Personal Policies I Made to Save Money

In the past few years, there have been habits I've wanted to change about myself. One, because I knew they would be beneficial in decluttering my brain and routines, but they would also save me money. These are a few things that I felt I could use improvement in. Some of them have become fully baked into my daily life now and are a given, like not eating out during the week and my streamlined beauty routine. Others, I still struggle with, like buying clothes. But I'm hopeful that if I do it for long enough I can re-wire my brain in those areas, too.

I will not eat out during the week.
This one does double duty because it also helps me maintain healthy eating during the week. I reserve eating out as a treat during the weekends, which works out because I’m also a little more relaxed with my eating during the weekends.

I will not buy coffee during the week unless I am meeting a friend or having a really bad day.
I’m a huge Starbucks and cold brew and iced coffee stan, but spending on it every day was getting excessive. Most offices I’ve worked in provide free coffee. The quality definitely varies. I’ve had some pretty non-offensive office coffee, but I’ve also had office coffee that tasted like ass and cigarettes. In these cases I’ll buy my own instant coffee or cold brew concentrate during the workweek. And I save my Starbiez for the weekend: Friday, Saturday and Sunday (lol).

I will have a streamlined beauty routine.
This has been in the making for a long time. I’ve come to find that I don’t love experimenting with my makeup, but had been for years because I couldn’t find products that actually worked for me and that I loved. So I would buy and discard makeup products like crazy. But I finally feel like I’ve found my Holy Grail products in each category (foundation, concealer, mascara, lipstick, etc.) to where I only own one or two items of each at a time. With the exception of backups of certain things. Since I do love them so much I’m always scared of running out.

I will try to only buy clothing I know I will really love and only from websites that offer free returns.
This is something I’m getting better at but still have to work at and try to be conscious of all the time. I do tend to have a problem with impulse buys. Some of this stems from being worried an item I love will sell out and I’ll never get another chance to buy it. Which has happened. But the beauty of places with great and easy return policies is that I can get them and always send them back if I end up changing my mind.

Even with that though, I still try to be mindful about what I “love.” I’m sure many of you have heard of this method before, but it’s making sure you can wear the item at least three ways with items you currently own in your wardrobe. This will help you determine how well it will fit into your everyday life.

I will use what I have.
For me, this mostly applies to consumable products like beauty, hygiene, cleaning supplies and food. I need to get better about using up existing products before buying new ones.

I will grow out my natural nails and paint them myself.
There was a while where I was really into press-ons. It was a more affordable alternative to getting acrylics done at a salon, but even though it was a fraction of the price, I was still spending on the press-ons and the glue. And even though doing my nails once a week was sort of meditative and part of self-care/grooming time, it was still suuuuper time consuming. And to be honest, in the last six months or so, it just hasn’t really felt like long stiletto nails really fit into my look anymore.

I’ve been keeping my natural nails at medium length and either wearing no polish or a clear coat. And I’m not afraid to admit that this was definitely inspired my Kim Kardashian’s more “natural” look, and I’m totally digging it for myself.

I will blow out my own hair.
I’d actually never even seen my hair blown out until I went to a blow dry bar for a special occasion. I started panicking because it looked so good and I knew I there was no going back. I started trying to budget for a weekly blowout in my head. After realizing that it just wasn’t practical or feasible, I was determined to figure out how to blowout my own hair. Lots of online articles and YouTube videos later, plus tons of practice, I finally mastered the at-home blowout. Which I’m sure saves me tons of money.

Since summer, I've also figured out how to air dry my hair in a way that works for me. Which has also saved me more money, time and grief.

I will use my library card.
In college, I worked at my campus library and just naturally checked out so many books. After graduating and leaving that job, I started buying any book I wanted to read, which is so crazy. I went through and purged a ton of my books (I think I only own around 30 books now) and realized that I don’t want to own a book unless I absolutely love it and there’s a high likelihood that I will reread it (which I like doing). So now, if a book I want to read is available through the library, I’ll get it there first instead. And I won’t buy a book unless it’s something I’ve read before and really want to own.

Do you already do some of these things? What are some of your small money rules? I’d love more ideas!

Diana Le

Diana Le

Diana is the co-creator and Editor-in-Chief of Oatmeal Cardigan. She works as a copywriter by day and moonlights as a texting guru by night.