If thinking about saving money conjures up images of complicated spreadsheets, too many nights at home eating frozen food and a subsequent pit in your stomach, you’re hardly alone. As a society, we hate thinking and talking about money. In fact, one survey found that 44% of Americans see personal finance as the most challenging topic to discuss with others—more so than death, politics, and religion. And those are touchy subjects!
Here’s the good news, though: Saving money doesn’t have to be stressful or even boring. If you go about it the right way, it can actually be kind of fun. Don’t believe us? Give these five tips a try.
1. Go on an all cash diet.
Dubbed the “juice cleanse of the financial world” by Broke Millennial author Erin Lowry, an all cash diet is a lot like what it sounds like: You pay for everything you buy with a set amount of cash. This automatically eliminates certain money-sucking conveniences—hello, Uber and Lyft—and when you’re out of cash, that’s it. You’re done spending money for the week!
Like a juice cleanse, an all cash diet isn’t meant to be a lifestyle overhaul. It’s just a way to reset your habits around spending and make you more conscious of small, thoughtless buys that are making a big dent in your bank account over time.
2. Try zero dollar days.
Once or twice a week, see what it’s like to not spend any money at all. Sure, it will require some planning—like grocery shopping, since you can’t buy lunch or dinner out—but it will also force you to come up with creative ways to have fun that don’t require spending money. Free events in your neighborhood? Outdoor movies in the park? Checking out your local museum? Check, check and check.
3. Use Silk + Sonder’s expense tracker.
In the same way keeping a food diary can stop mindless snacking, writing down everything you buy can put an end to mindless spending. Silk + Sonder has a beautiful expense tracker in every issue where you can write down each item you spend, the category it falls into, and the total amount. Beats a note in your phone, right?
4. Take a cooking class.
This one is a little counterintuitive as cooking classes cost money, but hear us out: If you invest some time and money into learning how to cook, it will save you money long-term as you’ll be less tempted to dine out or pick up an overpriced sandwich or salad on a whim. Bonus points if you take the class with a friend or partner—bonding time will make this tip extra fun.
5. Organize a clothing swap.
If you crave a wardrobe update from time to time, you’re only human. But constantly buying new clothes can be quite a money suck, especially when that sweater you absolutely had to have ends up in the back of your closet after you wear it once or twice.
Instead, organize a clothing swap. That dress your coworker is sick of may be absolutely perfect for a wedding you have coming up, and you won’t have to spend a dime. As a nice bonus, it’s better for the environment.
Saving money doesn’t have to be a treacherous task, so get started today. You’ll be relieved when you have a little extra cash to spend on holiday shopping—not to mention a little more padding your savings account!