Ugh, money. We love it, we hate it, we always want more of it. But when you're a 20-something/30-something just trying to *live*, making an effort to save seems boring, hard, and most importantly: time-consuming.
But it's not! Well, not when you take the lazy-girl route. Here, a list of some small changes that can make some big returns. Because we love you and want you to be able to eat more than ramen when you hit your 60s.
Use your credit card website to shop online
Look, credit cards are awful—but most people have them, most people use them, and if you use them correctly (AKA pay off your balance every month), you can score some sweet points or miles. But the purchases you make every day aren't the only things that can get those points on the up and up. Head to your credit card website and you'll find that they have links to book hotels, vacation packages, and even shop online. If you go through them first, you'll rack up even more points than just placing the purchase on your credit card. You're welcome.
Or use other affiliate sites
MyPoints.com (opens in new tab) and Ebates.com (opens in new tab) work primarily the same way—head to the site, then click the links to the stores where you plan on online shopping. You'll earn points which you can use towards cash back or gift cards. This is pretty much how I finance Christmas. (If you're reading this, family—I AM NOT ASHAMED.)
Play games for money
Forget Candy Crush—head to swagbucks.com (opens in new tab) where you can play mind-numbing games that let you win points, which you can use towards gift cards and PayPal credits. Cha-ching.
Nothing is worse than spending money you thought you had only to find that you have a bill due at the most random time of the month. Make sure to automate all payments to be due at the same time (you can usually change this in your settings online), and make sure to set up a separate account for your savings that automatically pulls from your checking. This way you don't even see it, you don't touch it, and if you use an institution without physical banks, you can often get a better interest rate. (Make money off of your money! That's how the rich do it, you guys.)
Eat out on the cheap
Hey remember that time you spend upwards of $100+ on a measly dinner and HATED yourself? Don't do that anymore. Yes, Groupons and other buy-before-you-eat sites are cool, but our current favorite is ScoutMob (opens in new tab)—which is available in New York, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, LA, Nashville, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and DC. Simply pull up the app when you're out and about, and it'll show you places to eat that they've partnered with. Show the restaurant the app on your phone, and you can score up to 50% of your meal. Put that extra into savings. (Like, now. Do it.)
Google promo codes
This is literally the laziest saving trick we have. Before checking out online, Google search the website you're on with "promo code." From free shipping to percentages off, deals are seriously just...sitting there.
Sign up for email lists
We hate superfluous emails as much as the next person, so this is a two-step process: 1) Make a new email that's geared solely for email list sign-ups 2) Sign up for all the email listings your heart desires (and have them go to that address). Usually you can get 10% off (at least), but you can also search for sales before you online shop to make sure you're getting the best deal. And you can do it from your bed. If that's not the lazy girl's dream…
Saving money on clothes is cool, but it often means searching through racks at a thrift or consignment store for the perfect find—only to realize it has a stain or a ripped seam or is $400 and, like, why are you even buying this then? Head to LikeTwice.com (opens in new tab) and shop online from seriously awesome second-hand stuff. BONUS: if you sign up through a friend (or a friend signs up after you using your referral code), you'll get a credit. That, combined with your first-time discount of 40% means you can save some serious moolah. I bought a TopShop satin dress (retail price: $96) for $1. A WHOLE DOLLAR.
Save on things you already buy
If you buy lattes at Starbucks like it's your job (no judgment) or are as familiar with your local Bed, Bath & Beyond as Abbi in Broad City (sans special handshakes), get the most bang for your buck by scoring gift cards online to use towards your purchases. Head to GiftCardGranny.com (opens in new tab) or any other gift card resell websites to get gift cards or e-gift codes at a discount.
Scare yourself…by automatically tracking your expenses
If nothing else works, go for the scare tactic. Seriously, nothing makes you rethink your savings plan than seeing all of your money, month after month, go towards a gym membership you never use, cable you never watch, and clothes you definitely don't need. Sign up for Mint.com (opens in new tab) so its graphs and push-up notifications will make you look like a hoarder with a caffeine or alcohol problem you'll probably pay for years down the line. You'll be "cured" in no time. (At least, maybe you'll be pressured to put more into that 401K to balance it all out.)
You should also check out:
The 14 Biggest Career Mistakes Women Make in Their 20s (opens in new tab)
7 Ways to Save Money on Taxes (opens in new tab)
Samantha Leal is the Deputy Editor at Well+Good, where she spends most of her day thinking of new ideas across platforms, bringing on new writers, overseeing the day-to-day of the website, and working with the awesome team to produce the best stories and packages. Before W+G, she was the Senior Web Editor for Marie Claire and the Deputy Editor for Latina.com, with bylines all over the internet. Graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a minor in African history, she’s written everything from travel guides to political op-eds to wine explainers (currently enrolled in the WSET program) to celebrity profiles. Find her online pretty much everywhere @samanthajoleal.
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