First step: Figure out where your money is going. Even those who consider themselves frugal are often surprised to learn what they spend once they start tracking. Use an app like Mint to zero in on where you spend the most. Then, pick a quick win, like canceling that membership that’s been hanging on since the Obama Era, and feel the rush of accomplishment that’ll fuel your next step…
Forget the fees! Long gone are the days of wasting hard-earned money on the Blockbuster late fee (as personified by Antoni Porowski’s Halloween costume).
But needless fees are still lurking everywhere, from credit cards to utility bills. Set up auto payment on your recurring expenses to avoid late fees, and make sure you have overdraft protection on your bank accounts (average overdraft fees range between $30-40 a pop).
Cancel culture. Review your recurring payments and reassess. Whether it’s the gym membership you barely use or the HBO login you got to binge Succession, the mantra here is CANCEL IT. Companies know that regular deductions are the easiest way to lock customers into spending money they would never commit to upfront.
Stop losing s#i+! How many times have you bought a new charger only to find one in a drawer the next day? Get your KonMari on and organize your stuff so you can find things easily, making them less likely to get lost or broken. More money in your bank account… spark that joy!
Kick it college-style. Remember when you’d lounge around someone’s living room with a beer every Friday night? When did you get so fancy? You don’t need dimly lit bars and restaurants to drink and dine. Alcohol in bars has some of the highest markups of all consumer products. Next time your friends propose an outing, invite them over and grab a bottle of wine and some Brie at the grocery store.
Don’t leave money on the table!If you have a health savings account or a flexible spending account, use it early and often for copayments, vision, and dental costs. Book health appointments in advance so you don’t end up trying to snag one between Christmas and New Year’s like everyone else.
Insure it. Budget for renters insurance and, if you own your home, make sure you’re adequately covered by your homeowners insurance. Remember, it’s not the value of your brother’s old futon that you get back if something happens, it’s the cost to replace what was lost.