As a millennial living in the heart of Silicon Valley, I am constantly looking for ways to save money while still being active and having fun with friends. And sometimes this may seem like a lost cause…so what am I and many others doing wrong?
Well, there are a lot of opinions out there on what millennials are doing wrong. Hell, haven’t we heard it all? We’re told us young people expect too much. We’re told that maybe we’d be able to afford a home, if only we’d stop buying that avocado toast!
While I am trying to stop gobbling gallons of avocado and bread everyday (end sarcasm), I have learned there are other unexpected ways to save money by simply altering my daily and weekly routines a little.
Here are some ways to save money that might help you.
Purchase that Coffee Maker
It’s tough to buy into the logic that skipping your $2 coffee purchase for a $20 to $300 coffee maker will actually save you lots of money in the long run. But…it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee! (Sorry.)
Say you buy a cup of coffee on your way to work every morning. That’s about $10 a week. So $40 a month. And $480 a year. Even if this is an exaggeration of your coffee purchasing habits, it adds up overtime.
On the other hand, buying a good quality, long lasting coffee maker and coffee beans will benefit your bank account for years to come.
Make Dinner Dates a Treat, Not a Habit
I sometimes find myself in the middle of a week when I have dinner plans with a friend or colleague every single day. While I’m thankful to have these great people around to catch up with over a delicious meal, I know my wallet is crying by the time it’s over.
Get in the habit of making meals out not a habit. It is no secret that eating at restaurants is more expensive than cooking for yourself at home, so don’t be afraid to limit yourself. Maybe a dinner out is a once a week thing, or maybe even once a month. You know what would work best with your budget.
So does this mean your social life just goes out the door with your old lifestyle? Hopefully not! Instead of going out to dinner, recommend grabbing a drink or coffee with friends. Maybe you can go on a hike or visit a free local event. Don’t be afraid to look into other options.
Buy Groceries Every Week
On the topic of food, grocery shopping habits may be cutting into your budget in ways you never noticed. Are you buying a month’s worth of fruit, vegetables, and other perishable items for a household of one? Chances are you’re going to be throwing out a good percentage of that food by the 30-day mark. Life happens, and we forget to make use of the tomatoes in the fridge before they expire.
However, if you instead make the effort to shop for groceries once a week (maybe even twice a week) you will find yourself wasting a lot less food. This is because we can typically look at the next seven days and make judgments about what we will eat and what we won’t. In conclusion, meal plans are your friend.
Take Up Those Odd Jobs
I have a full-time job that gets the bills paid and then some. But doing small jobs on the side to make extra cash makes me even more satisfied with my bank account at the end of the month.
I work as a freelance writer. I babysit. Heck, I even mystery shop on occasion (and highly recommend it!) None of these are torturous chores outside of my full-time work. Actually, they’re all things I enjoy doing. Score!
Don’t be afraid to look into odd jobs that would be suitable with your day-to-day life, and that you may even enjoy. Typical job boards like Indeed and Craigslist have tons of opportunities. Do you love animals? You can walk dogs! Are you bilingual? Become a tutor for those learning a new language!
It’s easy to clam up when it comes to worrying about financial stability. Relax those shoulders. Meditate. Drink a cup of tea. And remember the options.