You are free not to spend. You’re not obligated to spend money on things you cannot afford. Throwing a BBQ? Make it a potluck. Another friend had a baby? Buy that organic gift set for $19.99 — not the $130 infant swing. It’s okay to not be able to afford something. In fact, we dare we say it’s chic to be frugal. Hip to be strapped. MP Dunleavey, personal finance journalist extraordinaire, shares how she handles talking herself into and out of buying large gifts she can’t afford in“Admitting When You Can’t Afford It.” (via: dailyworth.com) In O Magazine, Tara Weiss shared “25 Ways to Save a Bundle.”
Here are some of our favorite money saving tips below, using some of Tara’s fantastic ideas;
- Use coupons: Use sites like retailmenot.com and our very own cheapskates section for percentages off ALL your purchases in person or online. Only a fool pays full retail. Love couture, but currently on a budget? Join sites like Gilt.com and Hautelook.com for online sample sales from your favorite a list designers. Or join shopittome.com to be notified when your favorite designer goods are on sale. Hit up your local designer resale, vintage, and overstock stores for the best deals.
- Barter, exchange, and barter! I bet your hairstylist may just be open to a freebie if you offer to update her website or babysit her kid. People are usually way more open to exchanges than you may think. Think of what you have to offer (everyone has something!) and offer it up for what you need.
- Free lipstick? Look for freebies, they do exist! For example, mac make up gives you a free lipstick or gloss of your choice in their “Back to Mac” Program when you return 6 empty mac containers for recyling! Also, if you are a performer, photographer, beauty professional, or do anything on air/ publically, you may be eligable for their PPID card which gets you 30% off all mac products! Sign up to get a mac pro card here.
- Cheap travel is aplenty: Spirit Airlines has a $9 fare club! For $39.95 a year membership, you can get the cheapest fares you’ve ever seen ($3 to the Carribean, anyone?!)!
- Budget beauty: Every high end salon and beauty school in your area has a training program where you can get massages, hair color, make up application, waxing, even acupuncture from students (overseen by supervisors) for super duper cheap – if not free! Bumble & Bumble’s Model School gets you incredible color, cut, styling, and blow outs for free. Contact your dream salon, go ahead think big, and ask them if they accept models for training stylists. Confucious says, they do.
- Don’t sacrifice your taste buds: Restaurant.com let’s you buy dining certificates all over the US at a serious discount. Also, look out for your towns local Restaurant Week. Twice a year, in January and June/July in New York City, the priciest restaurants in town offer a three-course lunch for $24.07 (& some even offer dinner for $35). Restaurant Week is a great opportunity to try out a restaurant that may usually be out of your budget, or test some new restaurants with a little less financial risk.
- Recycling pays!: Staples gives you $3 back for each ink cartrdige you bring back in to them, and sites like Gazelle.com will pay you for your old electronics and gadgets! They even pay for shipping!
- Use reward cards: Let your Boyfriend laugh at you when you pull out that CVS discount card, those little points add up to big rewards! It’s not uncommon for us to get a $10 coupon at Duane Reade from using our card, and we can use it to buy two tubes of Tom’s of Maine toothpaste! Other places that offer rewards cards; airlines (we’ve gotten 2 free flights already!), supermarkets, restaurants, and definitely manicurists (many spots get you a free mani after 10 paid ones). They only work if you work ’em, so don’t leave home without them.
- Deals on wheels: Need to bust a move but don’t have the moolah to fork over for a down payment? Consider taking over someone else’s lease. Sites like swapalease.com and leasetrader.com match leaseholders with people who need cars. Pass the credit app, and you are in there like swimwear.
- Let me entertain you: Forget about those $10 per ticket movies at crowded theaters where people yap and smack gum… stick with movies on tv, netflix, and your friends borrowed dvds. Most movies suck anyway, may as well have ’em suck while you are cozy at home. Read your local weekly rag to scout free concerts in the park, and wait on the half off line when hitting a Broadway show. Dying for some new music? Go old school and have your friends make you mix CD’s that you can then trade or giveaway once you’ve downloaded.
Where there is a will to live fabulously on a dime, there is a way!!!