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19 Clever Ways To Spend Less Money This Month

Cheap and dirty ways to keep more of your coin for ~investments~.

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1. Save your nice shoes from summer soirées with discreet heel protectors people won't notice while you're standing in grass at outdoor events.

amazon.com

Wear them a few times to avoid taking them for repairs to your shoe guy.

Promising Review: "Fit my heals perfectly. Shoes feel stable walking with these on. Color fits my gold/tan heal really well! I got the classic size in gold. Slides onto heal easily and will definitely help keep the heels in good condition." --MBee

Get them from Amazon for $13.49 (available in three sizes, four colors).

2. Walk the fine line between food waste and food poisoning by checking out how long you can store stuff through Still Tasty.

stilltasty.com

So you watched that Last Week With John Oliver segment on food waste. And then you made your SO and/or roommate watch it, too. (It me!) ICYMI, please watch it. But if you won't, what you need to know is that it cites a food waste report from the National Resources Defense Council that found 40% of the food in the U.S. goes uneaten. We're all part of the problem, but we don't have to be! Check the status of the stuff that's in your family's fridge and freezer through a simple StillTasty search. You can avoid some food -- and monetary -- waste, but a day out of work or meds for food poisoning costs more than a $2 bag of baby carrots.

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3. Plan a family stargazing outing at a state or national park.

NPS / Via nps.gov

You may not make it to Iceland to see the Northern Lights this year (or one of the places you can view them in the U.S.). But you can take advantage of warmer temps to admire national parks' beauty at night. Devils Tower in Wyoming (pictured) was deemed the first national monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. You may recognize it as a destination for UFOs and Richard Dreyfuss from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but its night viewing significance dates back more than a century. Oral Lakota traditions related it to some constellations seen from the park, including The Sacred Hoop. Read more on the constellations and their significance here. In short, it's an Instagrammable educational opp your family won't forget for the small fee of $15 per private vehicle with up to 15 people.

Learn more about night sky viewing opps in U.S. national parks here.

4. Kick your coffee shop habit (no, but really) by keeping your favorite coffee add-ons at your desk.

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Whether it's a basic powdered creamer or fanciful seasonal concoction labeled with death threats in the communal fridge, you'll save some bucks. Each of these costs less than two Starbucks tall iced coffees (according to Fast Food Menu Prices). If you're a McDonald's coffee devotee, one costs as much as four small premium roast coffees (also according to Fast Food Menu Prices). So you can make your coffee add-on investment back as soon as a week into your new office coffee habit.

Get them from Amazon: Coffee-mate Original canister for $4.22 and International Delight Hershey's Chocolate Caramel creamer for $3.60.

6. Sign up for Salon Apprentice to become a hair model so you can get free stuff like haircuts, color jobs, and blowouts.

salonapprentice.com

The website works for 16 cities, including Seattle, Austin, and Boston, to name a few. If you'd like to become a ~hair model~, sign up for email alerts and give a little info, like the flexibility of your schedule. Then you'll receive alerts about when you can volunteer for stuff like free cuts and blowouts.

If you're in the market for other salon or spa services, sign up for your local location's mailing list to find out about calls for volunteers. Salons will often recruit volunteers for free services as teaching moments for employees. You just have to be OK with stuff like getting a bikini wax in front of a few people. So, not exactly for the faint of heart.

7. Patronize BYOB restaurants with your friends...and call ahead about uncorking fees.

Darren Starr Productions

Yes, actually call and talk to a human on the phone about this. Just to be sure! Here's a decent corkage explainer from Food & Wine.

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8. Opt for comfy -- but cheap -- dress pants to look professional without spending your whole paycheck.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Comfy, well-cut business separates like these pants won't kill your clothing budget. Plus, these have more than 600 reviews!!!!

Get them from Amazon for $17.99+ (available in sizes S-2XL, 14 colors).

9. Decide when it's worth it to invest in special cleaning products, like this cast-iron cleaner that'll keep your skillets clean but flavorful.

amazon.com

You don't always need a particular brush or sponge for everything in your house, but sometimes it helps! This stainless-steel chainmail scrubber is dishwasher-safe and designed to last the life of your cast-iron skillet.

Promising Review: "I can't believe this little thing. It's supposed to be to clean cast-iron, well...I've used it on my cast iron, stainless-steel pans, ceramic fry pan, SilverStone fry pan, and CorningWare casserole dish. Today I used it to clean rust and lime stains from around the faucets on both porcelain and stainless-steel sinks. I use it to clean my stainless-steel sink and to remove marks from stainless steel appliances .I've used it to clean my stove top and the cast iron grates. I haven't found anything yet this doesn't work on and it doesn't scratch." --Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon for $13.99.

10. Bring rusty gardening tools back to life with a few household cleaning supplies to avoid racking up an unnecessary bill at the local home center.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Full instructions on Nifty.

11. Buy a cooler bag and BYO drinks and snacks to the beach or park.

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As fun as it is to buy some frozen, spiked beverages off a stranger dragging a cooler around the beach -- we've all done it -- it's not cost-effective. Invest in an insulated bag you'll want to carry around and keep it stocked with summer-safe snacks to spend your time frolicking instead of counting out wet, sandy dollars.

Get it from Amazon for $28.50.

12. Snip off the top of plastic beauty beauty containers to scrape out every last drop.

Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

We intro'd you to this genius beauty spatula a few months back for getting the most out of your beauty products. But if you don't feel like spending $12 for this tool and rely on stuff packaged in plastic, you can snip off the top with scissors. I swear by this Clinique foundation and at $24 a pop, I try to get out every last bit. Cutting off the top with my go-to scissors got me another week's worth of use. Cha-ching!

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13. Divvy up bills and other expenses in a friendly, official way with an app like Splitwise.

itunes.apple.com

This app helps you split the bill on group trips, utilities, and other money-related issues that can feel a little awkward amongst friends. Aka, it's more reliable than your Venmo emoji descriptions when your roommate swears you didn't pay her for last month's utilities. But like Venmo, it's a solid pick for settling random IOUs for beers, concert tickets, and the like.

Download it for free from iTunes or Google Play.

14. Eat a lot of bacon? Avoid tossing icky leftovers in the trash thanks to this handy bacon keeper.

amazon.com

This dishwasher-safe container keeps unused bacon fresh so you don't have to fool with slipping it back into its original package.

Promising Review: "My husband thought that I was silly buying this bacon keeper. Just more money thrown out the window! But, I was tired of putting my leftover uncooked bacon back into that slimy package. You have to open that cardboard, slide it in between the cardboard and that flap, and then slide that package sideways into the slimy plastic outer package. You'd think they'd come up with a new way to package it! Anyway, now I just take out all of the bacon, and whatever I don’t use, I place it right into the keeper. I was surprised to see how fresh the bacon kept. After more than two weeks, it was still soft and light pink in color. Not brown and hard like it usually gets after a few days. So I am very pleased with my silly little purchase!" --Lucy

Get it from Amazon for $8.

15. Opt out of saving your credit card information on websites and apps so you can second guess impromptu purchases.

Desilu Productions

Sometimes there is no option, but avoid it when you can on *dangerous* sites like Seamless, Amazon, etc. Entering in your payment info each time gives you more time to consider if you ~need~ something before you click Purchase. Plus, it can avoid you the headache of calling your credit card company when someone hacks into your Walmart.com account, orders two generators for $798.86, and ships them to "you" in Tampa, FL. (Not speaking from experience here or anything, folks.)

16. Fake bake with a drugstore self-tanner so you don't have to pay a stranger $30 to airbrush on some bronze while you awkwardly stand there naked. (And don't even get me started on tanning beds.)

amazon.com

This one has crazy-high ratings and you'll be able to find it nearly anywhere. Not a fan? Here are 27 more self-tanning products people swear by.

Promising Review: "I like that it gradually adds a tan. I've tried others that made my skin dark right away, leaving streaks and spots. But this doesn't leave streaks and looks natural. The smell is nice, too, and isn't overpowering. I usually wait an hour between coats." —melissa

Get it from Amazon for $6.12.

17. Subscribe to Budget Girl on YouTube for inspo to pay off debt and get used to talking about it.

youtube.com

Sarah Wilson has documented paying off her debt for the past 3.5 years and shares applicable advice on her YouTube channel. Watch where she started here with $31,659 in debt as a newspaper reporter who'd deferred her debt for a few years post-grad. But the great news is, she's paying off the rest of her debt this month. More info on that here.

Also give a listen to the Bad With Money podcast ep she appeared on, which is how I discovered her channel!

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18. DIY a summer-ready pedicure with this serious pumice stone.

amazon.com

Promising Review: "Great pumice stone. It really did a good job getting rid of my rough skin on the bottom of my feet. I believe I only needed to do it for four days straight and it got rid of 90% of the rough skin. I use it twice a week since. I have had this stone for months now and it's still doing a great job." --Mayra M. Thomas

Get one for $5.40 or four for $6.85 from Amazon.

19. And switch to an all-in-one polish that stays put, like Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure.

amazon.com

This stuff isn't new, but it's legit. You can skip the base coat and top coat thanks to the 3-in-1 formula and the flat, wide brush makes easier work of faking a salon mani. Plus, it's the cousin of the miracle gel polish that according to The Strategist Patricia Altschul of Southern Charm swears by. If it's good enough for her, it's great for me. (My hope is that one day I can live a life like hers in custom caftans if I follow all my own money-saving tips. Probs not, though.)

Get it from Amazon for $5.99+ (available in 50+ colors).

Check out last month's tips here.

Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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