10 creative ways to save money you've probably never thought of

10 creative ways to save money you've probably never thought of

Did you know that almost 75% of Americans say they are stressed out about their personal finances? One way to combat this stress is by finding more ways to save money.

We know this is often easier said than done with busy school schedules limiting work hours and other purchases taking priority. But saving money doesn’t have to be hard - practicing small savings habits daily can go a long way. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of 10 quick and easy savings hacks!

1. Save all your change

Like most people, you probably have some loose change lying around your house - perhaps in between couch cushions or hidden beneath receipts in your purse. Once a month, scrounge up all the change you can find and put it in a piggy bank or jar. Then, once it starts to fill up, take your change to the bank and exchange it for cash or make a deposit. You might walk out with an additional $10 or $20 in your pocket!

Alternatively, consider using a financial app with a convenient Round Up feature, like Step. Every purchase will be rounded up to the nearest dollar and the spare change will automatically be added to savings or invested in stocks or ETFs of your choice. Round Ups are a smart and effortless way to make your money work for you.

2. Put yourself on a spending freeze

Start by picking one day a week where you refrain from spending any money and give your wallet a well-deserved break. Simplify your routine by skipping the morning Starbucks run and opting for a homemade cup of coffee. Pause any online shopping impulses and challenge yourself to explore the world of home-cooked meals. The impact might surprise you!

Beyond the immediate savings, this practice cultivates a heightened awareness of your spending patterns. Once you get the hang of it, consider gradually extending your spending-free days from one to several. As you gain confidence in navigating a day without spending a dime, you'll not only witness a positive shift in your financial habits but also develop a newfound appreciation for the value of every dollar saved. It's a simple yet powerful step toward achieving your financial goals and fostering a mindful approach to money management. 🌱💸

3. Stop saving your payment information online

One-click online purchasing makes it insanely easy to spend money without even thinking about it. The next time an online retailer offers to store your card information, consider hitting the breaks and saying no. The time it takes to enter your card number may be all you need to second-guess whether you really want the item.

This pause can be surprisingly effective. It acts as a moment of reflection, giving you the opportunity to ask yourself whether you genuinely want or need the item in your virtual cart. This serves as a practical deterrent to impulse spending and encourages a more conscious and thoughtful approach to online shopping.

4. Consider cosmetology schools for your next haircut or manicure

While we all enjoy the small luxuries of a fresh manicure or new hair cut, they can be pretty pricey. However, there are a lot of cosmetology schools from the Aveda Institute to Paul Mitchell School, that need clients for their students to practice on.

This presents a golden opportunity for you to score professional-level services at a fraction of the typical cost. Consider booking your next appointment at a local cosmetology school and enjoy a major discount. Not only will you enjoy a major discount, but you'll also contribute to the learning experience of budding cosmetologists. It's a win-win for both your wallet and the next generation of beauty professionals!

5. Do a clothing swap

Revamping your wardrobe doesn't have to come with a hefty price tag! If you’re looking for a new outfit, hit up your friends to see if anyone is interested in doing a clothing swap before spending some of your hard earned cash at the mall.

Start by reaching out to your circle to gauge interest. It's likely that everyone has items in their closets that rarely see the light of day or no longer fit, yet could be the perfect addition to someone else's collection. Chances are, you each have things that you rarely wear or don't fit, that could be a perfect addition to another’s closet. Here’s a few tips for hosting your first clothing swap.

6. Set all subscriptions to expire after one year

Most subscription services, like Netflix or Spotify, tend to quietly renew automatically, making it easy for you to pay for services you no longer use or have forgotten about. Here's a practical tip to regain control: when subscribing to new services, proactively set all subscriptions to expire after one year and disable the auto-renew feature. This intentional pause allows you to evaluate whether you truly need that extra streaming service or if it's time to bid farewell to a digital acquaintance.

7. Cash in on rewards programs

If your favorite retailers, food delivery or ride sharing apps offer loyalty programs, sign up and seize the opportunity to cash in. Whether it's scoring a free cup of coffee, enjoying a discount on your next clothing splurge, or saving money on your favorite takeout order, these perks can be great ways to save.

Considering getting a rewards card? It might be a game-changer for your finances! Rewards cards like Step Black can offer an array of benefits, from cashback on purchases to travel perks and exclusive discounts. Remember, the key to maximizing the benefits of a rewards card is responsible usage. Pay off your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges, and stay within your budget to make the most of the rewards without overspending.

8. Search for discount codes

Start making it a habit to do a quick online search or ask a sales associate about any special promotions they have going on before making a purchase. It only takes a minute or two and chances are you could save on shipping, take advantage of a student discount and more. Browser extensions like Honey and Rakuten can even do the coupon hunting for you!

9. Get an e-library card

If you’re an avid reader, married to your Kindle or iPad, the good news is most libraries now offer e-books that you can check out for free. So, before paying to download the next book on your reading list, check to see if your local library has it available for download. You’ll be shocked how quickly the savings add up!

10. Avoid late fees

Put a recurring reminder on your calendar or select autopay for important bills to avoid paying a late fee. They’re such an unnecessary expense that you can easily avoid by planning ahead. If you’ve been with your bank for a while, take a few minutes to review their policies and don’t be afraid to shop around for one that’s offering a better deal.

Ultimately, by practicing these small savings strategies now, they’ll become second nature and save you a lot of money over time. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our Money 101 section dedicated to Making Money & Saving where we break down all the key things you’ll want to know.

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