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10 Ways to Save Money and Improve Your Life

If you’re one of the 69 million Americans in debt, if you’re saving for a vacation, or if you simply want to improve your life by spending less, you’ve come to the right place.

No judgements or scolding here.

Because cutting back doesn’t have to be shameful and hard. In fact, it can be fun! That’s why I’ve put together a different kind of list. If you’re in debt, the last thing you need is more stress. You need more happy!

That’s right. This list is life affirming. Don’t feel down about reeling in your spending. You can have a lot of fun doing it while gaining in other areas. Check out these 10 Ways to Save Money and Improve Your Life.

Ditch cable.

If you’re still paying hundreds of dollars a month for cable, WAKE UP. I put this at the top of the list because it’s an easy no-brainer. Cable packages often start low but sneakily creep into the $200-$300/month range very quickly, and with the affordable alternatives out there, there’s really no reason to keep it. Opt for Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, the list goes on, and they’re all more affordable than traditional cable. Have an Amazon Prime membership? Watch their streaming service at no extra cost! Whatever you do, cancel that cable plan today.

2. Consolidate your content.

This is the perfect followup to #1 because it’s easy to get trigger happy with all the low-cost content options out there. First are the aforementioned tv/movie streaming services and then some. Next, you’ve got music content services like Spotify, Pandora, and Itunes. Don’t forget the written content subscriptions to platforms like Medium and the Wall Street Journal. From there, endless apps have subscriptions for everything from meditation to fitness, and you may not even realize how many you’re hooked into. So, make a list of all the content services and apps you currently pay. Those $5 and $10/month subscriptions can really add up. Consolidate and eliminate what you don’t use and you’ll be surprised how much you can save.

3. Read more!

Don’t fret about deleting your apps and cancelling your subscriptions. Read more instead! This isn’t just a money-saving hack — it’s a life hack — and you can thank me later. Before you buy from Amazon, look for prices at Half Price Books. If you’re lucky enough to have a store near you, check out this place writhe with cool vibes and a great way to spend an afternoon. Plus, their prices are insane. You should also sign up for BookBub’s email list. They send out weekly deals for eBooks that are ridiculously cheap.

4. Buy a French press with a milk frother.

I’m not going to tell you to stop your daily coffee shop habit. That financial advice may be sound, but some of us want that store-bought, frothy latte. It makes us feel good, and we won’t apologize for it! To save money and still get the awesome latte, buy a French press. Some claim it’s the best way to make coffee: strong, rich, and flavorful. You’ll also end up using less coffee, which will save you. Get your hands on a milk frother too to get that delicious foamy goodness and say goodbye to the coffee shop forever. Depending on your habit, this investment could pay off in two weeks or less.

5. Buy gifts at Michael’s.

You might not have thought to go to a crafts store for gifts, but Michael’s is a great place to find stuff for kids and adults alike. They regularly email coupons with deep discounts; the best ones give 50% off any item in the store. You can make out with a children’s gift for about $5 and something nice for a friend for around double that. Candles, frames, potted plants, this place is teeming with gifts! And who doesn’t love going to Michael’s?

6. Switch to an all-natural beauty regimen.

Switching to all-natural beauty won’t just save you money; it will no doubt improve your health. If you take a good look at the ingredient lists of your shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, and body scrub, you’ll probably find some surprising chemicals. If that’s not enough to convince you to go the natural route, your wallet should be. You can replace exfoliating scrub with baking soda, known to do wonders for the skin. Moisturize with coconut oil. You can even condition your hair with apple cider vinegar! Do some research and try the all-natural beauty path. Your bank account and your skin will improve.

7. Join the Buy Nothing Project.

The Buy Nothing Project is an amazing worldwide movement of localized giving that’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s based on the idea that if we gift or share what we already have, we can buy nothing (well, almost nothing). Join a Buy Nothing group in your area and find what you’re looking for… for nothing! If there’s not already a chapter in your neighborhood, you can start one, and you’ll love the sense of community you gain from the experience.

8. Check the back of the store.

Most grocery stores, even the fancier health food stores (though I cannot verify if Whole Foods does this at every location), have a little spot in the back where they put heavily discounted items. Some are damaged containers or inventory overflow, and it can admittedly be a hit-or-miss situation. But sometimes, these little back areas are absolute treasure troves. I once picked up an $11 mascara for $2. If you aren’t sure where it is, don’t be shy. Ask the staff and start digging!

9. Buy a water filter

Stop buying bottled water. Stop buying jugs of water. Just stop it. It’s terrible for the earth, it’s bad for your health, and you’re wasting money. Get a good water filter like this one by Brita and a stainless steel water bottle. This bottle by Yeti is a bit on the expensive side, but like the French press hack, this will pay for itself in no time.

10. Download a budgeting app.

Now, I know we said to downsize when it comes to paid apps, but there are a few incredible budgeting apps out there that will really help you get a handle on your finances. The top three are Mint, Acorns, and You Need a Budget (YNAB). For many of us, it’s hard to reign in our spending simply because we don’t really know how or where we spend. With customized alerts and easy-to-use platforms, these apps will help you take control of your financial situation and get out of debt fast.

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