The subject of money can be a really tense one, and I get it. I’ve been in the mindset a couple of times over the years where the idea of money was scary, and it took me a long time to get out of it. As an entrepreneur and a small business owner, the unknown has partially been the best AND the most anxiety-inducing part of running my business. It’s a double-edged sword.
It really wasn’t until I started paying attention to my attitude about money that my mindset changed from one of scarcity to freedom, and I’ll never, ever turn back. One of the biggest things that did it for me, though? Optimizing my savings and focusing on spending with more intention instead of mindlessness.
If you’re reading this, you know what I mean when I talk about fear around money. It’s something that we’re so conditioned to worry about (especially as women), and we shouldn’t have to! Instead, we should look for little ways to make life and money work for us. Are you in? Here are 10 of my favorite simple ways to save more money:
01. Budget, budget, budget!
The idea of budgeting is really not the sexiest way to talk about money, but man, is it valuable. Take a couple of hours to sit down, pull your bank statements, and pay some big attention to where your money has been going. If you’re anything like I was when I started *actually* paying attention to my cash flow, you’re going to be really shocked by how much money you’re spending on things like… coffee. (Whoops.)
Once you’ve identified your main areas of spending, it’s a little easier to see where you can really be saving some $$$. We’re a big fan of the 50-30-20 model in the Kutcher household, which means that you’re spending 50% of your income on needs (mortgage, groceries, health insurance, etc)., 30% on fun things (eating out, shopping, weird Amazon purchases), and 20% on your future (liquid savings, retirement accounts, investments).
It might seem complicated, but it’s really not. By focusing on your spending, you can optimize your savings. And then, you can focus on things like planning trips to Bali and retiring by 40. (I mean, in a dream world!) Basically, you can run your life from a spreadsheet. It’s kinda the best!
02. Dig into your email list
One of the biggest game changers in my own business — and the #1 thing I recommend to every entrepreneur I know — is building a fire email list. Take advantage of that list of yours, my friend! When you focus in on and stoke the fire of those people who have cared enough to sign up for your email list, you can have a gold mine on your hands.
If you haven’t been sending emails to your list, there’s never been a better time. Your email list is a built-in way to market your product, share your skills, and communicate with your customers. For FREE. Get in on that right now, my friend. It’s a way more valuable way to spend your time, and studies show that for every $1 spent on email marketing, you get about a $40 return. BOO-YAH.
03. Pay attention to the lil’ things
Have you ever signed up for a free trial and then just, like, forgot to cancel it? (Hi… story of my life.)
Here’s the thing: there are probably so. many. teeny. tiny things popping up in your bank statements that you’re not even aware of. From app charges to free trials that you forgot to cancel to subscriptions that you don’t even use, those little things can add up!
Really, it all boils down to being honest with yourself. Are you REALLY using Hulu, Disney+, Netflix, HBOGo, AND Amazon Video? Probably not. Every time you notice a little charge for something that you know you’re not using, cancel it. You’ll be shocked by all of your extra moolah.
04. Make some calls
I remember someone telling me a while ago that you could straight up CALL businesses and get them to lower your monthly payments, and I did not believe ‘em. That sounded crazy to me! But, that someone was correct.
You’d be shocked at the interest rates you can lower and the costs you can cut by simply making a call to the provider. Try it with everything from your credit card companies to your cell phone and cable companies, and put a little bit of free money back in your pocket! By just asking for a lowered interest rate or some help with lowering your payments, you might just get it. That, my friend, is worth the try.
05. Market for free
You might *think* that you need to be spending big money on things like ads to make a difference in your business, but you don’t! At least not always. There are so many marketing powerhouses on the internet that are easy to forget about, but forgetting about them leads to losing BIG bucks.
Hone in on digital strategies with platforms like Pinterest and drive traffic to your site or biz to help you rake in the cash. You don’t need to buy ad space, and you don’t need to sponsor your Instagram content, okay? Just take advantage of the incredible tools that are already there for you.
06. Look into buying refurbished equipment
In today’s technology-driven world, it seems like there is ALWAYS something new you need. From new computer monitors and new iPhone models to beautiful camera lenses (my kryptonite) and touch bar laptops, it’s easy to get sucked into the buy-buy-buy mindset. But, even though buying new things in the name of business is fun and tempting, it’s usually not at all necessary.
If you’re in the market for a new laptop or camera, back away from the brand new models and consider buying used or refurbished ones. You can buy certified, pre-owned models directly from the manufacturer (does it sound like I’m talking about cars?! I’m not), and you’re guaranteed that they’re in tip-top shape. I’d also recommend checking out Craigslist or FB Marketplace. You never know what you might find!
07. Make online shopping harder
Okay, this is a simple tip — but one that has pretty much changed my life. Girl, take your credit card info OFF of your computer! Man, there is nothing more convenient than loading up your Madewell or Sephora cart and then auto-filling in that credit card number of yours. It’s mindless and easy, right?
Which means it’s not good for your wallet.
It might be a tad painful, but log into those computer settings for me and clear out those card numbers, okay? It’ll help you in the long run, I promise. Then, the next time you’re ready to spontaneously buy a vitamin C serum, some new sweatpants, AND some new sneakers, you’ll have to actually dig around for your card info. If you’re anything like me, you might just… not want to. It’ll save you some bucks out of pure laziness.
08. Optimize your home office
Phew, who else has been hypnotized by the thought of a beautiful co-working space? They’re beautiful and clean and full of free coffee… but they can also be nice and pricey. Instead of paying for an office space that you don’t need, make your home office a place that you enjoy being in.
Organize your area, set up a space solely for you and your business, and create a workplace that you genuinely enjoy being in. You might spend a couple of bucks in the meantime to build a space that works for you, but saving hundreds of dollars a month in co-working costs and coffee shop bills is worth it.
09. Pay down high-interest debt
Credit card debt is, like, kinda the worst debt ever. It’s REALLY easy to rack up, and it’s REALLY hard to pay down. And the interest rates are NO bueno. The thing is, by not paying down your debt, you’re spending more than you realize. That interest compounds over and over again, and typically does so until you’re standing in it up to your knees.
This might seem counterintuitive to the rest of my advice, but put a pin on your actual money saving while you’re paying down debt as fast as you can. Make sure you have enough set aside for an emergency, but then focus deep on paying off high-interest things like that American Express card. Once you’re debt-free, you can save without knowing that you’re bleeding from the other side. Win, win.
10. Educate yourself
Y’all know I LOVE learning from other people, but I would have never guessed that money would be on my list of things that I enjoyed learning about. But, thanks to all sorts of fantastic podcast episodes and books, I’m now borderline fascinated by anything and everything finance.
I encourage you to get educated on all things money + investing + saving + debt payoff by reading any money books and listening to any finance podcasts you can get your hands on. You’ll be freakin’ fascinated, and so pumped to optimize your financial life in every way you can. Saving money and getting smarter? Yes, please!