Pay Off Credit Card Bill in Full
Paying off your credit card bill in full every month is the most important tip on saving money and frugal living. Credit card rates are brutal and increase exponentially if not paid in full every month. You should only use credit cards when you know you can pay it off at the end of the billing cycle. Living on credit is the absolute worse thing to do for your financial health. What if you already have credit card debt? Paying it off should be your number one priority.
Get the Most Out of Your Credit Cards
Are you still only getting 1% back on your credit cards? Nowadays, you can get at least 2% cash back on all of your purchases. Citi bank, Wells Fargo, and Paypal all offer flat 2% cash back credit cards. Other cards like the Citi bank credit card for Costco have different categories. You will earn different percent cash back depending on your purchase category. So, it's good to look into these types of credit cards as well. Love to travel? You will find credit cards tailored to frequent travelers. What's more amazing? Credit card companies usually offer several hundred dollars back when you first apply for a card and spend a certain amount within first few months. Be sure to take advantage of the benefits of credit cards. Make your credit cards work for you!
Cut Some Spending from Your Want Categories
Frugal living is to not spend an extravagant amount of money on unnecessary want items. However, don't cut all of your want category spending. You still want to enjoy life but do within your means. To start, try to cut 20% of your want category spending. Which items do you not care about that much? That should be the first thing you cut out. Below is a table to identify needs and wants. Read further below to find out good ways to cut back on one of your want category spending.
|Need Spending (Do Not Cut)||Want Spending (Cut 20%)|
Rent or Mortgage
Coffee House Drinks (Ice Blended or Mocha Coffee Drinks)
Dining Out at Mid Tier or Higher Restaurants
Necessary Transportation (Work)
Going to the Movies
Utilities (Gas, Electric, and Water)
Designer Goods (Handbags, Clothing, and Shoes)
Costco Gift Card Deals
Costco sales gift cards for few restaurants and coffee shops at discounted prices. They constantly update their inventory. Be sure to check it out often. You never know when they will start to carry what you want to buy. Sometimes, it's as much as 20% off. For example, the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaves gift card is $80 for $100 gift card. Just buy gift cards you need and save money right away!
Download the Restaurant's App
Most fast food restaurants, coffee shops, and chain food stores have their own apps to help you save more money. Everyone has a smart phone these days. So, downloading the app is easy. Whenever you pay, just scan at the register to accumulate points and get rewards for your loyalty. They will also periodically post promotional deals on the apps to help you save more money on certain days. It might be small savings, but again, the power of stacking your savings should never be ignored. When they give you a dollar off a drink, it's actually quite good. If the drink if $5, $1 off is 20% off.
Look at Restaurant Receipts
Lots of restaurants give you discounts on the receipts. Just pay attention! They will offer a deal when you complete a survey. Then, write down the code they give you at the end of the survey and you will get either a discount or some free item on your next visit! Currently, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaves, Rubio's, Panda Express, El Pollo Loco, Waba Grill, Subway, Corner Bakery, Burger King, and Jack in the Box all give you something after you complete a survey on the receipts. This is so awesome because again you can stack your savings. Remember the previous example for Coffee Bean & Tea Leaves. In addition to the Costco gift cards and stacking points on app, you can use your survey code to save more money. This is really awesome if you love Coffee Bean & Tea Leaves! This is true for many other restaurants as well. Be sure to pay attention to receipts!
Don't Order Drinks at Restaurants
What is the single most marked up item at a restaurant? Their drinks. For example, a restaurant charges you $3 for a soda and gives you free refill. This sounds like a good deal right? You are getting unlimited refills on the soda. In reality, soda and unlimited refills are ridiculously cheap for restaurants. When you buy a can of soda as a pack, you can expect to pay as low as 30 cents for one can. Restaurants can get soda for even cheaper than that. Then, you have to ask yourself. How many times do you actually get a refill? Probably, just one refill at the most. Restaurant can expect to make at least 300% profit for their soda. Don't forget, in addition to the actual cost of soda, you also have to pay tax and tip on top. Now, you understand why restaurants want you to order a drink, right? On the other hand, you can also cut back on sugar consumption when you don't order soda at restaurants. This is really good on saving money as well as improving your health!
Birthday Freebies and Deals
With birthday freebies and deals, you will not save a ton of money. But, it definitely makes you feel good when you get free items from your favorite restaurants and shops. But if you sign up for lots of different stores, the freebies start to add up! Here are just some of freebies. You can always google for even more.
- Madewell: gives you $25 to spend (you have approximately one month to spend it)
- Coffee Bean & Tea Leaves: a free handcrafted drink (available on your birthday and three days after)
- Starbucks: a free drink if you have bought at least one drink from them (only on your birthday)
- Rubio's: BOGO (buy one get one free)
- Sephora: birthday gift (one month to redeem)
- Corner Bakery: one free dessert
- Jersey Mike: one free sub (you don't have to redeem on your birthday, actually you are a whole year to redeem)
Discounts on Your Gas and Electric Bill
Gas and electric companies offer discounts based on your income. No, you don't have to earn absolutely nothing to qualify. Just inquire about their discount program to see how much you can save. Even a little bit adds up over time. For example, even if you save a total of $10 on gas and electric bills combined, you will end up with $120 at the end of the year. This is how you should look at savings. Even though you are saving a small amount of money in each category, it will be a considerable amount when you sum up all the savings in all categories.
Apps that Help You Save!
There are apps that help you save and reward you with money when you use them. Here are two examples, but be sure to find more on the internet.
- Ibotta - This app has all of your favorite grocery stores. You can find products with cash back. All you have to do is submit your receipt after purchasing qualified products. Then, you earn money back and it can be cashed directly to your Paypal account. What's best? Not sure about the qualified products? Just scan in the grocery to find out before you buy.
- Shopkick - This app is similar to Ibotta. But it has one more function. Without actually purchasing the qualified product, you can scan them for points. After you reach a certain threshold, it allows you to exchange your points for gift cards of your choice!