Many people believe that saving money is hard work, but I think the opposite. In fact, saving money at its core should be easy, simple, and automatic. I’m a big fan of saving by doing what you’re already doing, like shopping. Yep, I said it. You’re allowed to shop, friend. (You can hug me later.)
Here is my one big tip for how you can shop till you drop but still save automatically in the process. It may seem like a no brainer, but people under-use this technique all the time:
Always Get Cash Back
Ah, cash back. It’s music to my ears. I already shop for sales and use coupons, but I just love the magic of getting money back from my purchase. These days, it’s so simple to do that. I personally like to use Wherewithal to shop online and get cash back, and the reason is that Wherewithal takes the cash back and saves and invests it for me (yes! invests!). It’s like this little angel on my shoulder telling me it’s okay to spend since they’re going to take it and do something responsible with my savings.
Let me give you an example:
This past Christmas I wanted to buy pajamas for my infant twins. Everyone knows how adorable it is for babies, let alone twins, to wear matching jammies on Christmas morning, amiright? This is an expense that I planned and budgeted for, but I wanted to make the purchase in a smart way. After all, why not take one extra step if I can save money automatically with my purchase?
I went to Carters using the Wherewithal website, and I got 3% cash back (other websites were only offering 2.5% cash back. Wherewithal was by far the best deal.) The result was two adorable kids on Christmas morning, and because I took one extra step, I got cash back that Wherewithal can either save or invest for me.
Here are some steps I like to take when shopping in general.
I budget for everything. At the beginning of each month, I go over my expenses and predict what the month will cost me. I even allocate money to unexpected expenses just so I won’t get off track. Once I know my budget, I know how much I can realistically spend on shopping without going into debt.
2. Research Deals
Once I know my shopping budget, I can research the best deals. I never go to the mall just for fun, because if I do that, I know I’m going to go home with something I didn’t even know I needed or wanted! I can find out which stores are having sales if I need new boots or which place is having the best deal on baby wipes. Once I know that information, I can go to my final and most important step.
3. Getting Cash Back
I rarely buy anything in person. Buying things online using cash back websites is by far the best way to save money out there. Sure it takes a little bit of extra time, but when you’re a millennial on a budget with two babies, it’s worth it.
Have you ever used Wherewithal to get cash back?