Life is expensive. I know they say money can’t buy you happiness and all, but it for sure can get you things that can lead to happiness! Vacations make me happy, new clothes make me happy, a massage once a week would make me VERY happy. While it may not be a direct causation, there is definitely some correlation (Warning: This is my philosophical, loves to analyze everything side coming out)
Anyway, I also believe that saving money and budgeting properly also equals happiness. Not having to live paycheck to paycheck and having money saved for special things that I want to have or do makes me happy. Since unfortunately I can’t make money magically appear (though I wish I could) instead, I focus on saving by living by a few guiding rules. My friends will tell you that I definitely watch what I spend and that is because I want to keep money aside in case I need it (losing a job, medical expenses, etc.) as well as in case I want to splurge on something big.
Here are some tips to save money in the city on a day-to-day basis.
1) Make your own lunch. One easy way to do this is by making extra of whatever you are making for dinner. Then you can put the extra in a Tupperware and have it all ready for the very next day. I can do a grocery shop at Trader Joe’s and spend $40 to last me for 2-3 meals per day for a week. However, those who are spending $12 on lunch each day is already $60 per week. Just for lunch! Making your own luck not only saves you money, but is also a healthier option. Restaurants put so much butter, salt, sugar in their food and this way you can customize your dish based on your dietary preferences/ needs.
2) Using Taxis as a last resort: I always try to walk or use public transportation (bus or taxi) because 1) it’s great exercise and 2) it’s a great way to save money. Taxis may not be the most expensive thing, but taking them again and again really adds up. Sometimes when I am too lazy, the weather is bad or I’m rocking a pair of high heels and public transportation or walking is not going to work. In those cases then I usually price shop to see which transportation app is cheapest at that time. Apps I typically use are Uber, Lyft and Via. Choosing the ride sharing option often saves me money as well. Finally, if all else fails then I get in a taxi (but boy that ticking meter tends to really stress me out).
3) A good mix of eating in and out: This one is similar to the first tip with a little twist. I like to use the one-a-day rule to guide me, which basically means at most only eat out once per day. I usually do way less than this, but it helps keep me in check. Also, if I know I will be eating out a lot during the weekend, then I won’t go out at all (or maybe only once) during the week. I’m also someone who enjoys cooking and eating, so this “rule” is an easy one for me to follow.
4) Side hustling: This one’s not as much about savings and more about making some extra cash on the side. Try making accounts on eBay (for misc. items) or Poshmark (a mobile app for clothes and access). Selling items you have laying around that you don’t need is an awesome way to earn money for that long awaited shopping trip or vaca you have on your wish-list.
5) The percentage rule: This rule is specifically for young-adults like myself who are just starting to think about a 5-10 year plan and deciding the best way to start saving for the future. Decide a percentage of your paycheck that you can manage without and transfer it to your savings account immediately after you receive each and every paycheck. I say do this immediately, so that it’s like you never had that money to begin with and aren’t tempted to spend it. This rule can make a huge impact for the long-term. For example, let’s say you save $500 per month ($250 per paycheck if you are paid bi-weekly). In one year you will save $6,000 and in 5 years you will have saved $30,000. That’s a nice car right there! Some months where I have less expenses I will put a bit more in and some months where I have a expense I will put a bit less in, but I try to keep this pretty consistent so that I am saving with little to no thinking involved.
That’s all I’ve got for this post, but this is a topic that I definitely live my life by and I am always looking for new ways to save and make some extra dough. I’ll certainly plan to share more, but if you have any questions on any of these tips in the meantime let me know!