Whether your goal is travel, debt relief, buying a new house or just saving up for that inevitable crisis, there are a few tiny changes you can make in your life right now to begin accumulating that cash.
Most articles with similar titles tend to feature flashy and intriguing suggestions that are easy enough to implement into your lifestyle. They might leave you feeling inspired, like maybe there’s a few new things to add to the ol’ daily routine.
But my tips? Mine are a total drag, but they work like a charm. These are not flashy, or glamorous. But they save you some damn money. I’ve extracted these tips directly from the fleshy meat of my own lifestyle, so I know these are extremely effective.
[Editor’s Note: I am not responsible for any unintended side effects of these tips, other than saving money. I take full responsibility for that.]
- Wear the same clothes almost every day. My friends have always made fun of me for my ‘uniform’, but as I near 30, I’ll finally admit it, it’s my freaking uniform. I wear leggings everyday. And I don’t even care. I mend my leggings as they rip, so I only have to buy like, three pairs in a year. DEAL. This usually is paired with a couple different tops that I rotate. I have like, a token sweater that I always wear as well. THAT’S MY WARDROBE. Money saved through lack of buying new clothing = insane.
- Don’t ever update your phone. This means you have to take extra good care of your phone while you use it, and by no means can you lose it, drop it in the toilet, or get it stolen during a trip. I’ve been using the same iPhone 4 (FOUR. NO ‘S’ AFTER THAT, D’JA SEE?) for over two years which I think is a sin according to Apple. But it works great. I was only remotely considering upgrading within a year’s time because I was under the impression that iPhones could not technically last this long because there was some mechanism that made them spontaneously crack after 12 months of use. We’ll see how long I can push my luck.
- Refuse to purchase health insurance. This is not wise. I repeat, this is not wise. However, I can’t afford insurance in the USA, and I don’t live there, so I don’t have it. I take care of my health costs in whatever country I’m living in. I’m pretty healthy (says everyone just before the unexpected mystery infection that almost kills them), so I’m more than able to pay for my routine yearly check-ups out of pocket. It always ends up being way cheaper than if I lived in the USA and HAD insurance. Imagine that.
- Get rid of your car. This tip is helped by the fact that I moved out of the USA and could not physically bring my car on the airplane with me. Also, I was sick of owning one and maintaining it. I don’t want to get into the bottomless pit that is a gas tank or car maintenance. Oh, you’ve owned a car and are currently spending $8,000 on [insert random mechanical failure nobody’s heard of]?? Yeah. Thought so.
- Choose your vices carefully. I used to spend a lot of money on going out, in another time of my life. But after some recent backpacking left my bank account gasping and writhing, I realized I had to buckle down. So I stopped leaving the apartment for anything that was not strictly related to feeding myself, exercise, or wandering to steal flowers. (Seriously – I found the best day lilies dumpster diving the other day.) It’s been a good time to focus more seriously on my work, and to reduce the amount of money flying out of my wallet.
In the effort of full disclosure, a lot of these money-saving tips are possible for me because of my lifestyle, or perhaps a result of it. Though my partner and I will settle for a time in a city or specific country, we always end up piling our shit into one backpack and moving on. So it makes it easier to whittle down what isn’t really needed in life – like all those new shirts you bought and never wore, or the million pairs of shoes, or, you know, the health insurance.
We could all stand to save a little money, especially for the rainy day fund. My father always used to advise me to save a little bit of money each paycheck, to “pay yourself first”.
I still try to do this, no matter my level of income. And sometimes, paying myself first means that I have to mend these leggings for the twelfth time.
LEGGINGS + SLIGHTLY OUTDATED PHONE = ONE HAPPY CAMPER (with a few extra bucks!)