20 Bizarre Money Habits Making Millennials Richer

Illustrated by Josh McKenna.
We know, there are tons of high-tech ways to save money. And we absolutely advise you to try them out. But there are some old-fashioned no-spend strategies that can make your money add up — sometimes pretty quickly. At first glance, they may sound weird, but they work. Ahead, try one (or a few) and tell us in the comments the strangest strategies you’ve used to successfully save some extra money.
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Illustrated by Josh McKenna.
Turn your car into a piggy bank.
“I only use my car every week, so I think of my glove compartment as a 'bank.' Whenever I pull into my space, I’ll put a $10 or $20 — whatever I have in my wallet — into my glove compartment. Because it’s out of sight, out of mind, I don’t spend it. And then, when I have $100 cash, I go to an actual bank.” — Kristen, 28
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I'm signed up for so many loyalty programs for stores, I Yelp everything so I have status on Yelp, and I've found that over time, I've gotten on the list for a ton of openings and promo events. When I get invited, I RSVP and invite friends to go with me — it's a night out with free drinks and appetizers and we're not spending anything!
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Illustrated by Josh McKenna.
Pick a denomination and save it. Always.
“I nanny, so I get paid in cash. Whenever I’d get $5 bills, I put them in a separate envelope. This money becomes my 'fun' money, so I know I can either take one out and buy a cappuccino, or keep adding to it and splurge for a fun dinner with friends.” —Courtney, 32
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I hate when I go out to birthday dinners how the bill ends up being $100 when everything is included. What I do now is eat before and set my cap for $10. I'll order an appetizer and will really enjoy it. I also carry $20 cash so that comfortably covers my order, the birthday person's share and tip.
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Illustrated by Josh McKenna.
Have a spending jar for fun stuff.
"Every week, I take out $100 for fun, which includes lunch and drinks. And I put the cash in a jar I decorated on my desk. Actually having to pull money out means I’m super conscious of how I’m spending it, and also keeps me honest. For example, I only use that money, not my debit card, for fun lunches out, so if I don’t have the money with me, then I’m going to eat the lunch I brought from home, and not go out with coworkers.” — Janie, 27
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When I'm actively trying to save money, I keep my wallet at home. I'll bring cash in my pocket for emergencies, but it's so easy to avoid spending money when you literally don't have it on you.
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Illustrated by Josh McKenna.
Skip the coffee; save the cash.
“I am so bad about buying lattes 'just because.' And I know the $5 adds up. So whenever I feel the urge to buy a latte, I make the crappy office coffee, and make sure to move $5 from checking to savings. It’s a neat trick that actually makes me 'see' how much I’m saving.”
— Jessica, 23
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Okay, this might be controversial, but I've found a lot of people have asked me for career advice on my freelance business. I'm happy to help, but since time is literally money, I now ask people to pay for the appointment. I'm also open to bartering — have gotten personal training sessions and social media training in exchange for my advice!
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Illustrated by Josh McKenna.
Harness the power of recurring payments.
“I was paying $333 a month for my car payment. When I finally paid it off, I kept the 'payments' going into my savings account. Because I’d been paying it all along, I never missed the money, and it was so gratifying to see the money add up so fast in my savings account.” — Ramon, 30
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When I'm broke, I eat a PB&J sandwich at least once a day. I buy a jar, some jelly and bread and stock it in the office fridge so there's no excuse for me not to make it.
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Illustrated by Josh McKenna.
Do your saving in short sprints.
“I feel like I can get really into savings for only a month. So in that month, I see it as 'training.' I bring my breakfast and lunch to work, I only do social events that are free (one time, I had a party at my house where everyone had to bring one bottle of alcohol collecting dust in their homes), and I just really push myself. By the end of my 'spending fast' I have a lot more cash, and I am more conscious of how I’m spending it.” — Luke, 27
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I'll spend an entire weekend at home. To make it fun, I really think of an itinerary: I'll invite people over for Netflix, I'll do a big job like Kondo-ing my closet, or I'll just spend the entire day in bed reading. It sounds depressing but it's actually a perfect recharge.
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Pay yourself for Instagram posts.
“This is so weird, but thinking about how much celebrities get paid for sponsored Instagrams made me decide to pay myself. For every photo I Insta, I (at least try!) to put $1 in a drawer!” — Cassie, 22
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My credit card is super easy to stop online without cancelling. When I'm actively saving, I stop it so I won't be tempted to use it — since it's an extra step to unstop it, I have to really stop and think about it before I commit to a purchase/
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Illustrated by Josh McKenna.
Become your own bartender.
“When I was a camp counselor, there was an honor system where you had to pay 50 cents a soda from the fridge. I do the same thing at home to this day — $1 a soda, $2 for a glass of wine. What’s funny is I made a list of my beverage 'prices' on the fridge to remind my husband and I to be honest with it, and now, when our friends come over, they pay too…but they don’t have to!” — Rachel, 30
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I just tell everyone that I'm on a spending fast. I feel like people get it — before, I would just say I didn't want to go out to dinner or drinks and people would assume I was avoiding them. When I say I would love to do something, but I can't spend any money, it's amazing how creative we can get to find cool free stuff to do.
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Illustrated by Josh McKenna.
Make it easy to visualize what you're saving for.
"I know it sounds cheesy, but I like to see what I’m saving for, so I made a vision board of the vacations I want to take this year, which I put in a discreet place in my cube. 'Seeing' Greece every day makes it so much easier to not go out for a $12 lunch!” — Liz, 29
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I made the decision to not order any booze at bars — it just seems like a waste of money to me. So I'll pre-game at home and stick to water at the bar. But if anyone wants to buy me a drink, that's okay!
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Illustrated by Josh McKenna.
Freeze your credit card. Yes, literally.
“Yes, literally, in a bag of water. I know it’s cliché, and it’s true that I could defrost it in seconds under warm water, but it did stop me from making impulse purchases.” — Marquita, 25
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I had heard the term "lifestyle creep" — how when you make more money, it's easy to spend more money. So now, when I feel like my spending is getting out of control, I dial back and remember what I did at my first job when I was making very little. I brought lunch to work, had a one drink max when I went out, and still had fun. Remembering money doesn't equal fun or a more fulfilling life is important to me.
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