There are a ton of power saving tips out there for those of us looking to meet our financial goals, but what about the not so obvious advice?
Sticking to a budget is as much of a sick mental game as it is a practical life strategy. For Millennials like me who are desperately struggling to climb our way out of debt, we're willing to go the road less traveled. Here are some softer skills to add to your money-saving arsenal to keep you on course.
1. Dress Up
This may seem weird, but you'll notice as you spend less and less money, you're going to start feeling estranged from society -- and at times a little depressed. So at least once a week, put on those heels or that expensive dress shirt, spend extra time on your hair, whatever it is that makes you feel your absolute best. This will help you assert your dominance in the workplace despite your financial disadvantage to help keep you in the game.
2. Drink Soda
No, not all the time! When out with friends at a bar, order soda instead of that fancy cocktail or beer. I'm sure there's some psychological reason why, but nobody likes it when you just order water; it makes you feel awkward and the group feel bad. Soda is still way cheaper than alcohol, most restaurants and bars give you free refills, and it allows you to skimp while still socializing in the group activity.
3. Make A Present Policy
Tell your parents and others to stop buying you "stuff" for birthdays and holidays and instead get you gift certificates to restaurants and bars. Chances are any material item they would get for you, you're not going to like anyway, so you might as well get something you can actually use. Our generation has been proven to spend our time and money on experiences anyway.
4. Prison Food
Have a nonperishable staple food waiting in your cupboard for when you run out of your regular food. Mine is quinoa because it's filling yet still nutritious. I go grocery shopping on Sunday and usually run out of food for meals by Thursday night, which means I have to scrape by for two more days. I make a big batch of quinoa and basically eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My husband and I call this "Prison Food" or "I Feel Like I Did Something Bad Food," but it works!
5. Leave Your Money At Home
*Warning: this is for advanced users.
During the workweek, take any cash, debit or credit cards out of your wallet and leave them at home. This way, you literally can't spend money. At first, it makes you feel pretty vulnerable to be out in the world without any dough, but after a while you get used to it. And in a pinch, you'll be surprised at how willing people are to help you out.
When embarking on the arduous journey of power saving, one of the most important things you can do is acknowledge that you're essentially shifting mindsets to live as if you were in an economic class that is one notch below your current state. The more you can adopt this new "character," as if you were acting in a play, the better you'll do with achieving your financial goals.