Broke-Ass Tag: Affiliate Links
Now that January is now almost behind us, and those of you who recently got engaged are starting to get into the really-realz of wedding planning, let’s talk cash-money shall we? Figuring out your budget should be Priority No. 1 and might be super simple if you already have the dollarz on hand. If you don’t? Well, it’s time to get into savings shape. GYST (get your shit together) and make a plan so that you’re diligently putting aside the skrilla in a way that makes sense for you. Here are some of our Broke-Ass tried and true tricks to save a little coin without resorting to eating ramen all day, er’ry day (though we love ramen).
1. Financial Planner
Get yo-self one. I, personally, love Etsy seller NinjandNinj’s financial planner because it’s compact, but not too compact, and covers a shit-ton of bases. It’s key for helping me track my finances, keep track of bills, know where I stand with credit cards and loans and see how close I am to my savings goals. There aren’t pre-filled months or dates, so you can literally start using it at any time. Plus, in the very back of the planner, there’s an envelope for cash to stash or if you’re doing an envelope-based spending plan.
2. Penalize Yo-Self
Whether it’s for swearing (but what fun is that?), not working out, eating pizza more than once in a week or whatever, make a savings game out of your questionable habits. For every time you do or don’t do whatever pre-determined behavior, throw some moolah into the jar. To keep it lucrative set a minimum amount — $2 for every additional slice of pizza, $5 for blowing off your friends … whatever it may be. Then get a little boost of satisfaction for every time you stray. Win-win, right?
3. Round Up
Stash the leftovers in a cute purse like this one from Etsy seller kaeselotti.
Similar to Real Bride Julie’s savings plan of using the difference between current gas prices and the prior year’s higher gas prices as the basis for incremental savings, rounding up to the nearest dollar amount and stashing the rest is a solid savings plan. Of course, it works best with cash, but it can be approached a few different ways — you can round up to the nearest dollar (so, say your latte was $3.26, you’d throw $.74 into savings) or you can round up to the next-closest note denomination (in the latte case, a $5, so you’d save $1.74). Do this every time you make a cash purchase and watch the savings accumulate in no time.
4. Automatic Transfers / Withdrawals
I’ve been using Digit, which moves teensy amounts of money from my checking account to a separate digital savings account, based on my bills, spending habits and the amount I have currently in my account. In the three or four months since I’ve been using Digit, the withdrawals have been as little as $.09 and as much as about $4, but the increments are generally so small I don’t even notice and that adds up quickly. The only drawback is that there is no interest, but that’s relatively minor when I’m just trying to get a leg up on savings to begin with. The whole thing is managed via text message, which I think is pretty rad — there’s no signing in or out of accounts and I can just send a text to see where my savings stand. Similarly, I have my Chase checking account set up to move $30 from checking to savings every month on a predetermined date. This setup accomplishes two things — one, it gives me a little boost in savings every month that I know must be in my checking and two, I avoid any maintenance fees on my accounts for having this set up. Check with your bank to see if they have any similar options.
5. Get It To Go
If you tend to eat out a lot (no shame in that game), you know it can srsly add up like whoa. In my house, we’re also huge fans of not having to deal with shit after a long day of work, especially toward the end of the week when payday has hit and we’re tired af. So, natch, we order out with a fair amount of frequency. While we still usually leave a couple of dollars for the person who took the time to get the order ready (bartender, host, whomever), we save a pretty decent amount of money by not dining at the restaurant itself, mostly because we don’t tip on the whole bill as we would if we were to eat there. If you’re frequent diners out, consider switching it up and getting your grub to go and putting away the amount of money you would normally spend on the gratuity. If you eat out a couple-few times a week, this should start adding up quickly.
6. Pack It Up, Pack It In!
Similar to No. 5: Take your lunch! Man, I know, there are better small pleasures than escaping a hectic day at the office to nosh on one of your fave feasts for lunch, but really think about how much you’re spending if you eat out even three times during the workweek. On the low end, lunch might cost around $10, which — at three times per week — comes out to $120 per month. In wedding terms? That might be your shoes, veil, hair, makeup or gifts for your crew. In one month. Instead, get yourself a great little lunchbox, pre-pack your meal the night before and make sure you’re eating food that you enjoy. Hang on to that lunch money and revel in the sense that you’re probably eating healthier and saving money doing so.
7. Use Rewards Programs
Who says you’re ever too old for a gold star? Confetti from Etsy seller ConfettiGirls.
I’ve always been a little hesitant about rewards programs, because they seem to take FOR-EV-ER to add up and it seems like a lot of work for, well, not much return. That is until I started using Bing Rewards to earn points for every time I search (and y’all, I search A. LOT. It’s part of my job), and I saw the numbers just skyrocket. I ended up getting like $50 in gift cards within a few months — and let me tell you, you’ll spend a holy buttload of time searching for things when you’re planning your wedding. Make it count! Similarly, I diligently track our gas points when we shop at Kroger — because free gas, y’all — and carefully check Target’s Cartwheel app before I go shopping (which can be used in conjunction with Target’s REDCard, which saves 5% on every purchase). And at the end of all of it? I check Ibotta, an app that lets you unlock rebates (you have to answer a question for each rebate which is mildly annoying but, whatevs) at a bunch of different stores. Dude, that’s some money-saving all over the place.