Have you ever did an audit of your spending? You know, taken a look back to see where your money actually went during the previous month. It can be scary and quite alarming when you realize just how much disposable income you're spending without even thinking about it. And this isn't a judgement, as I'm in the middle of self-imposed Amazon detox for this month.
There are a number of ways that I've come across to help save me money or get a little cash back in my pocket. They're not dramatic lifestyle changes and can be implemented to help you cut corners and save money for your next vacation, or anything else on your wish list.
Ebates - Ebates is an amazing site that will give you cash back on almost any major shopping site on the Internet. It's a gold mine of small money wins, and you'll be receiving a deposit in your bank account before you know it. It's this easy - you need something from a website. Say Amazon. Say Toms. Say Stub Hub. So you head over to Ebates and click through to that site through them. Shop like your normally do, and when you check out the money is deposited into your account on Ebates. I had my first $25 check deposited into my PayPal account within 2-3 weeks of shopping. The deals are endless and you're going to spend the money, you may as well get a little back for each purchase you make.
Ibotta - Ibotta can be hit and miss for me, but it's worth mentioning. Ibotta is a grocery app that saves you money on different items when you shop. You pick the store you're shopping at and then you can add items to your list before you head out to shop, or scan the barcode in the store. When you get home you simply scan your receipt and the cash back on any applicable items is deposited into your account, which you can withdraw at any time. I say that it's hit and miss for me because I buy a lot of produce and meat, and I tend to buy healthier brands when I shop, and I don't find that these are offered as much, but where Ibotta has benefited me is that they offer cash back on shopping on other websites. I book 90% of my hotels through hotels.com and have received as much as 15% cash back for stays by using Ibotta to book.
Cartwheel - Look, I love Whole Foods just as much as the next person, but it can add up quick. Plus, we don't a Whole Foods where I live so I do the majority of my grocery shopping at Target. And I save SO. MUCH. MONEY. when I use the Cartwheel app. I'll admit that I'm very partial to Target on a regular basis, but I would average that around 30%-50% of my cart has discounted items in it each time I shop. Just like Ibotta, you can go through before and add the items to your list or just scan the barcode and it's automatically added. The checkout person will scan your app and the discounts are applied. It's that easy. And bonus - because Cartwheel tracks your purchases (of course they do, it's technology!), Target will send you awesome coupons tailored just for you of the items you buy on a regular basis.
Acorns - Useless change. We all have it. And none of us want it. And that is, at a very basic level, the genius of Acorns. You connect your bank accounts and/or credit cards to your Acorns accounts and they round your change up on all your purchases, then invest that money for you. So if you buy that morning coffee for $6.49 than they'll take $.51 and invest it into your account. It's 100% safe (I did lots of research), and there are many ways to increase your input and customize your investments based on your preferences. In just my first three months I had over $700 tucked away!
Cut Cable - I've been a Roku user for almost 5 years now and haven't regretted it for one day. Cable is, without a doubt, expensive. And with the constant advances in stand-alone cable services, cord cutting is more accessible now than ever. I saved over 50% each month when I switched to Roku and still was able to access everything I wanted to watch with subscriptions to Hulu, Netflix, Sling, and HBO Go.
Staycation - We've all been there. You need to save your time and money for an actual 'leave the state' vacation, but oh man - you need a break. There are plenty of things you can do around your own town that will leave you feeling energized and refreshed, and give you just the break you need. I actually compiled a list of 100 staycation ideas for you that you can download for free here.
Cook more meals at home - In other words - stop ordering as much takeout. This one's a no brainer. Pizza costs money. So does Chinese food. So does sushi. So does any food you order to-go or to be delivered. So if you find yourself ordering a lot of takeout food then resolve to cook for yourself more. You'll save a lot of money and eat healthier.
Review your monthly memberships - I am g-u-i-l-t-y of being a monthly membership gal. From wine to meal kits, to beauty boxes to gyms - there is no shortage of monthly memberships available. I love them, but they do cost a lot of money, so it's never a bad idea to review what you are using and is actually saving you money, versus what you could cut and don't need. I scrubbed my monthly memberships in November and saved $120/month!
Meal Plan - I'm likely preaching to the choir here. I mean, who hasn't heard the praises of meal planning? According to literally every food blog out there, there are many health benefits and habit forming reasons to meal plan (I'm a meal planner, so I can attest), but it's also a great way to save money for travels. Thoughtfully planning your meal ahead of time curbs many of those moments when you grab something to-go or for delivery because you're just starving and don't feel like cooking, which results in lots of savings.
Use your local library - Maybe it's the fact that I'm slowly adopting minimalism into my life (heard frequently from Dylan at our house "how do you have anything left to purge?!") but I went from buying every single book I want to read (you should see my 'To Read' shelf on Goodreads...), to becoming super picky about what books I actually buy. And it has saved me A LOT of money. Checking books out from your local library is a great way to save loads of money for traveling, and bonus - many libraries also allow you to check out DVD's, too.
Because the Internet is this weird and wonderful place, I want to note that none of these recommendations are sponsored. Just my honest opinion about what I use, like and recommend.
Are there any ways that you save money?