Budgeting

4 Hacks To Save Money Without Feeling Restricted

By Wednesday, September 29, 2021

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Budgeting is never fun in the interim but it does have its long-term rewards. For some people, saving money feels nearly impossible since there is hardly any funds to make ends meet, let alone a surplus to contribute to savings. For others, they’ve managed to cover their expenses comfortably and transfer a designated amount per paycheck into their savings. However, they’ve grown stagnant in their financial journey.

At the end of the day, a little strategizing with our expenses goes a long way. So whether you’ve hit a money plateau and need to adjust your savings goals or you simply need to find the bottleneck in your financial setback, here are a few hacks that allow you to save money without completely imposing on your life.

Negotiating Prices (Or Buying Time)

Whether you’re buying a car or discussing a salary for a new job, the rule of thumb is to never accept the first offer. So why wouldn’t you negotiate in other areas of your life where your money is involved? Although some outstanding balances are non-negotiable, you may be pleasantly surprised to know that many are. Before you decide to cut things out of your life, see if you can cut down on the actual cost. Items that I have found that are flexible to negotiate rates include:

  • outstanding balances with creditors
  • insurance rates
  • services needed for my home or car
  • purchasing items from a private seller
  • & so forth.

To barter before buying — or paying for — anything is 100% your right. Now, if you can’t negotiate the price of something (like your student loans, electric bills, or any fixed balance for that matter), I highly recommend negotiating extensions on due dates and buying yourself time. There is a 0% chance that a simple phone call or email requesting more time on payment will ever hurt you, but there is always a chance that it may help you.

Auditing & Adjusting Your Lifestyle

When was the last time you checked your recurring bill statements? Do you really need to stream movies and shows from seven different service providers? Did you really ever end up using the “Premium Features” on LinkedIn? Better yet, are you still getting your spa and fitness package auto-debited from your account, despite not having gotten a facial or taken a single class this past year? If any of this sounds like you, it’s time to get to auditin’ and adjustin’.

Auditing your lifestyle every few months is one of the best ways to save money that you may not actually have to spend (or want to spend, for that matter). It’ll also help you discover money that can go towards saving or something more beneficial. You’d be shocked to know how much money slips through the automated payment cracks of our credit card charges when we don’t regularly check our statements. Auditing your expenses and adjusting how you spend is the easiest and most non-invasive way to start saving money without actually giving up the things you love. Check out these tips on how to audit your grocery spending in seven minutes as well as the app that helps you consolidate all of your bills and payment dates in one place.

Eat In (But Make It Fun)

As a lover of takeout and eating out, I get it — there aren’t too many fun things to do these days that don’t pose a threat to our health. And ordering home delivery or getting takeout feels like a rational and harmless habit. Not to mention, we’ve survived the nightmare that is COVID-19 and we’re still in pandemic purgatory as we gear up for the unknown. We deserve our pleasantries!

And yet, something about ordering takeout for the fourth night in a week makes it lose its prestige. At some point in lockdown, I found that I had to reset my eating habits so that I could actually enjoy takeout for the indulgence it once was. By doing so, not only did I save a ton of money, but I also learned to genuinely enjoy the food I made at home, as well as appreciate takeout for the treat that it is. Check out these nine easy tweaks to elevate your home meals to takeout level.

Repair Instead Of Replace

I’m not saying to take a pickaxe to your ceiling and fix the leak, but there are a few things worth attempting to DIY before resorting to expert help. Now while I 100% believe leaving all electrical work to actual electricians, here are a few things worth pulling out your own toolkit for (and yes, get one).

  • anything you can screw with screws (good for loose cabinet doors, doorknobs, etc.)
  • anything you can twist, turn or tighten (leaky faucet, pipes, showerheads, etc.)
  • anything you can hang on your wall (photos, floating shelves)

You’d be amazed at home how many things you can DIY before calling an expert. Not only do you save money, but it’s also a cathartic effort that makes you feel like your home is truly your own. Check out more tips on things you can DIY before calling an expert.
Oh and spoiler alert: half the time those so-called pros are actually cons. Trust me, I would know.

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I hope you find these tips helpful! One last piece of advice for saving is to *not* stop tipping or leaning into being less-than-courteous as a means of cutting corners and costs. Aside from my strong belief regarding cosmic karma and good energy, it’s important to be a decent human being and tip those in the service industry. If you can afford to get outside food, do your nails or anything of the sort that requires someone else’s services, I strongly believe gratuity should be a part of that budget!

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