Holiday season approacheth, which means food, family, and over-spending. So as part of Operation: Holiday Bank Account Damage Control, we asked you, our readers, to give us your best savings hacks, from buying LaCroix in bulk to using only a few tablespoons of laundry detergent instead of the full cup. Whether you bring an avocado in your purse so you don’t have to pay extra to add it to your takeout salad, or split a Netflix membership between five of your friends — we don’t judge, we just want to save, too!
Ahead, 10 millennial women share their best cheap living hacks for saving on food, transportation, beauty, travel, and everything in between.
Name: AlexisAge: 23Location: San Diego, CASalary: $36,000
“I keep apples, a box of oatmeal, and peanut butter in my desk so I’m not tempted to spend money on food at work. I also avoid buying alcohol with meals out. It can double your bill in no time!
“When I see a good deal on any kind of meat, I buy a bunch of it, so I’ll have plenty until it goes on sale again. I also plan my meals around what produce is on sale at the grocery store. If I have a $20 bill, I will go out of my way not to break it, and when I’m tempted by small purchases I ask myself: ‘Is this worth breaking my $20?’ It almost never is.”
Name: MJAge: 31Location: Pittsburgh, PASalary: $31,000
“I love to use makeup and skincare from high-end stores like Sephora. If it’s something that comes in a squeeze bottle, I cut it in half with kitchen scissors when it’s almost gone. It sounds crazy, but you’d be amazed by how much is still left!”
Name: TaniaAge: 24Location: Washington, D.C.Salary: $46,000
“My office building has a great pay-by-the-pound deli bar, so I bring in a Tupperware of rice from home and just buy a quarter serving of a delicious side to mix in. I save money by bringing my own cheap (and heavy) staple, and buy a light serving of the delicious chicken that’s too complicated for me to bother making!”
Name: SaraAge: 28Location: Santa Rosa, CAIncome: $18/hour
“My husband and I have worked as resident managers for the last three years. This means our rent is free, since we work as on-site employees. Since I also have a full-time job, this allows me to save a significant portion of my income.”
Name: ArielAge: 27Location: Austin, TXSalary: $30,000
“1) Avoid bottled water at all costs! My city has great tap water, but the old piping in my apartment gives it a terrible taste. Instead of wasting money on bottled water, I take a couple of reusable 2L water bottles with me to work, and I fill them up at the filtered water fountain before leaving for the day. Voila! Free clean water and zero plastic waste!
2) Air dry your clothes whenever possible. Dryers eat up a lot of energy and are totally unnecessary, especially if you live in a sunny place. Throw the clothes on a cheap clothes rack outside, and they’ll be just as dry in a couple of hours. And laundry detergent? Most people use way too much! You only need a couple of tablespoons at most, not an entire cup. Reduce your laundry detergent consumption and pocket the savings instead.
3) Think outside the box for cheap date ideas. Take a walk in a park, volunteer at a beach clean-up event, attend a free outdoor concert — there are so many things you can do! Getting coffee or drinks is nice and all, but some of my favorite dates I’ve been on were totally free. Plus, I think they’re a great way to gauge a person’s personality and potential compatibility. I’m an active, outdoorsy person. If I suggest something like taking a hike, and the other person balks at the idea, I know they’re probably not the one for me.”
Name: RachelAge: 23Location: Newport Beach, CASalary: $92,000
“I travel every week for work (both flying and driving), and I hate spending money on bottled water. If I forget a refillable one, I always go to Starbucks and buy a $2 bagel or snack and ask for a water cup instead of paying $3 for a bottle.”
Name: KayeAge: 32Location: San Francisco, CASalary: $215,000 plus approximately $125,000 in stock and bonuses
“1) Sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights to get real time notifications about cheap airfare because I fly internationally every year. I’ve flown to Europe roundtrip for as low as $350 from SF!
2) Learn how to make avocado toast and all the egg dishes you like so you don’t have to go to brunch, wait in line for half an hour, and spend $30 on something that literally takes 10 minutes and $5 to make at home.
3) Costco for cheap gas. And buy LaCroix at Costco — much cheaper at $7 for a 24-pack instead of $6 for 12.
4) Camelcamelcamel.com to get notifications on price drops on Amazon products.
5) Hoard some of the free fruit that your office may provide — I hardly ever buy fruit now.
6) For services that I want to use for just the trial period, I make sure to either turn auto-renew off when I sign up or make a calendar reminder to cancel them.”
Name: DallasAge: 29Location: Dallas, TXSalary: $58,000
“I sell on Mercari to chip away at my medical school debt. I’ve been doing it for about a year, and when I was at my height of selling, I was making $800/month selling stuff from around my house that I’ve accumulated. I literally don’t buy anything new — just go around and list/sell things that I don’t use. It adds up and has been a great way to take some pressure off of me financially.”
Name: NathalieAge: 26Location: Montreal, CanadaSalary: $ 50,000
“I always check for coupons when shopping online, and I pay with a cash-back credit card. I also check tagged Instagram photos of brands to find influencer discounts, which often works!”
Name: BriAge: 29Location: Vancouver, CanadaSalary: $52,000
“Once a week, I challenge myself to cook with whatever I have on hand. It’s a great way to get creative while cooking and use up what’s in my pantry.”
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