Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stretching a Young Professional's Salary

Yes, I must start out this post with another one of my world famous disclaimers…

I am by no means “good” with money or a big saver of money (this is something I am still trying to work on). I can at least say that I am good at stretttttttching my money—so I thought that these tips may help some other young professionals who need to make their money go as far as possible.

  • Don’t be afraid to buy shoes online. I’ve bought many a great pair for a great bargain, even with the shipping included. Consider Make Me Chic and Gotham City Online.

  • Realize that finding good deals may not be a timesaving event. Sometimes, you have to dig. This advice is best to keep in mind at stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Ross and Goodwill. The “winner” items are not just going to pop out at you; you have to look for them.

  • Speaking of Goodwill, don’t be afraid to shop there! Believe it or not, Goodwill has many a brand new or lightly used item. I recently bought a super fabulous eyelet lace skirt, a funky pair of heels and a work sweater with a houndstooth collar—all at Goodwill—all brand new. (See my fun and funky shoes at the bottom of this post)

  • Shop at Kroger or a farmer’s market. While I do enjoy the shopping experience at Publix, Kroger just offers so many more generic brands and overall options. Why not buy Kroger-brand pizzas, sugar, flour, eggs, etc.? (Note: you just can’t go generic with some things, such as ketchup, oatmeal and face wash) Farmer’s markets have produce for such a bargain compared to any local Whole Foods.

  • Leverage the power of the Internet. Many online-only retailers save money by not having physical stores. No leases, salespeople, parking lots and light bills to pay for. Enjoy shopping from the comfort of your own home, which is an added “plus” right now with the ever increasing gas prices ($3.39/gallon today. WTF?)

  • Plan gift giving in advance. You can find an incredibly thoughtful gift for a friend that isn’t as expensive as waiting until the last minute. Funky jewelry, luggage tags, home goods, purses and bags, stationery, etc. can all be found at a better deal (in-store or online) if you give yourself some lead time in the hunt.

  • Take a chance on an “amateur” hair stylist. At Van Michael, for example, a “New Talents” stylist can cut your hair for about $25 to $35 (depending on the level of skill) and a color stylist can do your color for about $80. If you’re going to a nice city salon, you’re probably spending a lot more than this. The New Talents professionals at Van Michael have attended cosmetology school, been through rigorous VM training and are tested regularly on their skills.

  • Have your friends over for dinner instead of going out. A great homemade meal, wine and friends make for a nice, yet inexpensive, evening of fellowship.

  • Pack your lunch. Yes, it is important to get out of the office every now and again, but this can be dangerous to the pocketbook and to the waistline. Try making a tuna sandwich or throwing a Lean Cuisine into your work bag on the way out the door. Three dollars for a packed lunch versus $7 for a restaurant one really adds up over time.

2 comments:

jessica said...

Phew- yes to all! Costco shopping for dinner with friends is helpful on the wallet...as long as you only buy what you went there to buy!

moeko said...

cute shoes! also, matt and i are huge fans of kroger brand pizza dn bagels (they are much better than publix brand!)