Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How I Should Save Money Over the Summer

This might be the most cliche post ever. Saving money posts are definitely overlooked because they are boring, but I think this list is useful for me. I've been having so much trouble with trying to save money because I am a huge shop-aholic and I keep making plans to travel for the summer.

Here are a few tricks I'm living by this summer to save a little dough.

1. Tracking my meals. 
Since I started Weight Watchers, I've been tracking my meals and all the food I eat in general. It's actually helped me put the amount of food we eat into perspective. Cheaper foods, like bread and potatoes, can be used multiple times in a day. Not only does tracking my food help me control what I'm eating to lose some weight, it will help me gain some weight in my wallet.

2. Beware of Buy 1, Get 1 50% and Buy 2, Get 1 Free.
I know it's tough to resist, but only fall into those deals when you intend on buying the amount of items needed for the deal. The only time you should get anything extra is if it comes free or makes things cost less. Then you can always share with a friend and possibly split your cost in half.

3. Check out Groupon, LivingSocial, and flash deal sites. 
Only use them when needed, but I've found some awesome money savers on these sites. For instance, I got half off for the Color Me Rad 5K run in September that I do NOT want to miss. Flash deal sites, like HauteLook has a deal on designer stuff for a day or two. I've seen some stuff marked down almost 90% off. When buying summer clothes or gifts, these places are great to check out.

4. Use exact change when paying in cash. 
The forgotten currency. No one uses coins ever anymore. The amount of coins I have laying around is insane. I probably have $5 on the floor of my car alone. If you like to just use paper money, make sure you roll your coins and get stacks of paper. Fellas, I'm pretty sure strippers don't take coins. If you use your coins when paying for things, you'll give yourself an illusion of spending less money, which makes up for blowing your whole paycheck on shoes or bikinis or something.

5. Amazon and eBay can save you a fortune. 
Recently I found a gift for Will's birthday on eBay for $25 less and with free shipping. Spend the time shopping around before buying something. I know that losing a little bit of time is better than losing a lot of money. Check the shipping prices before purchasing anything, too. Add everything up and make a list of the best places to buy. My sister just foolishly bought $60 rainboots with $40 shipping fees. What she thought was a good deal ended up being extremely expensive. Make sure that something cheaper online doesn't have shipping and tax that will make it more expensive than going to a store.

6. Buy gas in cash. 
Most places around me have a cheaper cash price for gas than paying in credit. The extra few cents per gallon will add up over the course of a summer.

7. Get cash before your vacation. 
I know now that when I go to Will's, my bank won't be around and I am not going to pay $1-$2.50 for every time I withdraw from any random ATM. Make sure you take out a good amount of cash before going somewhere that your bank will not be. I made a rough estimate of how much I should spend over my vacations and take out cash before leaving. That way, if I need a little bit more I would only have to get ATM charges once or twice for the entire time.

8. Thrift.
I know this rule is simple and everyone knows about it, but it's easy enough to make thrifted clothes trendy. I'm taking a trip to Salvation Army tomorrow with my sister because every Wednesday is family day and everything in the store is 50% off. This way I can get some denim shorts and t-shirts for cheaps and I won't have to blow my paychecks on something I won't like next summer.

I hope these tips will help out other people as much as myself. I know I am going to take these seriously this summer.


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