How to Live Cheap and Save Money When You Don’t Have Much, Part 3

  • Know how to tip. If you are going to go out and treat yourself to a manicure or a night out, it’s important you know proper tipping etiquette.  When you are on a budget, over-tipping can be the bane of your existence. OK, a bit of an exaggeration, but don’t pay more than you have to.

Here’s a quick list of tipping recommendations:

Haircut – 15-20% for the hair cutter

Shampooers, blow dryers, etc.. – $3

Restaurant – 15-20%, Buffet – 10%

Taxi – 15%

Manicurist/Pedicurist – 15-20%

Pizza Delivery – $2 a pizza (but do give more if it is a longer distance or bad weather)

Valet – $1-3 when you pick up the car

If you want more tipping info, go to www.tipguide.org for a pretty all-inclusive list.

  • Grow your hair out. It may seem drastic to change your hairstyle to save money, but longer hair is easier to manage. It’s less trips to the hair salon.  Try getting a cut that won’t look odd if it’s grown out for a couple of months.
  • Don’t’ use you credit card. Actually, you can use your credit card as much as you like in order to  help your credit score. This is if you are responsible enough to pay the balance in full every month — not just the minimum. Otherwise, as a rule, don’t spend money you don’t have.
  • Shop for clothes cheaply. Try going to thrift stores. The real kind, not the cute downtown vintage shops, and you can find a few cute and interesting pieces. There’s also second hand clothing exchange places like Buffalo Exchange and Plato’s Closet. You can turn in your old clothes and trade it in for someone else’s threads. If used isn’t your thing, stick to places like Forever 21 and H&M. Just don’t expect the clothes to last forever. I do suggest, however, shelling out bucks for items that will last many seasons. For example, a nice pair of boots, a pea coat, or a bag that will match many outfits. When you shop, it really helps to think of your wardrobe as a whole.

Kick Some Bad Habits

These are pretty self-explanatory in how they will save you money.

  • Stop drinking soda.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Stop your addiction to Starbuck’s. Invest in a coffee machine. It is NOT normal to pay $5 for a coffee. Do that even just 3 times a week, and that’s $60 a month!
  • Driving everywhere. You don’t have to drive every time you leave the house. You can walk, and you can even get a bicycle. If you live in a city that is bicycle friendly, I recommend riding your bike around. It’s enjoyable, counts as exercise, and free.

Save, Save, and Save.

  • Join a credit union. Credit unions have higher interest rates on savings, more free services, lower interest rates on loans, and are not for profit. They are better than banks when it comes to saving.

Click Here for How to Live Cheap and Save Money Part 4

How to Live Cheap and Save Money When You Don’t Have Much, Part 1

Some creative ways and other tried and true methods to live cheap and start saving now when you’re in your 20’s and on a tight budget.

It’s hard to be young and broke. It’s even harder to try to live cheap and have a social life. With the huge focus on the downturn in the economy, though, there is an advantage. You can finally let your frugal side shine embarrassment-free. Stating out loud that you are trying to save money, want to eat at a cheaper restaurant, or that you just don’t have the gas money to drive downtown doesn’t hold the same social stigma it once did.

Being cheap is no longer an insult, but the smart way to go about things. From researching around the internet, using my own personal experiences, and taking examples from friends, I’ve compiled a list of tips to live cheap and save money. The good thing about this list is that it’s based on those who have a smaller income but also works well if you are trying to build wealth towards bigger purchases.

You Can Still Have Fun and Be Cheap

One of the hardest things about trying to live cheap is that you miss out on a lot of social outings. Here are a few ways you can still enjoy yourself and not spend much money.

  • Don’t go out to eat. I know. I just said you can still enjoy yourself, but eating out is one of the top ways to drain your money. It’s hard to say no to food and friends, but instead you can meet them up later. Try stopping by towards the end of the meal and just having a drink (non-alcoholic will save you more money).
  • Don’t spend much money on drinks. On a weekend, dinner is usually followed by a night out on the town. To live cheap, you’ll have to practice self-control. Limit yourself to just buying 1 or 2 drinks, and try to only go out once a week. Another tip, leave your credit cards at home, and only bring a small amount of cash. You can’t spend what you don’t have.
  • Host a Potluck. A potluck is a great social activity that combines food and friends while being easy on the wallet. Generally, the hosts prepares the main entrée dish, and each guest is assigned to bring either a side, appetizer, drink, or dessert. This is a great way to enjoy and host company.
  • Use the public library. If you like reading, this is a great solution for you. Buying books is expensive especially if you are a voracious reader. Try going to your public library where you can borrow the books for free. It’s free! Is there a better word? I think not.

Click Here for How to Live Cheap and Save Money Part 2

How to Live Cheap and Save Money When You Don’t Have Much, Part 2

  • Do a clothes swap. You want to live cheap, but you also want to look good. These two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Get your girlfriends together (if you are all around the same size this works beautifully) and tell them to bring their old clothes – nothing stained or ripped allowed. Open a bottle of wine and sift through each other’s toss outs. What is one woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure. You’ll be surprised at how many gems you can find.
  • Check your local listings. See what is going on around town. Look through your local Observer, and there is bound to be cheap activities.  Also, movie theatres usually run some kind of special during the week. There may be a $5 movie night or discounted matinee showings. Take advantage!

Save Money on Food

  • Make Chili. Make a ton of it, and then freeze it. Do this with spaghetti sauce or any other food that can withstand the freezer for long periods of time. Preparing mass quantities of food can save you both time and money.
  • Shop at the Famer’s Market late at night. The farmer’s market is a great way to get fresh produce. Go buy your goods closer to closing time. A lot of f the vendors will sell their products at a discount.
  • Plan your groceries. Don’t shop without a list or when you are hungry. This leads to a lot of impulsive shopping which is never good when you try to live cheap.  Make your list and think in terms of meals. Buy food and ingredients that you can use for other dishes.
  • Buy in bulk. It’s no secret that bulk saves money. Get a Sam’s or Costco card. Also, buy things like toiletries in bulk, and divvy it up among your friends.
  • Use coupons. Search your local listings, and cut out those coupons. You may hold up the line a bit when buying groceries, but it’s well worth it once those savings start adding up. Make it a habit, and you’ll be surprised at how much you can save using coupons.

Don’t Let Shopping Ruin Your Life

  • Search for discounts. Wait for sales to happen. Buy your clothes out of season, and you’ll save a lot. Try to make it a goal to never pay full price for anything. Go to craigslist.com to find clothes, furniture, or anything that you need. This is what it means to live cheap. There are sales out there waiting to be discovered by you. Learn to enjoy the hunt.
  • Do more online shopping. Online shopping is a great strategy when you want to live cheap.  There are better deals, and though you may pay for shipping, there is usually a discount if you buy more than one item. Sites like Overstock.com offer great deals for refurbished electronics, affordable furniture, nice luggage, and any other retail item you can imagine. Besides the great deals, you also save on gas money.

Click Here for How to Live Cheap and Save Money Part 3