- Always OVER estimate your expenses and UNDER estimate your income.
- If you can afford to share things you have, from food to living space to appliances, try to do so. What goes around comes around when it's between close friends, soon enough, you'll find your friends doing the same, and everybody benefits.
- Have a professional shopper go through your closet before you hit the mall. They will help you assess what you already have and what timeless items you can invest in to create more looks from those you already have. There are services that do this (e.g. Visual Therapy in NYC and TimePros in Los Angeles). Remember that this service can cost a pretty penny. Don't use this method unless you have a tendency to make $250 - $400 shopping trips!
- Have a hobby? Match your funds. One important habit for saving is if you have a hobby, such as model airplanes, scrapbooking, dirt biking, scuba diving, etc., set a hard and fast rule that whatever you allow yourself to spend on your hobby, you match those funds to your savings. For example, if you buy yourself a $45 pair of riding gloves, another $45 goes to your savings. Serious about saving? Try doubling your matched funds! These savings plans will do two things: Save money regularly and quickly, and really show you how much you are spending on your hobby, when it costs you twice as much.
- If you receive unexpected cash, put all or most of it into your savings, but continue to set aside your regularly scheduled amount as well. You’ll reach your savings goals sooner.
- If you vacation normally, use the web to search for affordable vacation deals instead of paying full retail price. Some sites offer very discounted vacations by partnering with resorts across the country. Essentially, you are required to go on a 90 minute sales-pitch to buy a timeshare at the resort, and in exchange you receive an extra cheap luxury vacation and often freebies like theme park tickets, gas, or dinner certificates.
- Make purchases with paper money, not exact change, and always save the change. Use a piggy bank or jar for your coins. Coins and change may look insignificant but when accumulated over time they can help you save. Some banks now offer free coin counting machines. When you redeem your coins, ask to be paid by check so you won't be tempted to spend your newfound cash.