First of all, I need to say that I’m not an expert in finances, but I’m a person who spent most of the life screwing up with my finances since I started working with 18 years old. I didn’t have a good financial education when I was younger. I didn’t even have one to be very exact. And I spent years struggling to catch up with my budget, despite having a good job in Brazil.
Only a few time ago, specifically when I moved to Texas that I realized all the mistakes I did and that I never could save any money during my whole life! I worked only to pay the bills of the month, buy new clothes and things that most of the time I didn’t need to. That was very hard to see when I decided to sell almost everything I had in my old apartment to move to another country and start a new fase of my life with my husband!
After that until nowadays, I started to read more about finances and try to learn what things I can do to help my husband to save some money. I also started, for the first time in my life, to think about the future and make some long-term goals.
Besides you need to research a lot about financial staffs, I think it’s also very important to start seeing what kind of things you are doing in your routine that can increase your expenses, and consequently making you spend more money. That way, you can eliminate those that are unnecessary and save same money monthly.
So, on today’s post, I will share 23 habits that can truly help you to save money. 23 is because, until now, I only could realized these habits that I’m really trying for almost two years and can truly be helpful to save a significant amount of money from our budget.
These are 23 simple habits that most of the times you don’t see that they are taking your money away and making it more difficult to achieve bigger accomplishments you wish.
Some of them can be a little bit polemic for people who love to do beauty procedures and some simple but paid beauty/self care staffs more often. In fact, I’m not here to say that you need to do all of these items to save money. Anybody can do that. And you can certainly choose those that are most comfortable for you to give up and will not be so hard to live without. You always have a choice to do what’s best for your self-being!
Let’s go the habits!
I hope they can be helpful for everyone!
1 – Take care of your hair by yourself.
I know. This can be hard. But that first habit is very efective to save money during the entire year! Most people, specially us women spend lots of money in beauty salons every month, or even go every week to do something in the hair. Most of the time, we also end up doing some procedures that we even don’t need. This amount of money can be very high if you add up all your expenses at the end of each month.
I’ve learned since I was very young to take care of my hair by myself (not perfect, not everything and I spent years to learn what I know today to take care of my hair better). But I consider that I’ve managed this very well, I always made my own moisturize and blow-dry at home. I often only went to the salon to color or make a new hairstyle each three or four months when my hair was really in need.
You can buy your own products and research in beauty/hair/lifestyle youtube channels how to wash, moisturize, and until cut your own hair at home. And only go to the salon when is necessary.
Obviously, this is just a option and I know that will not be exactly like a professional doing it, but you also can have a beauty and healthy hair doing something by yourself and that’s a way to minimize your expenses and save money if you are looking for it.
I like this video from Pick Up Limes Youtube Channel, if you want to learn how to cut your hair by yourself:
2 – Stop coloring your hair and enjoy more your natural color.
Recently, I decided also stop coloring my hair and enjoy my natural color again. I started dyeing my hair in 2014, 2015. I don’t remember very well when I started. But I was always obsessed with ginger/copper and always wanted to color my hair with these tones. And after you start, you don’t want another color. That’s a pretty color and I spent all these years in love in having my hair colored.
I started thinking about stop dyeing my hair a few months ago, for health reasons. I have already mentioned in previous posts that I want to reduce the use of products full of chemicals that can be toxic to help to reduce my allergies and have healthier life.
However, I also started thinking a lot about the amount of money I spent during those years to keep my hair colored. Specially after move to United States, where any procedure in a quality salon is quite expensive. So, I decided to stop since July, 2019. I don’t know if this will be permanent. And I don’t like to feel obligated to anything. If I want dyeing again in the next months or years, I will, and that’s fine!
Even if you don’t dye your hair so often, it costs much more to maintain a colored hair than a natural one, without any type of chemical. Suitable products are quite more expensive and that money could be saved for greater accomplishments that you want to achieve.
Besides that, it’s part of the process of self-knowledge, well-being and maturity like of yourself more in your natural way. I think that’s beautiful and I wish I could have noticed it years ago.
3 – Buy clothes on thrift stores.
Buy some or, why not, all of your clothes in thrift stores is also a great idea to save money. I like to buy some of mine at local Savers or Good Will here in Austin. And you also can find great finds on Poshmark app.
4 – Sell the clothes you no longer wear or don’t fit anymore.
Poshmark is an app where you can sell and buy everything from second hand and until new ones for vey affordable/lower prices. In Brazil, they also have a similar app, Enjoei, where you can also sell and buy clothes/things from celebrities and bloggers.
Sell things you don’t use anymore, that are abandoned at the bottom of the closet are very great to save and gain some money.
5 – Make your own nut milk.
This item is for those who have a dairy-free diet or just like of other alternative milk options made with almond, cashew or coconut, for example. Make your nut milk at home is very easy and you until can be healthier drinking a milk without any kind of preservatives, added sugars and thickeners.
You just need of water, raw nuts, a blender and a reusable nut bag. And the costs are way less than buy bottles of processed milks.
I simply love this video from Downshiftology Youtube Channel, if you want to learn a simple way to make your own almond milk:
6 – Always go out with your water bottle.
You certainly will save a huge amount of money without buying plastic bottles every time you get thirsty when you’re in public places, at work, school, shopping, etc. It’s still a conscious way to reduce your exposure to plastic, that can be harmful for the health, and a sustainable way to help the planet.
7 – Practice yoga, meditation or exercises at home.
I have the privilege nowadays of live in place full of green areas here in Texas and I always prefer to do exercises outside than go to the gyn. Walking outside is 100% free and can bring a lot of benefits for our health.
You have many options of meditations/workouts app’s available for free download, with free plans and other with an affordable and lower monthly cost. Or you can follow a lot of Youtube channels that teaching you how to make the exercises by yourself at home. That is definitely a great way to save money without gym payments, transport, extra snacks. You only need comfy clothes and a mat in the middle of your living room to move your body and stay healthier.
8 – Plan all your meals for the week.
Plan all the melas for the week is one of the bests things I have done in the last few months. That habit helps me to be healthier and also to save a lot of money during the month.
When you write everything you want to eat during the week, you know easily what to buy, and you don’t end up spending on products that you probably will not use and can go to the trash.
You aren’t obliged to eat exactly as you planned every day. You can always change, be more creative sometimes and eat something different if you want, but the plan will help a lot to not waste. You can have healthier eating habits, save time, reduce the waste of food and money from your family.
Down bellow you all can download for free my Weekly Meal Plan. That’s my own template and it’s how I plan all of our meals for the week. I keep this page in the fridge with a magnet clip and this way, I see easily every day what I can have for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner.
Just click on the link or the image bellow to open the PDF file!
9 – Plan your grocery list before going to the supermarket and only buy what you truly need.
After plan what you want to eat for the week, it’s easier know what is needed. And you can also plan your grocery lists before going to the supermarket to buy only what you need to prep the meals you have planned before for that week.
Bellow, you can also download for free my Grocery List template. You can write everything for your home and meals separated for categories. Making even easier to focus on the products you really need.
Just click on the link or the image bellow to open the PDF file!
10 – Make meal prep for the week and cook more at home.
After plan and buy everything correctly and reducing waste, it’s time to make some meal prep to save time in the week and also reduce the waste of food that can also not be used, even if you planned.
Take two hours on Sundays or other day if you prefer to wash all the fruits, vegetables you’ve bought, keep them in your own places and read to eat; organize the new pantry supplies in the containers; make your milk and other homemade sauces for the week and keep them in glass mason jars in the fridge, that can make them last longer, cut and cook some rice, ground chicken in reserve in containers inside the fridge; get some salads and snacks also read to eat and easy to pick up in the fridge.
11 – Do not buy unnecessary beauty products.
Stop buying unnecessary beauty products and use all you have until the end. I’ve learned months ago that you can take better care of yourself from the inside, so the outside will be better. I changed my diet and habits and that is reflecting on my skin health in a way I never could imagine. I eat better, I sleep better, I fell better, and my skin no longer need of a lot of creams and soaps how I was using one year ago.
I’m loving to keep my beauty/self care routine the most simples as possible. With a normal soap, my favorite toner and sunscreen. Two or three times a week, I made a exfoliation, and I also love to moisturize my body with a lavender natural cream.
I still love beauty/relaxing/natural products. But I really stopped buying every mask, serum, nail color or lipstick I saw on trending and leaving my bathroom/dressing table full of products that I never used until the end.
12 – Make your nails by yourself.
Talking about nails… That item can help to save a huge amount of money. I really do not needed to say how expensive is to make the nails with a professional. Not to mention that depending on your activities, it only last for a few days and you already need to do it again.
I have learned with my aunt when I was a teenager how to make my own nails by myself. That was because we couldn’t afford that kind of “luxury” that time, but after years and even having money for this, I ended up keeping this habits in my life.
13 – Stop buying seasonal decorations the entire year.
Living in USA, it’s hard not to do that. I’m always in love with all the seasonal decorations and it’s very difficult to resist to the sales in the social medias and when you go to the stores. I know how it is. But if you’re looking for save money, you need to take into consideration what is most important and just buy those decorations that will really bring more joy for your home without increasing your spending.
I love Christmas and do all the preparations for the holidays at the end of the year. I also love the Autumn, I love to buy some cozy details, specially for the living room, at this time of year. And that are the seasonal decorations that I choose to buy something new. For the rest of the year, I prefer to keep a simple and neutral decor.
Try to make some DIY with materials you already have at home or if you really want to invest in that, buy something that you can use for the next years.
14 – Do not pay for cable TV and use only streaming.
That was one of the biggest lessons from my adult life on my 20s! I lived alone on my own apartment for 5 years in brazil and I had a cabo TV with all the channels I loved for a very expensive price. Still on my budget, but with a very high price that I could have saved.
However, I worked all week outside and I also liked to went out at the weekends. So, I barely had time to watch all those channels. I spent a lot of money with an expensive TV subscription and when I finally wanted to cancel, I still needed to pay a lot of taxes for breaking the contract.
So, if you want to save for bigger achievements, keep streaming on Netflix, Prime or Disney + for example, which ones have very affordable and lower prices and you also can cancel any time.
15 – Eat everything you have in the fridge/pantry and only buy new things when they are done.
There’s no point in planning meals, the grocery lists of the week, if you don’t consume everything you’ve bought until the end and avoid the waste of food. If you do that, you end up buying more instead of saving money.
16 – Make some natural cleaning products by yourself.
Recently, I bought the book ‘The Complete Book of Clean‘ on Amazon and I think this book is perfect if you want to learn how to clean your entire home better, make your own natural cleaning products or know what are the best to clean everything, and keep your house healthier and tidier.
Making your own natural cleaning products is amazingly efficient to reduce the amount of products full of chemicals that we usually bought in the supermarket inside your home and that can be dangerous for the health of your family.
You can save a lot of your budget by buying basics items like essential oils (which last a lot and can be used several times), baking soda, white vinegar, borax and Castile soap. And you can make many abrasive and non-abrasive mix to clean the entire home without buy a lot of different products for everything.
I started making some natural cleaning products a few months ago. I stopped buying air fresheners, candles and general cleaning disinfectants for the whole house and this made a considerable difference in our monthly expenses. My favorite essential oils are lavender, lemon and eucalyptus! The kitchen stays clean and smelling fresh all day and I still save a lot! It’s the best sensation ever!
17 – Save a small amount of money every month.
The ideal and recommended by finance experts, is to save at least 10% of your income per month. But even if that is not possible, it is worth saving any amount you can, because little is much better than nothing. So, you will have something saved for emergencies, or to do something you want in the future.
18- Pay more in cash and do not make new debts.
That was another great lesson from the time when I lived alone. There is nothing worse than doing a lot of debts and seeing all your income go away to pay credit card bills, a lot of expenses and not being able to save anything to have fun, travel, buy something you like or just save for the future. For that reasons, I’ve learned how to resist to buy everything I think it’s pretty and not care about only because it’s on a credit card.
So, try to pay your credit card debts as much as possible and this way you will have the bigger part of your income free to save per month and become more financially independent.
19 – Cancel any type of boxes signatures.
If you want to save money, you need to take into consideration what expenses you have in your lifestyle that are relevant and you do not want to give up of them. In my case, expenses like food, health and entertainment are very possible things to save, but I would not be able to give them up completely. Others, on the other hand, such as magazine/food/beauty/candle subscriptions, buying new clothes and accessories frequently, traveling every year are very likely to give up completely.
You really need to realize if it’s worth all these subscriptions that we are tempted all the time by marketing and social medias. Or if can be more efficient buy the things individually when you truly need.
20 – Watch more movies and series at home and do not go all the time to the movies.
With the many options of streaming app’s that we have today, with very affordable prices, it is worth saving money also not going all the time to the movies. Setting up a very cozy corner, preparing delicious snacks and having a movie night at home with your loved ones can be as cool as going out.
21 – Stop following profiles and signing newsletters of brands that can influence you to buy things you don’t need.
Can be very difficult, sometimes, to resist the amount of ads that we receive all the time by email or on social medias. So, if you really want to save money and not be tempted, it is also worth canceling all those newsletters subscriptions from brands that can influence you to buy things, even if you don’t need to.
22 – Only go out to buy new things when you need, not for distraction or hobby.
This item involves conscious consumption that have interested me a lot lately. I definitely cannot and do not want to buy all the time, and not fall into the temptations that I am surrounded by here in the United States.
For these reasons, I need to be creative when I’m picking up together my outfits, our home decoration, and in several aspects in my daily routine. I also need to learn how to hold on to enjoy the most as possible of what I already have, and only buy new things when it’s really necessary. And for the last but not least, learn to not to buy just for hobby, distraction or compensation for some stressful event.
The secret for me, is define better my style, the things I really enjoy, and only buy what I really love and have a good quality and can last for a long time. That’s the best way to still enjoy what I like and save money.
23 – Stop buying cheap and poor quality clothes and accessories.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last two years, is that is so much more worth investing in a good quality piece that will last longer, or maybe for your whole life, than several bad ones, which it won’t be worth the money you paid for them.
Quality clothes and accessories are worth more than poor quality and very cheap ones because they last very longer and you don’t need to buy new ones every time. So, you end up saving more money than you can imagine.
My last tip to help you to save money is the one that also have helps me a lot this last year. I was very enchanted with so many beautiful and cheap variety of things that we find here in USA, and I made many mistakes buying very cheap clothes and accessories in online stores and fast fashions. Most of them, I don’t even have anymore.
So, I’ve learned to buy only the ones I love the most and have a better quality, and I also know that I will use a lot with the other pieces I have in my closet. That’s why you save even buying somethings more expensive!
Just a little note to finish… Not everything you find in fast fashions is of poor quality. Just as not everything that is more expensive is better. You can find lots of cool and affordable priced things. But it is necessary to pay attention to details to not to make mistakes. Look at the stitching, the type of material, whether it can be washed in the machine or just by hand, if it has details that enrich the piece and if it is really worth buy this new item.
I hope all the 23 habits can be helpful and you can be inspired to do some of them and become more independent financially.
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Thank you for reading! See you in the next post!