My Top 10 Ways to Save Money...

... and get out of debt.

I am in no way a professional financier, but I feel like I am pretty good at saving money and I always know where I've spent it... whether I've knowingly overspent or not... ;) Here are a few tips if you are feeling light in the cash area these days.

I've taken my own advice and have been able to save up a nice little nest egg and am looking forward to maybe going on a trip or getting a new iPad here soon, you never know when that rainy day will come!

  1. Figure out the amount that you can take right off the top of your check that you will not miss. For me, this amount has been anywhere from $25.00 to $100.00 a paycheck. Then take that amount and put it into a savings account that you DO NOT TOUCH, every pay period. You can adjust the amount for a couple months until you find the right # that you don't miss, but don't skip this part as it is the most crucial.
  2. If you need help knowing how much money that you have to spend, but do not have a good banking system, you can start by just taking out cash from every paycheck to spend. Make sure it is an amount you can afford and once that is gone, stop! :)
  3. Don't buy clothes that need to be dry-cleaned. I have been able to avoid this cost pretty much my whole life, with the exception of a nice party dress or two, and only stop at the cleaners 2-3 times a year, if that.
  4. Get your "start to the summer" pedicure and then a couple more for the year, but that is it. A random pedicure before a beach vacation is amazing, but they are not necessary in the winter time, etc. Buy a ped-egg, cuticle trimmer, some Sally Hansen Complete polish, and you are good. This is an extravagance that can really add up if you are not careful. This goes for manicures and gel/acrylic nails as well. If someone asks you what you want for your birthday, consider asking for a spa gift certificate!
  5. When shopping for clothes, hit the sales racks first. With the exception of a nice pair of pants, jeans, jackets, and shoes, almost all of my clothes are from TJ Maxx, Steinmart, and even Target. Especially if the items are really trendy, they will only last you a season or two anyways. Get your timeless pieces from an Ann Taylor or Banana Republic type of store and save even more money by creating a versatile wardrobe so those pieces can be worn multiple ways. Buy your dresses, shirts, and fun accessories from more affordable places.
  6. Be knowledgeable about things like APR rates and compound interest. I ended up getting a new car (instead of a used car) last year because of this. For example, a new car that costs $20,000 will only end up costing about $21,000 after paying on it for 4 years at 1% interest. A used car costing $17,000 at 4% interest will cost you about $20,000... so for only 1,000 more dollars, you will have a brand new car and most likely it will be under warranty for at least 4 years. Well worth it!
  7. Don't worry about brands on the stuff that doesn't matter. No, I am not going to buy a watch or a purse from Walmart (I am just being honest), but I will get a pair of silver earrings from there, or my workout shorts, socks, and maybe even a bathing suit. If you save enough money enough times, you will be able to afford that Coach bag you've had your eye on.
  8. Pay off your smallest loans first. If two loans are about the same amount, pay off the one with the higher interest rate. As you pay off #1 loan, take the money that you were spending on that one and add it to the #2 loan payment, and so on. This will increase your payment amount and decrease the amount of time you spend paying off each loan.
  9. Color your own hair. People may disagree with me, but coloring from home is pretty easy if you are only trying to cover gray. I use a semi-permanent color on my own hair and it looks very natural. Highlighting is a little trickier, but find a friend to do it! I have highlighted my sister's hair for 7 years using a cap kit and she gets compliments all the time. The kit is 10 bucks at Walmart versus what can be $150 at some salons. Products are improving and there is no reason you shouldn't at least give it a try. Hair grows back! Right?
  10. But don't get cheap haircuts. Find a stylist you love and close your eyes when the bill comes. Just go every 10-12 weeks, instead of 4-6, if they are super expensive. 
 Regarding Tip #5, using one dress three different ways... From left to right I see baby shower, dinner date, and girls night.

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From Charleston, South Carolina to your computer. I hope you enjoy. :)