Deals and Steals

Small hacks to score big savings

Money, money, money! It’s time to start taking control of yours. We sat down with Farnoosh Torabi, host of the popular financial podcast So Money, to find out how to save cash and get the best bang for your buck. Turns out good deals don’t only happen on Black Friday.

FINDING DEALS

Who doesn’t like to save money? There are many ways to find bargains on food, drinks, clothes, and more. Start by reaching out to people you know. “Ask friends and family and post on Facebook when you need something. You never know who has what you need,” says Torabi. Looking for some interesting sources? Look no further:

  • HappyHourFinder: Download this free app and explore cheap drink deals closest to you!
  • Groupon: Sign up to get connected with local merchants and get deals on activities, travel, goods, and more. You can save up to $100 a week on what you do every day!
  • Gilt City: Get the inside scoop on deals for entertainment, dining, and activities around the country.
  • RetailMeNot: “For clothing discounts, I like using the app RetailMeNot. Using your phone’s GPS, it sometimes detects the store you’re in and will send you a push notification if there is a special discount or coupon code you can use,” says Torabi.
  • GoodShop.com: This automatic coupon finder can help you save time, money and effort when shopping online.
  • Coupons.com: Start clipping free grocery coupons and discounts online.
  • Craigslist Freebies: “I’m gonna pop some tags,” only got $0 in my pocket. That’s right–Craigslist users give out stuff they no longer want!
  • Freecycle.org: You can give and get free stuff in your local community.

It’s important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t be so quick to buy things you don’t need. Finding deals and saving money involves getting organized. Figure out what you really need, and then you can move on to your wants.

CUTTING BACK

Cutting back on costs doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself. You can do many things to cut back on your spending. If you’re fresh out of college and starting a new job, it may be smart to skip the cold brew run before work. You can make it at home, and odds are your new office has a decent coffee machine. Torabi also recommends, "Thinking twice before signing up for all those monthly memberships from Netflix to box-of-the-month clubs. Those recurring charges may seem small at first, but can add up quickly." In addition, you can hold off on that gym membership and go for a run instead. It’s important to become conscious of the “extras” in your life and then determine how to reduce your spending once you identify them. Torabi also suggests, “Filling up your day with free or healthier activities than shopping. Go for a walk with a friend when you get the impulse to shop after a bad day.”

"Go for a walk with a friend when you get the impulse to shop after a bad day.”

HACKS AND APPS

Looking for more ways to save? Many online platforms can help you get in the habit of keeping an eye on your expenses. Consider a few of these:

  • Mint: Put your financial life all in one place. Mint allows you to create budgets, track investments and discover new ways to save. You can even get a free credit check. Torabi confirms, “I love Mint so much that I joined the team last year. You can organize your expenses and income in one place so you can see your financial snapshot on the go.”
  • Digit: You can save money without even thinking about it! All you have to do is connect your checking account, and Digit takes care of it from there. Every few days Digit looks at your income and spending habits and finds money to set aside in a savings account for you. The best part: you can access it anytime.
  • Acorns: Investing isn’t just for your parents. You can do it, too! Acorns automatically invests the spare change from your debit and credit card purchases. For example, if a meal were $8.65, it would take out 35 cents. Since the money is invested, you could even make a few extra bucks.

Torabi's parting words of wisdom are paramount: “Apps are great and can keep you informed. It’s up to you to follow through with the information and make smart choices.” After all, this is your life, and the monetary decisions you make are yours. Saving money and looking for good deals isn’t all that difficult. You can do it!

KEYS TO DEALS AND STEALS

Organization is everything—be smart and plan your spending

Apps are your friends—find one that works best for your financial needs

Look for coupon codes before you buy

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