Here’s How to Spring-Clean Your Finances (and Save Up to $300 This Month)
Oops, your “treat yo’self” philosophy turned into a “treated yo’self too much” overdraft fee. We feel you: Trying to curb your spending habits in this city is like trying to minimize your oxygen use. But it’s actually a lot easier than you'd think. Here are a few no-brainer tips to help you save a bundle this month.
Make Coffee at Home
Deep down, you know your addiction to Kyoto cold brew is a problem (financially, anyway). And while we'd never ask you to give it up entirely, caffeinating at home even a few days a week saves you a lot more than you think. If you trade $25 a week on to-go cups for $16-ish a month on quality beans (a single 12-ounce bag will get you about 34 cups), that’s about $80 a month.
Auto payments: Simultaneously the most convenient thing ever and also the bane of our existence. Take a hard look at your monthly and yearly dues. Did you use only five out of ten of your Classpass sessions last month? Time to downgrade. (You can always supplement with a video at home.) How often did you really use those Amazon Prime benefits? Got a friend who wants to share her HBO Now password? After scanning our finances and taking our own advice, we saved about $60 in sneaky payments.
Break Up with Your Inner Fast Foodie
Yes, Seamless might be a New Yorker’s best friend, but spend just a couple hours a week on lunch prep and you’ll save a ton (in both money and calories, if that matters to you). Say you’re shelling out $70 a week ($14 per lunch): Spend half that at Trader Joe’s, whip up a one-pot meal on Sunday and Wednesday, and say hello to an extra $140 by the end of the month.
If you're not using your weekly trips to the drugstore as an opportunity to save, it is time you sign yourself up—and we mean really sign up, not just take the card home and forget to actually register it. Rite Aid’s Plenti card, for example, lets you rack up points to use toward other partners like AT&T, Macy’s or Hulu. CVS’s ExtraCare rewards card comes with weekly deals (like $5 off a $15 purchase) and 2 percent back on almost everything. Assuming you buy things like soap and paper towels regularly, expect to save at least $10 per month.
Speaking of Coupons…
Stating the obvious here, but you don’t need to be a crazy coupon lady to use coupons to your advantage. Find them online at Coupons, Redplum, P&Geveryday and RetailMeNot. Use Google Chrome? Install the Honey extension, which automatically finds the best coupon code available. That’s $20 more in your pocket.
Bonus: Party Like It’s Your Birthday
Have a birthday this month? Well now, it looks like you’re a great candidate for some free stuff. Use our guide to free birthday things to check out the full list.