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Pinch those pennies! Easy ways to make the most of your cash
by Katie |  Sep 6, 2012

Everyone wants more money. Unfortunately, making more of it isn't always an option, nor is instantly becoming a millionaire. It can be particularly tricky to live the lifestyle you want when you're just setting out on your own and supporting yourself for the first time. When you can't make any more money, the best way to get some is to save it.

Bet on your budget

Before you can start cutting costs, you should know where you can cut them from. This is why it's important to create a budget. Whether you use an Excel spreadsheet or a piece of scrap paper, you should have written down somewhere how much you make each month and how much you have to pay in rent, bills and other necessary costs. That way, you'll know how much left over you have to spend on you! (And save, of course). Set up a direct deposit that takes 15 percent out of every paycheck and puts it into a retirement fund and 5 percent in savings. Boom!

Don't dump your duds

If you're like many 20-something women, a good portion of your income goes toward fashion and your overall look, whether you want it to or not. If you're spending $100 on a certain trend and then it goes out of style or you don't like it anymore, don't dump it. Instead, bring it to a consignment shop, where they will sell it and give you a portion of the profit. You could also donate clothes to Goodwill and get a tax deduction next year!

Savor and save

You love your coffee shop community, but do you love how much it costs you each year? If you buy a latte or coffee from Starbucks or another coffee shop on your way to work every day, you are spending between $700 and $1,000 on your caffeine fix every year! That's not even counting the chai soy lattes you treat yourself to on weekends. Make your own coffee at home and save as much as $900 a year. Now THAT could buy you a pretty good drink...

The same goes for lunch. You may feel too rushed in the morning to make your own lunch, or maybe you're literally cuisinologically impaired (okay fine, you caught me, I made that up...). But when you spend between $6 and $10 on lunch every day, you're spending about $2,000 a year on food. Add another few hundred to that if you order out all the time for dinner.

Invest in a super basic cookbook and eat leftovers or simple sandwiches and salads for lunch, instead. You might even find these are healthier and tastier options!

Clipping coupons: it's not just for Grandma

Coupons may seem like something only your grandmother would use, but think about it - it's like free money! You can clip them out of the newspaper to use at the grocery, but there are also coupons available for online purchases (which probably make up a majority of your spending). First, figure out what you want, then type in "coupons for ____" into Google. This usually pulls up some good codes you can use when you check out online for free shipping or discounts on the item you were going to buy anyway!

Once you cut the price of other costs in your life, you'll have more money to spend on on other things to make you happy. Spa day, anyone? 

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