We all have a considerable amount of competing financial priorities. We know we should be buying less and saving more, but sometimes it’s hard to put things in perspective.
I talked to 10 different female financial experts and asked them to share their favorite money-saving tips specifically for women. I’ve included their advice below, as well as a tip of my own, and I hope it helps get you started on your path to financial wellness.
Think About Purchases in Terms of Your Values
Miranda Marquit, an award-winning financial writer, told me, “I like to stop and consider whether or not an expenditure makes sense in terms of my values, priorities and goals.” She went on to say, “I’ve decided not to spend just by taking the time to reflect on whether or not a purchase helps me reach a goal or meshes with my priorities.”
Marquit definitely has a point. As women, we’re constantly bombarded by marketing encouraging us to buy, buy and buy some more. We can’t even scroll through a Facebook feed without seeing ads for products that were handpicked for us to see.
That’s why it’s important, as Marquit said, to identify your priorities. If your priority is retiring early or traveling more, make sure you’re not getting tempted by a sale at your favorite store. Instead, stop and remind yourself of where you actually want your money to go.
Don’t Be Afraid to Just Ask
I absolutely love to ask for a deal, much to my husband’s embarrassment. Still, even he can’t argue at some of the great deals I get just because I spoke up!
Bobbi Rebell, author of the book “How to be a Financial Grownup,” agrees. She told me, “My favorite thing that I do is ASK. I ask for discounts on everything.” Ah, Bobbi is a woman after my own heart!
She cautions, though, by adding, “But ask the right way and use the salesperson’s name. If it is in my neighborhood, I ask ‘Do you give a discount for local residents?’ It often gets a smile and 10 percent.”
Also, Rebell says to “always ask with a smile and always give a big thank you.”
Buy High-Quality Clothes on a Discount
In my college days, I used to scour the racks at Forever 21 looking for absolute rock-bottom prices on clothes. Now that I’m a mom and a professional, I really want high-quality clothing that lasts long – without paying the high-quality prices.
Holly Johnson, a frugal living expert and the co-author of the book “Zero Down Your Debt,” is the same way. She tells me, “I like buying used name-brand clothes via consignment stores. That way, I get the quality brands that I love without having to pay full price.”
Kayla Sloan, a financial writer and blogger, agrees. She says, “You don’t have to give up shopping completely in order to reach your savings goals. Instead, try shopping used at thrift stores and on websites like thredUP or Poshmark to get high-quality, name-brand or designer clothes for less.” She went on to say, “It’s kind of like having your cake and eating it, too!”
Like Sloan, I also enjoy shopping at thredUP and Poshmark. I’ve purchased extremely nice clothes, including kids’ clothes, on those sites. Just recently, I bought a beautiful pair of Kate Spade flats for 80% off the retail price. You can’t go wrong with that!
Think of Saving Money in a New Way
There is so much psychology behind spending and saving. The way we use our money goes far beyond dollars and cents. Our habits are rooted in our culture, our upbringing and the current societal norms. However, if you think about saving money in a new way, you can often improve your financial situation.
Lauren Bowling, creator of the personal finance blog FinancialBestLife, has a unique and effective way to think about saving money. She says, “I like to think of my savings goals in terms of negative numbers. So if I’m trying to save $1,000, it’s -$1,000, and if I save a $100, then it becomes -$900 instead of +100.”
The reason this works for her, she says, is because “after paying off debt, I find the psychology behind ‘racing to get to zero’ more compelling than trying to save ASAP.”
Emily Guy Birken, author of “End Financial Stress Now,” also encourages women to look at saving from a new perspective. She says, “We tend to think of saving money as deprivation. As in, ‘I have to cut out the things I love to save money.’” However, she says women might save more if we, instead, emulate the world of decluttering. People who declutter get rid of what they don’t like before ever considering getting rid of their grandmother’s china. Guy Birken says we can apply this same concept to money.
She says, “Identify the things you can’t live without, and the things you truly wouldn’t miss. Start by cutting the easy stuff, and work your way up to more difficult expenses if you need to save more money.” For example, it might be easier to cut the cable than it is to let go of your cherished weekly yoga class.
Look Around Your House
Sometimes even the simplest changes at home can really help improve your bottom line and save you money on your monthly expenses.
Mindy Jensen, the community manager for , an 800,000-member real estate investing site, suggests buying LED light bulbs, which can be “under $5 (depending on the size/style) and last for decades. Plus, they use a fraction of the electricity that an incandescent bulb would, so you pay a bit more upfront, but save every month after.”
Jensen is also a huge fan of DIY projects. She encourages women to try their hand at fixing minor issues around the house by watching YouTube videos. When in doubt, partner with a friend or family member and ask them to help you.
As a first-time homebuyer, I absolutely appreciate her advice. Buying a simple tool for $40 to unclog a stubborn toilet recently saved us a $150 visit from a plumber. Sometimes, you have to just get the guts to try something (within reason) to see if you can save money by doing it yourself.
Take 5 Minutes to Search for Discount Codes
Zina Kumok, an accomplished blogger and financial writer, told me, “My favorite savings tip is to always look for a discount code before you buy something online. It’s rare that you can’t find a quick 10 – 20% if you look hard enough. Doing this regularly can save you hundreds each year!”
I agree with Kumok. In fact, I have the Honey App installed on my browser. This extension searches for coupon codes for whatever website you’re using to shop. I’ve had great luck using it on Amazon, too, because sometimes it shows you sellers with lower prices (they just may not be shipping Prime, for example).
Don’t Blow Your Windfalls
Have you ever received a bonus at work? What about an inheritance or a refund you weren’t expecting? Natalie Bacon, a financial blogger and certified financial planner, says, “My favorite money-saving tip is to earmark windfalls and raises for specific financial goals, such as saving for an emergency fund or paying off debt.”
I agree. While it might be exciting in the moment to receive a big check, try to use it in a smart way to better your financial life long term.
Be Aware and Write It Down
Lastly, saving money really comes down to awareness. At the end of the day, you can’t save money if you aren’t paying attention to your wallet, your habits and your goals. Emilie Burke the personal finance blogger behind Burke Does, agrees. She says, “The best way to save money is to be conscious of how you’re spending money. When you write down every way you spend money before you do it (whether it’s an app on your phone or pen and paper), you will be forced to face the realities of your spending behaviors.”
And, I’ll end with a financial tip of my own, one that I’ve shared with thousands of women over the past few years on my personal finance blog: Get used to the word “no.”
Every single day, I have to tell myself no. That might be as big as not buying a pair of new $100 fall boots or as simple as not putting my favorite cookie in the grocery cart. I practice this word “no” a lot because managing money takes discipline. I don’t tell myself “no” when it comes to every purchase every day. I just exercise the muscle to keep myself in check. That way, I’m always on top of my spending patterns.
Ultimately, if you want to be better about saving money, look no further than some of the tips mentioned above. Even though we have a lot of different to-do lists and expenses, there is absolutely room in all of our lives to be financially savvy and confident. Just start with some of the tips above, and go from there.
What are some of the best money-saving tips you’ve ever heard? Let us know in the comments below!
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