Reduce, reuse, and recycle, and watch your savings grow!
Just remember, as long as you are actively trying to better yourself and working towards a goal, you are already leaps and bounds ahead of so many people. Best wishes and good luck to all trying to achieve their financial dreams.