As a busy young professional who aims to be fiscally responsible and money savvy, I realized I needed to change my habits. Here are 6 habits I changed to save more money:
1. Pre-plan restaurant outings. When I get invited to eat out with friends, I show up a lot more prepared. Instead of getting there and being shocked by the price, I take a look at the menu online before I arrive and come up with a maximum dollar amount I want to spend. If I know I don’t want to spend more than $25, then I’ll think twice before I order another round of drinks or that extra appetizer I know I don’t really need. I spend less money if I set a limit for myself beforehand.
2. Decrease the amount of times I go to the mall. Most people who know me, know that I loveeeeee to shop at Express. They have cute business casual clothes for young professionals and quality dresses for an occasional night out. As a med student I could never seem to resist their sales and if things were magically 40% off, I usually bought up the whole store. Since I knew I couldn’t curb my self-control, I did something even better. I refused to let myself walk by the store. In fact, I decreased trips to the mall altogether. I now only go to the mall once a month for make up and any other personal grooming things. Since my self-control wasn’t the best I had to avoid putting myself in situations that constantly tested my limits.
3. Remove text alerts from clothing stores. If you know me, you know I love a good sale. Getting a sale price for a quality item is something that brings me immense joy. Anytime I got a text alert from one of my favorite stores notifying me of a sale it was hard to resist. When I realized I wanted to start spending less money, I changed this practice. I turned off the text alerts to my phone and send the sale notifications to an email address I didn’t check as often. That way, when I actually needed to buy something from the store, I still had access to valuable coupons, but was no longer inundated with them every couple days via text message.
4. Drink less alcohol. I’m not addicted to any drinks and don’t particularly care for hard liquor, like many young professionals I know, I love wine. Something about a glass of red wine after dinner alleviates my stress and makes me feel like a success. Unfortunately, this craving for wine was costing me a lot of money. Drinks were overpriced at bars and weekly wine bottles were starting to add up. In an effort to spend less money and lower my grocery bill I deceased my wine intake and started drinking less wine
5. Purchase things in cash. A couple years ago I noticed that I spent less money when I purchased things in cash versus when I bought things with a debit or credit card. When I swipe for a payment it can seem a bit passive. There is something about physically seeing the money leave my hands actually makes me want to spend less. Anytime I pay in cash I question whether I really need what I’m about to purchase. With a debit card, I typically don’t have that doubt check system into place.
6. Take advantage of free and low cost entertainment. When I was a med student on a large college campus and even now as a resident in an urban city, there are tons of affordable entertainment options, especially on Friday nights. Instead of paying to go out somewhere, my friends and I decided to go to some of the free things. Our med school college campus had a bowling alley that was free on Fridays. Occasionally, they had art and painting classes that were also free. Sometimes we would even go to sporting men’s football games or women’s gymnastics meets which were relatively affordable as well. During the warmer months, we could rent Kayaks on the lake or do a movie night with popcorn at someone’s home in the winter. Either way, these affordable sources of entertainment were saving me money.
What do you think of these habits? Are there one or two life hacks from above that you could start adopting in your own life?