It’s pretty easy to be wasteful, and sometimes it’s important to take a step back and ensure you’re getting the most out of your belongings, your paycheck, and your life! A great way to do so is implement a few “thrifty” habits into your daily routine. These habits will not only help you save a little in the short-term, but will also make you more grateful and less wasteful in the long term! And, it’s not hard to be more thrifty than you were yesterday! Here are a few tips to get started.
Just say no!
This one’s easy to say but harder to do. Practice saying “no!” to activities that cost a lot of money, or cost too much between paychecks. With friends at different salary levels and budgets, it is easy for one friend to plan a night out that’s far from budget-friendly. Instead of saying yes and stretching your paycheck too thin, practice saying no! Some alternatives:
- Have some alone time: spend a night in, rent your favorite movie, and cook dinner
- Suggest a cheaper alternate activity (dinner at your apartment, movie night, game night!)
- Budget your activities by planning your “No’s” so you can say “Yes” to an important activity later on
- Be up front with your friends and let them know the activity they’ve planned is a little out of budget for you
While saying No isn’t always fun, it’s a good practice to keep your budget under control without sacrificing friendships!
Reuse, reuse, reuse, recycle!
We have heard our parents and grandparents say it over again: Reuse! Although I may have laughed when my grandparents re-used tin foil before recycling it, the point is an important one. When you can, reuse what you have instead of replacing it! Think about average kitchen items like plastic sandwich bags, plastic grocery bags, or wrapping like foil! We all treat those items with waste, for the most part, throwing them away before getting the most out of them. Some ideas to help encourage you to reuse, reuse, reuse before recycling:
- Use the same sandwich bag for dry snacks each day for a week (i.e. pack your trail mix in one sandwich bag, then bring it home to pack tomorrow’s trail mix!)
- Instead of throwing away plastic grocery bags, save them for small trash cans, travel bags, and doggie bags
- Keep a roll of tin foil and reuse it for the next meal! If it’s very dirty or unusable, be sure to recycle
- Switch from using cotton wipes for face wash to using a washcloth
Not only will reusing save the planet from a bit of harm, it will also save you money as you’ll spend less replacing items!
This goes back to the “reuse” tip! Remember what you have, and don’t replace items until they absolutely need it. For instance, just because you see a fancy or cute toaster at Target doesn’t mean you should buy it when you have a perfectly functional toaster in your apartment at home. Instead of being wasteful with your money, be resourceful:
- For dinner, cook from your pantry, instead of stopping by to pick up take-out
- For a date, ask to raid a friend’s closet
- For a Halloween party costume, check Goodwill or your parents’ attic
- If you need an item or tool for one purpose (i.e. a drink dispenser for a one-time party), borrow it from a friend instead of buying one you won’t use again!
See, being thrifty doesn’t have to be tricky! Implement small changes over time, and your bank account will thank you.