I love money-saving tips. I grew up in a house where we strove to save as much money as possible; the bigger the deal, the more we wanted it.
Odds are, if you compliment my outfit, instead of saying, “Oh, thanks. It has pockets,” I’ll say, “Oh, thanks. I got it for $5 on clearance”.
While I love money-saving tips, I also know that there are a lot of hacks out there right now that are more of a hassle than they’re worth and, often, aren’t even hacks, just new apps you have to download that will clutter your phone.
So, this week I’m putting some money-saving tips to the test and trying out some of the best ways the internet swears will save me money.
I’m so excited.
Eat at Home
This is probably the most obvious hack out there. Yes, it’s easy at night to just grab takeout or go to your favorite restaurant and not cook for yourself. But it’s also easy to go grocery shopping once a week and have that be the only time you go out for food.
That’s not to say we’re doing a no-spend challenge or that you can’t get fun, extra food at the grocery store, but it’s just eliminating the extra $40 or more you might be spending when you go out.
This hack was hard for me. I used to love to cook and bake because it was my therapy. But recently, I cannot imagine too many things I’d rather not do than getting off of work and making dinner. I know this is ironic, considering I write a weekly meal plan every single week.
I prepped for this challenge and got a mixture of food I could just put in the oven to ‘bake’ and a few recipes that my partner and I could make together. I love the idea of cooking for a date night. While it might have been easier to just order out or go somewhere else some nights, it was really fun to stay in and cook dinner (almost) every night!
Save on Gas
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This article couldn’t have come at a better time. Gas prices are insane right now, but I haven’t freaked out too much yet because I’ve used the same app since I started paying for gas. If you’ve never heard of GasBuddy, you’re welcome in advance.
I’ve used this app for years and no matter where you go, it always has you hooked up to the best deals. The app takes your current location and scans all the gas stations in your area. It, then, categorizes them from least expensive to most expensive, so the first stations that pop up for you will always be the best deals.
If you’re about to travel, you can also find the gas prices around the area you’re traveling to. The gas crisis hit just before my partner and I went to Florida, so I looked up the hotel where we were staying to figure out how much gas would be there.
Yes, gas is one of the few things that everyone has to invest in, no matter how expensive it is (unless you have an electric car, lucky), but it doesn’t always have to break your bank with every visit.
Sell Your Stuff
Gosh, we all need to do this, especially in time for spring cleaning. I am an avid purger and love to get rid of things all the time. One rule I’ve made for myself is the money I get back from certain items is the money I put back into them.
I listed a bunch of electronics on Facebook Marketplace because I want to invest in an expensive electronic for myself by the end of the year. I also cleaned my entire closet and came up with two bags full of clothes. The money I made back from those went directly into my next shopping trip.
Some stores you sell to will do this for you automatically by offering you a certain amount of store credit and then about half of that in instant cash. I always take the cash, but some people appreciate the credit, especially if they frequent the stores often!
Check Out Free Events
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This hack is perfect for those of us who love to go out but don’t want to pay a crazy amount of money to have fun. If you go on EventBrite and type in your city, they’ll find all the fun and free events going on around you. I bookmarked a few that were happening in the next month and texted my friends about others! If you live in a smaller town that might not be on the website, they’ll often have Facebook pages that tell you what events are happening and when!
Also, depending on how trackable you are on your social media algorithms, things ought to pop up for you on social media. I’ll get alerts all the time about free or interesting things that come into the city.
DIY from Home
Not going out doesn’t just apply to dinner. I wanted to spend some time focusing on self-care from home this week, so, I did my nails, asked my friend (who is also a professional hairstylist) to cut my hair, and gave myself a facial. All in all, I spent about $20 doing a spa day at home, while it would have been over $300 if I went out for all of these.
There are so many ways to have a self-care and DIY beauty night at home! There’s always a time to treat yourself, but being the introvert that I am, I was really happy to do it all from home and not have to make a conversation with everyone I see. I love doing self-care nights in and this made my day.
Use Coupon Finding Extensions
Everyone loves to shop online. I’m such a sucker for it while I’m watching TV or listening to an audiobook. But one advantage to shopping online is that I’m able to use coupon codes. Honey is one of my favorite tried-and-true browser extensions. The app actively searches coupon codes online and tries them at checkout for you. I’ve saved a significant amount of money because of it and it makes online shopping much cheaper than in-person.
Check Out Discount Stores
While we’re talking about getting the bang for your buck while you’re shopping, where you shop is also a huge factor in how much you spend. I love going shopping, but I also like to be conscious of what stores have the best deals and where I can go to get the same products (or very similar products) for cheaper. If you have an Aldi or Lidl in your area, those are gold mines. I follow a bunch of Aldi accounts on TikTok that walk you through what new finds Aldi gets every week, so I can know what to look for when I go.
There are also some stores that will give you discounts for being members (and some are free!). My partner is a Kroger rewards member, so we get the best deals in the store and $.10 off all our gallons of gas. I know Sam’s Club and Costco also have great gas and grocery deals.
Discount stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Gabe’s are also great if you want to scratch that shopping itch but don’t want to pay the price. I did another self-care act this week and went to TJ Maxx to get some shopping in. I always love to see the differentiation in TJ Maxx’s price versus the original price.
Curate Your Feed
If you’re anything like me, you’re always on your phone. I don’t know how much time I waste scrolling on my social media, so I decided to follow people on those platforms that would give me advice.
Apart from my Aldi girl, I also follow accounts that show cheap/free cleaning hacks, and a woman who shares all the current coupons and freebies you can get every day. Because of the latter, I got my partner and myself a free massage, a free Crumbl cookie, and so much more.
I love finding these people online as well because I don’t like to keep downloading apps on my phone that promise coupons, but I’ll never actually use them.
I loved this week. It was basically how I lived normally, just amped up. It’s so fun to go out and treat yourself and buy what you want all the time, but I get such a kick out of saving money and finding the best deals. I don’t know if I’m strange or if I shouldn’t enjoy it as much as I do, but this week was wonderful for me.
Do you have any money-saving hacks I didn’t cover? What should my next challenge be? Comment below!
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