1. Ask for ice water at Starbucks instead of buying bottled water. Tastes better and costs nothing. (Note: this is true in most Starbucks except for the one in Great Wolf Lodge in Pennsylvania. The pimply teenager said they charged for cups, unlike every other Starbucks in the world. I complained to Starbucks customer service and they credited my app $5.00.)
3. Take extra plastic bags and wipes at the gym for future use. I save money by not buying plastic bags or wipes for cleaning.
4. Take more than one olive oil in those little containers from Pret a Manger when you buy your lunch. Olive oil is expensive and the ones for free at Pret are extra virgin and in those cute keep fresh containers.
5. Take extra condiments and stop buying ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, salt, sugar, creamer, etc.
6. Take extra napkins. You never know when you will need to blow your nose, wipe away makeup, or go into a restroom stall without toilet paper.
7. Trick yourself into saving by automatic deposits into separate bank accounts. Name each account so you know what you are saving for. For example, Chanel Fund, Hermes Fund, Bahamas Fund, College Fund, etc. Also max out your 401k and IRAs. If you don’t see it, you won’t spend it on stuff you will forget in 10 years anyway. Did you really need that polyester dress from a sample sale that you never wore that someone said would look so good at the opera?
8. Starbucks straws are better-made than any straw you can buy. Take a few extra for when you need a straw.
9. Credit cards are a good way to earn points for free hotel stays, air fare, gift cards, etc. Be careful to pay off the credit cards in full every month to avoid late fees, finance charges and debt, which will negate the value of the points. Airline points are most valuable during busy seasons such as spring break and holidays.
10. Avoid paying rent for as long as you can. There is no shame in long commutes, couch surfing, living in Queens, or all of the above. Money talks, bullshit walks. Sock that money away.
11. Tinder is a good way to get free drinks and dinners. I’ve never done this myself (I swear), but my friend has met many guys on Tinder who will take girls out for dinner. However, they disappeared quickly after they got what they wanted, so if you want to keep on getting those dinners for free, don’t sleep with him, girl! And that is the best advice I can give you today.
12. In addition to your regular job, work on your side hustle. This can be selling on EBay, tutoring, selling tickets on StubHub, etc. A friend of mine sold her tickets to the Meadows last year for $200 profit. She missed seeing Kanye West walk out during a performance after receiving word that Kim Kardashian was robbed, but made $200. Another person sells the toiletries she collects at high-end hotels such as Park Hyatt and the Ritz-Carlton. Teachers can make more money tutoring on the side than at their actual jobs.
Wait, you have to work, you say? Thought this was a site on how to live like a princess, you exclaim? Of course you have to work, unless you have a trust fund. But you will be better off than most people because you will have a great life without accumulating lots of debt.
13. If you subscribe to the New York Times or cable, call them up and ask for a lower rate. In my experience, The NY Times will offer a lower rate for a limited time. Barron’s charged me $170 for renewal of my subscription but offered to take $70 off just for calling and threatening to cancel. As for the cable company, I was given free HBO and Showtime as well as $20 off per month just for calling.
14. If you must eat instant ramen, try the Asian brands such as Shin cup or anything you can get in Chinatown. You will feel like you are eating something exotic versus just cheap supermarket instant noodles.
15. Shop at Trader Joe’s. A bag of Bob’s almond flour is $15.99, whereas the same thing (same size) can be found at Trader Joe’s for $5.99.
16. Pack a lunch. Much healthier for you anyway. Tofu is very filling and costs about $2.00 a package.
17. Look for the best deal on everything you buy. Even people who make a lot of money do this. I know a guy who works in technology who makes half a million dollars a year and brags so much about the deals he got that they nicknamed him Value-Pak Vito.
18. If you feel that you did not receive what you paid for, complain. Companies don’t want bad publicity and will try to make it right for you. If the person you complained to refuses to do anything, write a truthful review on Yelp, TripAdvisor or other website. Often, another person representing the company will contact you and try to compensate you for your inconvenience.
19. If it’s free, it’s for me! During the summer, Lululemon was handing out free shirts and shorts to people who showed up at the Sweatbox, a truck with a treadmill in it. If you put on the item of clothing, and then run on the treadmill for a minute and fill out a feedback card, you were allowed to keep the item free of charge. As you know, Lululemon items are around $89 each. So my friend, Ming, who is quite the character, decided to follow this truck all over the city to get free stuff. Unfortunately for Ming, they recognized her after the third time, but not before she got two Swiftly shirts and a pair of running crops for free. Now that is a lady who knows how to live like a princess!