Money Saving Hacks

Ways to stretch your dollars further

Saving money has been on many people’s minds lately. Photo by Katie Leier.

It’s no secret that life is getting more expensive by the month.

All politics aside, inflation, as well as “shrinkflation”(aka making products smaller, but increasing the cost), has the whole country in its grasp and doesn’t seem to be letting up on us anytime soon.

This has affected everything we do, from how we consume food(eating in versus eating out, grocery shopping, and so on) to how far we travel. It doesn’t seem fair, but it’s reality, so we might as well make the best of it.

Everyone is looking for hacks and tips on how to cut corners and save a few bucks. Fear not, fellow students, I have a list of several tried and true tricks to save a few bucks, even on a budget.

Rewards and Loyalty Programs

Everything has an app nowadays and every business wants to sign you up for loyalty programs.

In most cases, why not? You get rewards and discounts on places that you visit often, making it so worth it. If you’re going to visit Starbucks anyway, might as well use their rewards. Just be careful not to fall into the mindset that “spending money saves money,” such as buying two drinks instead of one because you get the second one for a 10% discount. You’re still spending money on a drink you don’t need.

Grocery stores use rewards, too. Hornbacher’s has a free app to earn points back on every dollar you spend! 7500 points and you get $5 off your entire purchase!

Cut Back on Little Things

Keep track of what you spend money on, then go back and review every dollar. What did you buy that you didn’t use? Where could you cut back? Maybe instead of ordering Door-Dash four times a week, or however many times you order out, try to keep it to twice a week and use the groceries you bought. This leads to less food waste and less wasted money in the long run.

Other small cutbacks can include walking or biking instead of driving to save gas money (in North Dakota this isn’t always realistic, but try the Matbus if possible or carpool with a friend and switch off driving days so you both save money) or find another area of life that you see yourself spending quite a bit of money and figure out how you can cut back. This could be groceries, entertainment, food, or almost anything.

Free Stuff!

If you look for them, you can find them. This can seem tacky, but it’s worth it. Almost any event with vendors will have some sort of free souvenirs!

If you have a sweet tooth, stock up on candy from said vendors. I’m not saying to take a handful from every booth in sight, but one or two pieces at a time add up. 

You could score almost anything. I’ve personally found some gems such as notebooks, hats, sunglasses and T-shirts. Even the bank has free pens.

Lots of businesses and companies send out surveys about their product or service. Oftentimes they offer a form of reward for taking the survey, or you can get entered in a drawing for the reward. The more surveys you take, the better your chance of winning. Hornbacher’s has a survey online with every receipt you get, and you can get entered in a drawing for a $100 gift card just for completing a survey! 

Subscription Hack

Time to talk about entertainment.

Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney Plus…you have to subscribe to get all the movies and TV you want to watch, but this can be super expensive if you want to own multiple.

I found a hack that seems genius. Instead of paying for all of them every month, subscribe to one or two for a month and watch what you want on those services for a month. Then cancel and switch to a new service if you want to watch something on a different streaming platform.

You can even save movies and shows before canceling and they will still be saved if you reactivate your subscription at a later date.

Chances are, you can survive on one service for a month. You could use Hulu for a month, save what you want to watch later before canceling, and then use only Netflix, or whatever your choice may be, for the next month, and so on. That way you aren’t paying for more than one streaming service each month, and thus saving money on entertainment almost immediately.

We are always looking for ways to save money and cut back on spending. It doesn’t look like life is getting any cheaper anytime soon, so we might as well learn to live with it. Sometimes it’s worth getting a little creative in order to help your bank account. In the long run, it can also cut back on financial stress and anxiety, even just a little bit.

Don’t see a hack here that works for you? Google has infinite amounts of knowledge on how to save money, from specific searches to a more broad aspect. You never know what you can come up with!

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