To kickoff Spring, we’ve asked a member of our eMoneyPool community to be a guest contributor, Ms. Krishna Davenport who is here to share some great savings tips… Thanks Krishna!
The seasons are (finally) starting to change. Flowers are beginning to bloom signaling a rebirth. Why not take a hint from Mother Nature and breathe new life into your finances as well?
1. Try A “No Buy” Month: The first time I learned about this popular method of saving was in The Frugalista Files, a quirky tale of a woman with high taste and high debt to match, and how she paid it off without sacrificing her fabulousness. The concept behind a no-buy month is incredibly simple; you buy your necessities before the month starts and during the no-buy period, skip dining out, avoid buying out the bar and eliminate excessive shopping. In that time you are living on a budget and by the end you should be able to gauge how much you’ve saved by cutting the frivolous spending we all indulge in. What the No Buy month is NOT is a punishment. For example if invited to a dinner where you’re going to have to pay the tip, do so and make a note in your budget book.
PRO-Tip: Host a potluck with your favorite people! You get the excitement of being with friends, while spending little money.
2. Record Your Spending: If there is anything I’ve learned from traveling regularly, and filing T&E reports for reimbursement, it is RECORD EVERYTHING. In my personal life, I use a pretty intricate excel spreadsheet to make sure my family and I keep to our budget. In retrospect, this seems a bit old school when there are so many tools that can help you manage your budget without using a thousand formulas. I tested LevelMoney; while writing this and it was easy to keep track of what I was spending daily and warned me when I was getting close to going over my limit. I might just be able to throw away all those receipts that are ruining my wallet!
3. Meal Planning: This is one of my favorite tips and one that is often overlooked. Taking a few hours during the weekend to shop as well as cooking just lunch for the week, will save you at least $50/week in big cities like New York. If you don’t consider yourself a cook, there are plenty of great recipes on the internet that you can modify to keep your choices fresh, while you ditch the standby salad and grilled chicken. Now go forth and be the next Top Chef and the envy of all your friends and colleagues.
4. Suspend Your Unused Memberships/Paid Subscriptions: We all have them. We sign up for the free 30 days of Spotify, make a million playlist, but make no note of when the thirty days are up, and then end up getting charged for a month of service. If you’re anything like me, you get angry, and just never use the service again. How to combat this? Take a few hours and review your subscriptions, jot down the renewal date, unsubscribe from the ones you don’t use, and utilize the free versions. The $10/month you save using the free versions, can be used at the fun 2 for 1 happy hour.
Pro-Tip: If you haven’t been to your gym in a year, talk to the consultants about a lower plan or suspend for a few months until you get motivated. Many gyms will “suspend” your account for $15/month, so that you are able to turn your membership back on without the initial fees. This smaller monthly fee can rack up a savings of between $35-85/ month.
5. Get your friends to motivate you with a money pool. In many cultures, saving is a group activity. Make it a point to be vocal about your savings goals – whether it’s a wedding, down payment on a house or a professional certification– you can save more money, and do it more quickly by getting the support of friends and family.
eMoneyPool is the perfect space to reach those goals with the ones you love. Setting up pools ranging from $500-1000 to start, will help you reach your goal. One of the best things I did while trying to get capital together for my blog revamp was join a Facebook group of savers who had similar goals. Not only did I save enough to reach my goal, but have been lucky enough to make new friends, share tips, while helping them reach their financial goals.
Krishna Davenport is the founder of Baobab Wellness, a Wellness business that focuses on mind, body and financial wellness for Mothers of Color. When she’s not hosting events to keep your mind, body and wallets balanced, she moonlights as a financial consultant for an Investment Research firm.