As you know, I love saving money. And saving time is always an added bonus (time is money after all…). But saving time AND money? Even better. Here are 10 money saving life hacks to save you both.
- Grow a herb garden
Buying potted herb plants to keep in my kitchen has been one of my favorite new money saving habits! My kitchen smells great, and whenever I need fresh herbs for a recipe, I simply snatch some off of my plants. It saves me money because I’m not constantly buying fresh herbs that spoil quickly (they aren’t cheap) and saves me trips to the store. Each plant is about $3, you can find them at just about any grocery store, and my plants tend to last a few months (honestly, they would probably last longer if I didn’t keep forgetting to water them).
There’s a reason I included an herb garden in my suggested host gifts post :).
- Buy in bulk
I generally try to only buy things that are on sale – that means everything from clothes to groceries to toilet paper. I’m not advocating coupon craziness; we’ll save that for TLC. But there tend to be plenty of in-store sales, particularly at grocery stores, that you can take advantage of.
When it comes to home staples I use often – think paper towels, peanut butter, soap – I tend to stock up when I see a sale, and buy my replacement before the one I’m currently using runs out. That way I have the luxury of buying products when they’re on sale, and don’t ever have to rush to the store last minute when I realize I’ve run out of a vital good. Plus on the time side, it minimizes trips to the grocery store.
- Set up automatic payments
I have automatic payments set up on all of my credit cards and bills. I still monitor my activity online to make sure there aren’t any suspicious charges, but my bills are always paid on time without any stress or effort on my part. This not only saves time, but avoids the cost of late fees. I even have automatic withdrawals set up into a high yield savings account, so I can save without effort too.
- Earn shopping miles
I’m a huge fan of trying to maximize airline and hotel points – I’m a former consultant after all! Thanks to my miles accumulation I was able to fly my boyfriend and myself to Italy this year for just the cost of international fees. But it can be really hard to save up points if you’re not traveling regularly.
Enter online shopping. Did you know you could earn airline miles when you shop online? It just requires two extra steps – log on to the online shopping site (just about every airline has one), and search for the store you’re shopping at. On top of the miles you get, many stores offer exclusive coupons on the airline website, so you can find deals without having to do any extra searching. This is an especially great trick to use in the next week as you’re stocking up on holiday presents.
- Use ThredUp
Not only will cleaning out your closet save you time (I’ve spent way too many mornings before working staring at a full closet, thinking I have NOTHING TO WEAR), but it can net you cash too. I’ve earned over $1,000 over the years just by selling my old clothes!
Check out my post on all of the great ways you turn your clothes into cash. But since we’re talking time saving tips too, ThredUp (<<affiliate link gets you $20 to spend) is the easiest way to sell your old clothes. You just order a pre-stamped bag, fill it up, leave it out for USPS, and await your payout.
- Go incognito
If you’re looking for airline tickets, turns out checking for the best flight price over and over is just a waste of time and money. Many websites can track that you’ve searched for the flight before, and will raise their prices when you return (darn cookies). To prevent this, search in private mode on your browser.
- Cook in bulk
Making your food at home is one of the biggest money saving habits there is. But that’s easier said than done when you get home from work at 7 pm, tired and hangry. That’s why I try and cook in bulk, generally on the weekends. I make dishes that I can easily cook multiple servings of at once, and that refrigerate well – like chili or my caprese frittata. Find more make-ahead recipe ideas here.
- Renegotiate bills
If you’re not already participating in the December Simple Saver challenge, you might not have realized that just about all of your bills are negotiable. But most companies will be willing to lower your monthly bill once you start threatening to cancel it altogether. A quick ten minute phone call to your cable company could save you over $100 a year! Start with these three proven methods to save on your monthly bills.
- Save your stockings
Though I don’t wear stockings often, I feel like every time I have a big interview, I’m frantically running out to CVS the night before to grab a new pair after finding a huge rip in my old pair. Turns out there may be a solution to this problem – the freezer.
Run your stockings under water, place them in a freezer bag, and freeze for 24 hours. Then just thaw them out at room temperature before you wear them. Freezing strengthens the fibers, making them more rip-resistant, so you only have to do this once for each pair.
- Shop at Nordstrom
Here’s another story for you. I was at work a few months ago, and to my horror, noticed the zipper on my jeans broke. Luckily, a co-worker had a stash of safety pins, and I made it through the rest of the day with constant, covert zipper checks.
For a little background, I’m trying to make clothing purchases that value quality over quantity, and I spent quite a bit on these jeans. (That said, they’re one of only 2 pairs of blue jeans that I own). The price only added to my fury that they broke after a year and a half of wear.
I marched over to Nordstrom and asked them to repair the jeans free of charge. They told me that they couldn’t give me free alterations, but they could give me a BRAND NEW pair of jeans to replace my broken pair. Without even asking for a receipt, the sales woman ordered me a new pair of nearly $200 jeans.
I had heard that Nordstrom had a great return policy, but this was unbelievable. While I generally buy my clothes wherever I can get the best sale price, if I can, I try to buy at Nordstrom. They’ll almost always make it right if something you buy there is damaged, no matter how long you’ve had it for. Another pro-tip? Nordstrom will price match mark-downs from any other store.
By the way, this level of customer service is why I’ve consistently been bullish on Nordstrom stock too.
(Note: This post is not sponsored by Nordstrom, I just think they offer a great retail deal).
P.S. One of the articles I looked at for research suggested you “toilet train your cat.” There are some things I would just rather spend money on….