Saving Money in the City

City life has its perks. There’s always an endless stream of places to go and fun to be had. But rent is high and the temptation to spend more than you have is constant. If you want to enjoy your time in the city, without coming out broke, consider these tips.

Buy Groceries. It might be difficult to cook in a small kitchen or to even find the time to grocery shop, but it will definitely make your wallet and bank account happier over time. Eating out on a regular basis will drain you of cash fast and could be bad for your health, too. Cooking your meals at home is far less expensive per serving and you’ll also know exactly what you’re eating.  Do your research first, find what grocery stores or markets have the best prices or deals. An added bonus: having to carry your groceries from the store and home will limit how much you buy at a time, saving you even more money. But watch out…

Only Buy What You Need. Yes, this might mean more trips to the store overall, but that’s better than the alternative of buying food that goes bad when you don’t use it fast enough. Have an idea of what you will eat during the week and only purchase the necessary foods and ingredients. Buying in bulk can get you lower prices, but only do this if you have the room and if you are certain you will use it all up! Also, knowing what you will cook and eat ahead of time will help you to avoid those take out urges.

Watch Your Laundry. Whether you have a laundry room in your building or you frequent the Laundromat, doing your wash frequently is an easy way to go through your paycheck. Wear what you can as much as you can before you throw in the towel. Jeans can get a good two or three wears, if not more, before they’ll need a wash. The same goes for pajamas. And, if you work out often, those sweaty clothes are going to pile up in the hamper fast and require a lot of money spent on the washer, dryer, and detergent. After a workout, pull out your drying rack and put it near an open window. Hang your sweaty clothes on it and let them air dry a bit. It won’t get the sweat out but it will refresh them for one more use. You’re just going to sweat in them again. If it saves money, why not?

Reuse Everything. This seems basic but it will save so much money in the long run. Save all the containers you get and reuse them for keeping leftovers fresh or taking lunch to work. This will eliminate the necessity of paper bags that need to be thrown away and purchased again. Also, reuse whatever paper goods you can! No, not toilet paper. But paper towels can be used multiple times before they fall apart, even the cheaper brands. If you’re just wiping up water or crumbs, shake it out over the sink and hang it on the faucet to dry. To save even more money, use cloth dish towels instead of paper towels to clean up spills. Replace paper napkins for cloth napkins. They can be used more than once and reused after washing.

Don’t Spend Mindlessly. It’s easy to pop into Starbucks or a pricey café with appealing coffee art, but don’t. You can buy and brew your own coffee, with better quality beans, at home for a fraction of the cost. Treat yourself once a week—at most—to a gourmet drink and croissant. Also, don’t walk into a clothing store just because. If there’s not something you are specifically looking for and have need for, don’t go! You won’t be able to resist and you will come out with things you don’t really need. If it’s less tempting, look online first and contemplate purchases before making them.

Write Down What You Spend. This way you will be able to really take note of where your money is going. A money journal, much like a food journal, will allow you to see your unnecessary spending and make you feel bad about it. You’ll be able to see what you can cut out and where you can save. It’s also smart to save your receipts to keep track of your bank account and make sure you’re not overdrawing or being charged incorrectly.



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