Monday, April 13, 2015

5 Money Saving Secrets from a Fashionista

As a single working girl in the glorious Emerald City, i.e. Seattle, I know what it's like to try and keep your hard earned money in your own pocket.

I do these Money Saving Secrets when I'm trying to save extra spending money before I go on a trip. These tips keep me on a strict budget myself the month before I do. They've been incredibly effective. I've been as bold to do "no spend months" where I'm try to challenge myself to stay within a $100 a week so I can pocket the rest. Not always a success because surprises do arise every so often but it's really fun to use your imagination and find ways not to spend money.

1) Use Cash. I know, it sounds ridiculous because we're in the 21st century and that's what debt cards are for. My initial thought is always "I'm going to get mugged!" Well, you will if you're acting like you're carrying $500 in your pocket. Here's the deal. No one thinks you're walking around with actual cash unless you start taking it out and waving it at people. I give myself a set amount each week and have been daring enough to take my credit cards out of my wallet to help keep myself on track. It's not very easy at first but you quickly learn what you can do it and successfully. Example: Yesterday I tried not spend a lot because I know I'm going to HH tonight but I still wanted to get out of my apartment. So, I gave myself a $5 limit and walked up to Starbucks and bought an Earl Grey Tea ($2.69), sat down and started working on this very blog post!

2) Save your Coins. I live in a building that has a washer and drier but it's coin operated. Those quarters add up and they add up fast. I always save my quarters and put them in a separate jar than my other coins. I actually re-use old candle jars with lids to house them (a great DIY when you're not out spending money!). A great saving tip is when you're ready to cash in your coins, go to the bank. They don't charge you and, with my bank, all they ask is that you put your change in coin holders first. They will supply rolls for you if you go in and tell them you need them, this way you don't have to go out and buy them yourself. It's amazing how quickly spare change adds up.

3) Make your own lunch. Many people might hate the idea of this and think it's too much work but I'm a huge fan of my crockpot. Before bed I put my meal in and wake up to the smell of pineapple chicken in the morning. I even "rice" up my cauliflower and steam it the night before so I can just add the chicken on top for my lunch that afternoon. I often make large batches to eat throughout the week. It's really helpful and keeps me from going out and buying more. I also buy my snacks in bulk so I have "emergency snacks" for when my blood sugar gets low. Nuts, little apples and dried fruit are great purchases to keep in your handbag for a long day and they can be inexpensive when you buy in bulk!

4) Switch to Tea or get drip coffee. This is going to be really hard for all of you trendy fashionistas who love walking around town with your "Triple Shot Coconut Milk Lattes". I totally get you but at the end of the day those extra $2.00 really add up! To help, make your coffee at home. I'm very lucky because drip coffee and tea are supplied at work for us. We also have Almond Milk (for us Dairy-Free Folk) and 2% milk as a creamer. I try to only treat myself once a week to my "Medium Almond Milk Chai Latte" and I appreciate it so much more when I get it. You won't believe how much money you're saving in the long run.

5) Thrift. This one is really hard for some to start doing but once you start I guarantee you'll have a new found respect for your wardrobe and for your wallet. I've converted some of the most die-hard Nordstrom-Only friends into thrifters by just having them walk around with me. How did I get them to join me? -- I have some wonderful pieces that I've bought thrifting and I have 100% no shame in saying so. In fact, the top I'm wearing today is thrifted!

Friend: Where did you get that vest?! OMG! Is that leather?! This must have cost... where is this from?! I just saw one like it in the window at All-Saints!
Me: Thanks! Nope, not All-Saints. It's an off-brand designer. Don't you love it?! Yep, 100% leather, practically brand new. I got it at Value Village. It was $13. It's obsessed with it and it's my new favorite piece.

** This is a true story and I've seen similar leather vests selling for $450 easily. Grand savings, $437!

I hope you utilize these tips and share them with your friends. Some can be extreme but for those serious about just trying to save an extra couple of $20s a month, it can be really beneficial.

Love, Love, Love!

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