Thanks to some keen advising from my father-in-law, I began contributing heavily to my Roth IRA, which is an account where I put in money after tax, so when I retire… I can spend it without having to pay the taxes. Sweet deal! In honor of getting older, spending (and saving) more wisely, I decided on some cuts to my current habits:
1. Dyeing my own hair. This sister has some grey, otherwise I wouldn’t even bother! Typically a salon visit, and the latest balayage techniques, can run a girl about $170 including tip. I decided to watch some DIY hair coloring videos and see if I could actually do it myself – without turning my hair all kinds of weird colors! I made a run to Target and grabbed some box color for $5.94 (I researched the best ones online first). Within 25 minutes of application and a thorough wash, I had some beautiful light brown hair and no grey. TOTAL SAVED: $164.06/8 weeks.
2. Giving up coffee (except as a treat). Thankfully I am someone who isn’t addicted to caffeine. Even in my high frequency coffee-buying period, I had about two a week. I stopped drinking coffee altogether here in Georgia except as a treat once a while. This may equate to once a month. Starbuck’s charges $4.75 plus tax for my beverage of choice, steep! Letting go of sugary lattes may not be as easy for some, but it is a great way to save some moolah. TOTAL SAVED: $33.25/month.
3. Rarely eating out. When I lived in Maine, I would go to brunch or out to dinner almost every weekend, then order out on nights I didn’t want to cook. This ran up quite the sum when added together. Here in Georgia, my husband and I try to eat as many meals at home as possible. I also work from home, so it is easy to grab lunch from the fridge and not spend a dime. We do try to have date nights every so often, but even then we usually go out to some place reasonable and not super fancy. TOTAL SAVED: $200/month.
4. I signed up for a library card. I love books. The weight of books, the smell of books, the feel of the pages. Everything. Instead of buying my leisure reads, I decided to get a library card and explore the fiction section at my library. You can’t beat free, friends! It also saves me the trouble of hauling boxes of books here and there – my husband and I are on the move for his clinical rotations. TOTAL SAVED: $30+/month.
5. Bringing my own water. It is hot here in Georgia, and it is a must to stay hydrated. If I am going out for a long period of time, I typically bring a bottle filled with ice water. This allows me to avoid stopping for water and buying one for $1.50+ each. This is small savings but can add up over time. TOTAL SAVED: $10/month.
I’d love to hear ways you try to save money!