10 Easy Things To Cut Out Of Your Budget So You Can Afford That Trip You’ve Been Dreaming About
I’m a thrifty human being. Ask my mother and she’ll kindly label me “cheapskate.” Whatever. Realistically, I just like to know that if for some reason I needed to fly across the world, I’d be able to do so. Who knows, maybe Tom Cruise needs help saving the world in yet another Mission Impossible. Perhaps Food Network needs a corespondent who is nomadic with a hearty appetite. Or what if the mice that are oh-so-kindly invading my apartment actually take it over completely and kick me to the curb? Do you now see the importance of having a little $$$ in the bank?
In my state of frugality, I’ve really learned how to live large without receiving checks the size of Rockefeller Center. I do this because some things are just silly to spend money on. Don’t even get me started on the $20 salads that grace every NYC bistro menu. Is that kale crafted by cupids? I think not.
Now, this little aspect of my personality has its perks — not only does it help my father dearest worry less, but it lets me say YAHOO every now and then. This week, I bought tickets to Barcelona for this fall. Barcelona!! You had better believe I’ll be sipping sangria and dancing through those cobblestone streets without a care in the world.
Before you say, “man, I wish I could do that,” let me stop you. You CAN do that. Anyone can travel, and while I absolutely squealed out of nervousness when I purchased my non-refundable tickets, I plan on really exploring this beautiful world we live in while I’m young. (People keep telling me that I will get older eventually, I’m not sure I believe them.) So before you go wishing for trips - or other rad things you “wish” you could do/have - consider cutting back some super simple parts of life.
Maybe it’s because I live in the greatest city in the world (translation, NYC) but these pesky yellow automobiles are everywhere. And they have convinced the general public that they are necessary! HA! What a crock! If you’re a frequent user, spend a month walking or taking the subway and see how much you save.
Ah yes, my Achilles heal. Thank the good Lord above, I have found the espresso machine in our office building and buy coffee, at most once a week. It’s actually getting to be a biweekly thing — if you went to high school with me, you’re in shock. 9/10 offices have a free coffee option, use it! If you need to bring your own creamer in, by all means, you’ll save bank!!
I suggest a little half & half with a squirt of honey — yum yum yum.
3. Food delivery
Speaking of unnecessary grub change, the amount of money people spend on overpriced food is ridiculous. Overpriced food that they don't have to leave their house for. Between delivery fees, tips, and the actual cost of food, you’ll be spending a pretty penny.
Go grocery shopping (need a list, I gotchu) and have yummy food ready to be prepared at home. This doesn't mean you have to go all Iron Chef on your kitchen each night, some recipes are super simple while being delicious.
Side note, if you’re a New Yorker, your neighborhood bodega may not be your best option — I’m a TJ’s gal myself.
4. Name brand clothing
OK, sure, sometimes you need to make the plunge and get something nice that’ll last you years. I did that with my Sorel snow boots and my winter puffer coat from Nordstrom. The good news is, those will last me a LONG time.
Everyday wear on the other hand, does not need to be a “look at this awesome black t-shirt I got for $90” type of situation. Go to Target, Old Navy, and your local thrift store. Don’t buy clothes every month. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a closet so I have very little space, but it really is a beautiful thing to have a smaller wardrobe.
It is infuriating how much a stinking cocktail costs, especially in cities. Gin & tonic is not a trendy phenomenon, pretty sure it’s a fairly established concept.
Even if you have a happy hour watering hole with cheap brews, calculating how much money you spend a month may be a good reality check. Not buying a lot of alcohol out does not mean you can’t get your Friday on, just consider an alternative. Buying your own booze at the grocery store and making cocktails yourself is super easy and way more affordable. If you have a particularly enthusiastic office clan or friend group, take turns tending bar.
6. Gym memberships
Yes, bougie gyms and cool studio membership so are neat. I personally love the ability to take a ton of athletic classes — but as a young person who is not at a stage in life where personal training is necessary due to a health issue or need for accountability, my $10/month Planet Fitness membership will do just fine. Health is wealth, it doesn't take all your wealth.
7. Lunches out
Back to the crisis of the overpriced salad—the average New Yorker spends $14 on lunch each weekday. COME ON. That’s money I can spend on churros while dancing around Spain. And meal prep is a beautiful time of routine. Just do it, ok?
8. Full-priced entertainment
I love how New York City has free entertainment literally every day. And if it ain’t free, you can get a solid deal. I’m talking Broadway shows, GroupOn steals, and simply spending time walking around, soaking up the beauty of where you are. This applies to any city you’re in — set an entertainment budget and stick to it!
9. Beauty extras
While I love a gal with nails to die for, it’s something you can learn to do at home (or, be a plain Jane like yours truly and keep em clear and cut).
Haircuts are another crazy expense. But there are options!! You don’t need to sip champagne while you’re getting a trim! Find a place that isn’t crazy expensive, though maybe spend more than a school? If you have a friend that can cut hair, you’ve really scored.
Man alive!! Do you know how much people spend on laundry?! Crazy amounts! There are so many ways to get laundry done without going broke. Look for an apartment building that has a washer and dryer in the building. Even if it’s in the basement and takes quarters, you can make it happen. Or just suck it up and head to the laundromat. I promise, sitting and doing laundry for 90 minutes isn’t going to kill you. Bring a book, make it an outing, but for the love of sangria on a summer evening, don’t send out your laundry again.
Here's to your next vacation, may you get there sooner than you ever thought possible!