Frugal Millennial Budgeting Infographic

Millennial’s Guide to Budgeting

If you want to get ahead and accomplish your #financialgoals, you need a monthly budget. Most Millennials graduate college with a fancy college degree but no idea how to manage money. The first step to tackling your finances is to create a monthly budget. I get it, you hear the word budget and you want to run for the hills. Most people cringe when they hear that dreaded b-word. But just hear me out, budgeting doesn’t have to be boring, overwhelming, or confusing.

I’ve been studying budgeting for the last 5 years, I’ve read over 50 books on the subject (can you even believe there are that many books out there?!). And I think I have a pretty good idea of what all of the major financial experts have to say about budgeting. But in all of my research, I keep coming across the same issue. The way budgeting is presented is complicated! Most people suggest using percentages and ratios, lots of spending categories, and that gets overwhelming.

Worry not, my fellow frugal millennials! Over the past 5 years, I’ve learned a few things to take the drudgery out of budgeting. First things first, download and print your own budgeting worksheet.

Step 1: Calculate Your Income

Before you can even begin to think about how much you can spend, you need to figure out how much you make. This isn’t complicated. Since it’s 2017 I’m assuming your employer pays you via direct deposit. Log into your bank account and see how much your employer deposits into your account each pay period. Then, figure out how often your employer pays you. Are you paid weekly, monthly, bi-weekly, or bi-monthly?

Let’s say you take home $1,000 on the 15th and 30th every month. In total, you take home $2,000 every month. That was easy! Now that we know how much money you are bringing in each month, let’s figure out how much we should spend.

Step 2: Calculate Your Rent

For most of us Millennials, our rent is a fixed rate and you’ve probably signed a year-long lease. While most financial experts recommend spending 25%-33% of your take-home pay on rent, you’re probably already stuck in a lease for the next several months. So, while your rent should be somewhere between $500-$660 per month (using our $2,000/month take-home pay example), you may be spending more than that.

Step 2.1: Budgeting Utilities

If you’re lucky, your utilities may be included in the cost of your rent. This makes it easy for you to plan ahead and know exactly how much you’re spending each month. If you’re not as lucky, and you are responsible for your varying utility costs, you’re going to have to take a few extra steps.

Electric, Gas, Water & Sewage

Look at your electric, gas, water & sewage bills over the past year, this should be as easy as logging into your online account and looking at your payment history. Calculate your average monthly spend and put that into your budget. This cost shouldn’t vary too much from month to month, but know that depending on your consumption habits you may be a few dollars over or under each month.

In your budget worksheet, fill out how much you spend on rent, and if applicable, add that to your average utility spend per month. In our example, let’s say you pay $500 per month for your apartment and all of your utilities are included. Go you!

Step 3: Budget Your Car Insurance

If you drive a car you need car insurance. This isn’t just me going on a rant encouraging you to get insurance (side note: you also NEED health insurance to protect yourself from bankruptcy). Most state laws require you to have car insurance if you drive your car. If you’re pulled over by the police and don’t have car insurance you better bet you’re going to get slapped with a major ticket. Save yourself the ticket and headache and make sure you are insured.

Your car insurance should be a fixed monthly rate that you pay every month.

In your budget worksheet, fill out how much you spend on car insurance each month. For our example, let’s say you pay $100 per month on car insurance.

Step 4: Budget for Your Cell Phone

I’m going to go ahead and assume that we all have a cell phone, and most of us have fancy data plans to go with them. The most affordable way to use your cell phone is to stay on a family plan for as long as possible. With a family plan, the cost is much less than if you were to get your own individual plan. In fact, what you would pay on a family plan is often half of what you would pay on an individual plan.

Calculate what you pay for the actual phone (if you’re leasing the phone through your carrier). And calculate what you pay to use the phone every month. Add that up and put it on your budget worksheet. In our example, let’s say you pay $30 per month to lease your iPhone plus $20 per month to stay on your family’s cell phone plan.

Step 5: Budget for Groceries

Your grocery category is one category where you can really save a lot of money. Most people spend way too much on groceries that they end up throwing away. The key to saving money on groceries is to go into the store with a plan and stick to that plan! If you’re a single person, shopping for yourself, I recommend spending between $125-$150 per month on groceries. That breaks down to $31-$37 per week on groceries.

Check out my post on how I grocery shop on a budget for more details on how to slash your grocery bill. Then, fill out the grocery section of your budget worksheet.

Step 6: Budget for Gas

If you own a car, you probably need to fill it up with gas every once and a while. Calculating how much you spend on gas every month isn’t too hard. Figure out how often you fill up with gas, and what your average spend is. I fill my car up with gas every 2 weeks. Each time I spend around $40. I give myself a bit of a cushion and allow my gas budget to be $100 per month. That extra padding helps if I take a road trip or if gas prices end up skyrocketing–which they sometimes do in California!

Calculate your gas budget and add it to the gas portion of your budget worksheet.

Step 6.1: Budgeting Parking

If you have to pay for a monthly parking pass for your apartment complex or work you’ll need to add this into your budget. If you only pay for parking every once and a while when you go to events, you can include that expense in your “miscellaneous” category.

For our example, let’s say you also budget $100 per month on gas and don’t’ have to pay for a monthly parking pass.

Frugal Millennial Budgeting Infographic

Step 7: The Miscellaneous Category

The miscellaneous category of my budget is my favorite and soon it will be your new favorite, too! I put all of my other monthly expenses in my miscellaneous category. This includes going out to eat, getting my hair/nails done, buying clothes, toiletries, etc. Some financial experts will tell you that it’s better to break your miscellaneous category into smaller, more manageable categories. If that works better for you, then by all means breakup your miscellaneous category.

Keeping One General Miscellaneous Category

For me, keeping one large, general category has really helped me stay on track and spend less. When I first started budgeting regularly about 5 years ago I split my budget into many little categories. But I found that I was overwhelmed as to how much money I should put in each category. And what about expenses that occurred frequently but not every month, like getting my nails done or buying shampoo? Ultimately having so many categories caused me to spend way more than I do now and it took me a lot longer to create the budget at the beginning of each month.

And thus, the general Miscellaneous Category was created.

Budgeting for Miscellaneous

You can decide how much you want to spend on miscellaneous items every month. To give you a point of reference, I budget $500 per month in my Miscellaneous Category. I break that down into $100 weekly increments and give myself that extra $100 to splurge on a random shopping trip, day trip, or an afternoon at the salon.

For the most part, I try to save my $100 for the weekend. I know that by the time Friday night hits, I’m going to want to grab a drink with my friends, head to a movie, or grab a meal out. Realistically, $100 is enough for a few budget-friendly weekend activities or one extravagant experience.

There was a time when I was going out to lunch and happy hour during the week and found that I was spending my weekly miscellaneous budget during the work-week. By the time the weekend rolled around, I had no money left to spend. I was either really cranky from being a shut-in. Or, more often than not, I was spending $800 per month on miscellaneous items.

Decide how much you want to spend on miscellaneous items each month. Add that amount to your budget worksheet.

Tying Your Budget Together

Once you’ve determined how much you’re going to budget for each category, you need to start tracking your expenses. Tracking your expenses is going to be the key to your success. If you don’t’ track your expenses, how do you know how much you’re spending? You don’t. And odds are, you’re going to end up overspending.

There are 2 apps I like to use: Mint and EveryDollar. Personally, I use EveryDollar more than Mint. I’m just more accustomed to EveryDollar than I am to Mint. Both apps are equally as good. Budgeting Worksheet Filled Out Example

You’ll notice my budgeting method is pretty simple and straightforward. In a nutshell, I try and spend as little as possible so that I can save at least half of my income. In the example above, we end up spending $1,375 of our $2,000 take-home pay. That means we end up saving about 1/3 of our take-home pay or $625 every month. That is a great start! You could put that $625 to work, either to pay off debt or invest in retirement.

You’ll also notice, I didn’t add that $625 to a new category on the budget. There’s a reason for this: out of sight, out of mind. For me, if I see that amount printed on my budget, I know I would be tempted to spend it. Instead, I set up autopay to either pay off debt or invest in retirement. Trust me, if you forget it’s even there, you’ll end up saving a lot more.

Comment below with questions, and happy budgeting!

Frugal Happy Hour

Happy Hour on a Budget

Grab your girlfriends–do I have a great idea for you! If you love happy hour as much as I do, you need to keep reading! I love getting together with my girlfriends after work, splitting a bottle of wine and chatting over appetizers. What I don’t love is when the check comes at the end of the night and I realize how much I’ve spent on small plates and drinks.

Happy Hour at Home

Last night my boyfriend and I wanted to celebrate some good news but since it’s the end of the month, our budgets are pretty tight. Instead of spending $30 each on drinks and snacks, we decided to stay in and make our own happy hour. I knew we had some cheese and snack foods that we needed to use up before they went bad, so all I had to do was run to the store, grab a bottle of wine, and a few more snacks and we would be good to go!

Frugal Happy Hour

Keeping Happy Hour Frugal

I knew we already had a few ingredients on hand. So, before I even set foot in the store, I knew I had to take inventory of what we already had in the house before spending unnecessary money.

Food on Hand

Frozen Meatballs – I typically make a big batch and freeze leftovers

Colby Jack and Pepperjack Cheese

Dried Fruit and Nuts

Frozen French Baguette (for cheesy garlic bread)

Groceries to Buy

Crackers – $1.99

More Cheese (Can you ever have enough?!) – $2.99

Wine – $5.99

Putting It Together

After spending a total of $11.52 (with tax) I drove home and put it all together. I had fun trying to see how creative I could get with the ingredients we already hand. Plus, it was a fun game to see how little we could spend. Below you’ll see the quick cheese board I threw together for under $12! It’s not the greatest picture, but I had to snap it quick–we were hungry and ready to eat.

Frugal Happy Hour Cheese Board

Our Happy Hour in a Nutshell

We had a lot of fun spending time together, catching up, and of course, laughing. Not only did we save over $40 but we had a delicious, homemade happy hour. While it is fun getting dressed up and going out to a restaurant. It’s also fun to mix it up and do it yourself. Just because you’re working within a budget, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Get creative, DIY, and you can have an awesome happy hour experience at home.

Looking for other creative date night ideas? Check out my post on MoviePass, the Nextlix of movie theaters.

Extended Warranty

Skip the Extended Warranty

Extended Warranties in a Nutshell

You’re at the store, about to check out, when the cashier suddenly asks you if you want to add the extended warranty. You’re about to drop $800 on a new flatscreen TV and you have only a few seconds to decide if you want to dish out an extra $100 for an extended warranty. What do you do? If you’re like many Americans, you probably agree to the extra $100 in exchange for peace of mind.

An Extended Warranty Isn’t Worth the Money

Most people who purchase appliances or electronics are encouraged by store salespeople to buy the extended warranty. Why is that? Why are we encouraged to purchase extended warranties? Because extended warranties are an easy way for retailers to make an extra buck off of you.

Here’s the deal, an extended warranty is really just a form of insurance. It gives you peace of mind that on the off chance something does break, you’ll be covered. But the fact of the matter is, products today are made better than they have before.

Products Rarely Break Within the Warranty Window

If a product is defective and is going to break, it will likely break within the first few months that you purchase it. It is extremely rare for a product to break 2-3 years after you have purchased it.

Repairs Aren’t Very Expensive

According to a recent Consumer Reports study, if your product does break, repairs often don’t cost very much. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, repairs cost on average $16 more than the cost of the extended warranty.

Manufacturers May Be Willing to Work With You

In today’s day and age social media has a lot of power. Consumers have more power now than ever to voice their opinion and have it heard. Rather than face the wrath of a social media nightmare, many manufacturers are willing to work with consumers to resolve issues.

Feel Confident Without an Extended Warranty

Before you make a major appliance or electronic purchase, do your research. Make sure you know the pros and cons of the product you are going to buy. If you have done enough research, you should be confident in your buying decision. Ask your friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations then hit the internet. If you buy a quality product, you shouldn’t worry about it breaking.

If you’re looking for other ways to save money, check out my post on why I never pay full price at Gap. And, check out the Honey Google Chrome extension to make sure you’re getting the best deal online.

Spend less on razors

How to Spend Less on Razors

Have you ever stopped to think about how much money you’re spending on razor blades? I just read a statistic that Americans spend around $100 per year on razors. That may not seem like a lot of money but pair that with shaving gel, aftershave (for the gentlemen out there) and lotion, and you’re spending way more than you need to. Did you know that there are a few simple things you can do to lower the cost of shaving?

Why Do Razor Blades Go Dull?

Razor blades don’t dull because you’re using them too much. They dull because they begin to rust. The more they rust, the more they dull. When wet metal is exposed to air it begins to oxidize. That’s a fancy way of saying wet razors rust easily. Every time you wet your razor to shave, the blades begin to rust which weakens them and ultimately causes them to flake. Flakey, rusted razor blades lead to a rougher (uncomfortable) shave.

How to Prevent Razors From Rusting

The easy answer is to keep your razor blades dry. First, don’t keep your razor in the shower. Keeping your razor in the shower is throwing your hard earned money out the window. Keeping your razor in a warm, moist, humid environment is one of the worst things you can do. It severely shortens the lifespan of your razor. Instead, keep it out of the shower, in a dry location to prevent rusting.

Second, dry your razor after each use. After you get out of the shower dry your razor with a hair dryer or fan. Or, dip your razor in rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol blasts away water molecules and dries blades quickly.

Drying your razor after each use will significantly prolong its use. You can use the same razor for months if you keep it dry. Not only will it last longer, it will also be more sanitary because there won’t be built up bacteria and rust from it sitting in moisture.

Where to Buy Cheap Razors

If you’re looking for a cheap place to buy razors, look online. Discount razor clubs are popping up all over the internet and can save you some serious cash! Dollar Shave Club is one of the most well-known discount razor clubs. Dollar Shave Club is a monthly (or bi-monthly) subscription to have razors sent directly to your door. No longer do you have to go out and buy razors every few weeks. For as little as $1 your first month, you can have a razor delivered directly to your door. Plus, you can sign up one month and cancel the next for any reason.

Another discount razor club is Dorco USA. Dorco is similar to Dollar Shave Club but some people find it cheaper in the long run. Dorco has an extensive line of men’s and women’s razors and if you want to try them out, click here to get 15% off your first order.

P.S. If you’re going to buy razors online, make sure to download the Honey Google Chrome Extension so that you can automatically get the best coupon codes applied to your order. I use Honey every time I purchase anything online. Not only do I save money with the best coupon code, but I also earn cashback on every order.





What’s the Heck is a Raincheck?

How many times has this scenario happened to you? You’re all ready to go shopping, see a great deal on a store’s website or were mailed a great promotional offer. You get in your car, head to the store to purchase the item that is on a great sale, only to find it’s sold out. As a bargain hunter, that happens to me more often than you would expect. It’s annoying, it’s frustrating, and a pain in the hiney! The next time you walk into a store and an item on sale is completely sold out, ask for a raincheck.

What is a Raincheck?

A raincheck is a store’s version of an I Owe You (IOU). If an item is advertised at a discounted price and sold out, you don’t have to leave the store empty-handed. You can find a store employee or store manager and ask for a raincheck. The raincheck will allow you to purchase the item at the discounted price once the item comes back into stock.

How Do I Get a Raincheck?

This happened to me earlier this week. I was shopping at my local Sprouts Farmers Market and saw that almond milk was on sale for $1.99. A great deal! When I went back to the milk section to the store only to find they were completely sold out. Bummer! After asking an employee if they had any more in the back, I was disappointed to find they were completely sold out. As I was checking out I asked the cashier for a raincheck. Without hesitation, he wrote one up for me. The next time I’m at Sprouts I’ll be able to snag my discounted almond milk.

Do Stores Have to Give Me a Raincheck?

The short answer is, it depends. Some states require retailers to provide rainchecks for sold out items. Those states require stores to “make good” on advertised offers. Other states do not have the same consumer protection. A store can also say in the ad that there are limited quantities or that rainchecks are not allowed. During the holiday season, when items are severely discounted, stores will often not allow rainchecks. So if you’re trying to score a great deal on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you’ll want to shop early before supplies run out.

Raincheck Alternatives

Depending on a store’s policy you may be able to purchase a comparable item at the sale price. This happened to me a few months ago. For those of you that have Safeway grocery stores nearby, you’re probably aware of Safeway’s Monopoly promotion. Every spring Safeway allows customers to earn Monopoly tickets for purchasing groceries.

Many of the Monopoly tickets have coupons for free items. This spring I received coupons for free salt, donuts, french baguettes, grocery bags, facial tissue, etc. All of the coupons expire on the same day. I can say from personal experience that the day the coupons expire is pure chaos. I’ve never seen more people at Safeway on the day the Monopoly coupons expire. Needless to say, because many people receive the same coupons and they expire on the same day the store looks like it’s been ransacked. The shelves are completely empty of the coupon items.

Instead of asking for a raincheck, I simply asked if I could get redeem my coupons for items of similar quality. Instead of getting a french baguette (which was completely sold out) I grabbed a sourdough loaf. Instead of regular grocery bags, I snagged bathroom sized grocery bags. Instead of a donut, I got a bagel.

Getting a Raincheck Alternative

The easiest way to score a raincheck or raincheck alternative is to ask. Just ask. Ask a store employee or manager and oftentimes (if you’re nice) they’ll grant your wish. Don’t be a jerk, don’t be rude, and don’t act entitled. If you’re polite and apologetic, more times than not your raincheck or raincheck alternative will be given to you.

P.S. If you’re looking for other ways to save money online, check out my abandoned shopping cart trick.


The Grim Realty of Student Loans

The Grim Reality of Student Loans

For many millennials, the rising cost of college and the need to have an undergraduate degree has pushed more and more of us to take out massive student loans. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York:

  • As 2016 there was $1.3 trillion in total student loan debt
  • There are 44.2 million Americans with student loan debt
  • The average monthly student loan payment for someone 25-30 years old is $351

Today, more people than ever are attending college. In fact, there are 1 million more African American and Latino students attending college now than there were over a decade ago. Pair that with the lack of state funding for colleges, which began to decline during the 2007 recession, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Student Loans and Life Milestones

If you think that student loan debt is just “something you need to have in order to get ahead” you’re wrong. Student loan debt is having a major impact on the lives of millennials. In fact, according to a 2015 YouGov survey:

  • 1 in 7 Americans with student loans has delayed getting married because of student loan debt
  • 41% of Americans have postponed buying a house or apartment
  • 21% of young Americans have delayed moving out of their parent’s house

Big decisions are being put off because young Americans owe so much money. Young 18 year-olds don’t have the mental capacity to realize the implications of signing up for student loans. When I was going to college, I would have done anything to attend my dream school. For me, like many of my fellow millennials, that meant taking out student loans. In my mind, it didn’t matter how much student loan debt I was going to have to take out. I had a dream to attend a fancy private university and I was determined to do so. Paying off my student loans was just going to be something that I was going to do once I graduated and had a job.

Student Loan Default

If you have student loan debt, it’s imperative that you do everything in your power to avoid defaulting. Being in default means you’ve missed more than 9 months of payment in a row. And that means student loan companies can come at your for the full balance of the loan and charge you massive fines and late penalties. Defaulting on your student loans is one of the worst financial mistakes you can ever make.

The federal government will do everything in its power to make ensure you pay it back. The government has been known to take money out of your paychecks, take your tax refund, and most recently in 2015, nearly 200,000 people had money withheld from their Social Security checks because they hadn’t paid their student loans.

The Best Student Loan Options

If you have to take out student loans to pay for college, I get it. I had to take out student loan debt to pay for college, too. Keep in mind, federal student loans are almost always cheaper and less risky than private student loans. Federal student loans have many consumer protections that private student loans do not. In order to even qualify for federal student loans, you need to fill out FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid). Try to keep the cost of college as low as possible and avoid private student loans.

If you must take out private student loans, do your research. Private student loan companies are notorious for being inflexible, not lowering payments or allowing income-based repayments. Often private student loan companies aren’t willing to work with you. In general, they aren’t very consumer friendly.

If you are attending college soon or know someone who will be attending college soon, check out my ebook, Richer than Your Roommate, available on Amazon. In it, I give you tips and tricks to pay for college without going into massive debt.

Consumer Reports Study

2 Things to ALWAYS Buy Generic

Generic vs Brand Name

Ahhh the age-old brand vs generic argument. If you’re trying to save money, you need to consider buying generic items.

If you’re looking to save money at the grocery store or save money at the pharmacy you need to start buying store brand items. Store brand food will save you 30% on average. Store brand medicine, like CVS brand, Rite Aid brand or Walgreens brand pain reliever, or acid reflux medicine, will save you 36% on average. But here’s the real kicker, when it comes to prescription drugs, you will save the most money choosing the generic alternative. In fact, generic prescription drugs are, on average, 80% cheaper than brand name medicine. So if you have a monthly prescription to refill, ask your doctor if you can switch over to the generic version.

Generic vs Brand Name Drugs

Consumer Reports Study

A recent Consumer Report study of 24,000 people who compared store brand and brand name items found that 78% of people came to the conclusion that store brand items are of equal quality. The crazy thing is that most of us don’t buy store brand items. Why? Big name brands that spend millions of dollars annually have convinced us that generic items are not as good as brand name. But the recent Consumer Report study just proved us all wrong.

Scroll down to check out the top 5 items you should buy generic.

Krazy Koupon Lady Generic vs Brand

What to Buy Generic

Choosing generic staples like store brand pasta and beans will save you a lot of money at the grocery store. Choosing generic medicine, like generic Benedryl, will save you about 36% at the pharmacy. And choosing generic prescription drugs will end up saving you major money in the short and long term.

Store Brand Foods

As previously mentioned, store brand staples are some of the best ways to save money at the grocery store. If you’re loyal to brand name items, start small. Start by purchasing store brand staples. When you buy generic staples you don’t sacrifice quality or taste but end up saving yourself serious cash.

Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Frozen fruits and vegetables are some of the best things to buy generic. Because frozen fruits and vegetables are single ingredient foods, you won’t notice a difference between their brand name counterparts. In fact, it’s likely that the store brand items are picked at the same farms and processed at the same factory as the brand name fruits and veggies. When it comes to frozen fruits and veggies when you choose the brand name items you’re paying extra for the marketing and fancy packaging.

Dry and Canned Beans

Similar to frozen fruits and vegetables, dry and canned beans include very few ingredients. Buying the grocery store’s brand of dry and canned beans is going to save you money and you won’t even notice the difference.

Flour, Oats & Sugar

Splurging for brand name staples like flour, oats, and sugar won’t make your baked goods taste any better. In fact, NPR did a study looking at the items that professionals buy generic. According to the study, professional chefs and bakers are more likely to purchase store brand. In fact, they found that the professionals favored generic flour, oats, and sugar.

Generic vs Brand Name Beans

Store Brand Medicine

Store brand medicines have the same active ingredients as brand names. In fact, the FDA requires non-brand name medicines to contain the exact same active ingredients in the exact same quantity of the brand names. The only difference is the inactive ingredients. Inactive ingredients include the colors, flavors, and fillers. AKA: things that don’t matter. So next time you’re at CVS, skip the Tylenol and Pepto Bismol and go with the store brand.

On that note, if your doctor allows it, choose generic prescription medicine at the pharmacy. On average, generic prescription drugs are 80% cheaper than the brand name options. Again, check with your doctor. But if your doctor gives you the OK, switch over to the generic version and keep more of your hard earned money in your pocket.

Check out this video to learn more from the FDA about generic drugs.

CVS Brand Generic Medicine

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to save money, one of the easiest ways is to stop buying brand name items. Now, bear in mind, not all items are made equal. However, when it comes to staples, like pasta, beans, and baking ingredients, you won’t even notice a difference when you switch to the store brand. At the pharmacy, you should always go with the store brand, if your doctor gives you the OK. Generic drugs have the exact same active ingredients, which means they’ll be just as effective as their brand name counterparts.

If you’re looking for other ways to save at the grocery store, check out how I use grocery store apps to my advantage.



Never pay full price at gap

Never Pay Full Price at Gap

Being the Frugal Millennial, I don’t really enjoy shopping. In fact, I’m convinced that I’m actually allergic to shopping for clothes. I get really hot, stressed, overwhelmed, and itchy when I need to shop for clothes. My attention span for shopping never lasts more than an hour. Although I often have an adverse reaction to trying and spending money on clothes, I don’t live in a nudist colony and do have to do it occasionally.

A Former Gap Employee

One thing you may not know about me is that I’m actually really good at shopping. I’m a bargain hunter and know when and where to find the best deals. Before I was the Frugal Millennial, I was just a broke college student. During my time attending the University of Wisconsin (Go Badgers!) I worked for Gap, which is also associated with Old Navy and Banana Republic. My year and a half with Gap Inc. taught me an important life lesson: NEVER PAY FULL PRICE FOR CLOTHES.

So often would I see people come into the store, drop a few hundred dollars on clothes and walk out having paid full price. The next week, I would be in the back marking the $50 dress they purchased down to $30. It blew my mind how many people would walk in, pick clothes off the rack and pay full price. I always thought to myself, “don’t these people know if they just wait a few weeks all of these clothes will be marked down?”

Gap Discount 50% Off

The Gap Discount Cycle

Every few weeks Gap goes through a discount cycle. Discounts range anywhere from 10% all the way up to 70% off. Knowing when to shop is key to finding the best deal.

National Sales

Every major (and often minor) holiday is a reason for Gap to have a sale. Labor Day, 4th of July, Columbus Day, Founder’s Day; you name it, Gap has probably already planned a discount around it. The best sale is of the year is during Thanksgiving season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are going to be the best deals you will find. These deals often offer EVERYTHING in the store 50-60% off. This is a great time to stock up on jeans and outerwear, which are often the most expensive items in the store.

Every 3-4 months Gap has a sale offering 40% off the entire store. This is the second-best time of the year to stock up on merchandise. If you see a sign, for 25% off, know that if you’re patient and willing to wait, in a few weeks that discount will increase to 40%.

Local Sales

Each store manager has the opportunity to call the shots and offer local sales. Local sales aren’t as flashy as the national sales and may be harder to plan for. If a store has a lot of items on its sale rack that aren’t moving, the store manager can offer up to an additional 50% off sale items. Think about that for a second, you can get an extra 50% off already marked down items. I loved shopping the sale racks during the local sale. In fact, all of my everyday t-shirts are from Gap and I never paid more than $5 for them. I have to say, I’m going on 8 years with them and they’re still holding up well. These t-shirts typically retail for $20 full price, but by strategically shopping the sale rack, I saved a bundle!

Always Save on Jeans

Whenever you shop at Gap, save your receipt. If you go online and fill out the survey you will receive a coupon code for 20% off one full priced item. Because jeans are sometimes excluded from sales, this is how you can always get a discount on jeans. Jeans are expensive, in fact they’re one of Gap’s most expensive items, saving 20% is going to go a long way.

Gap Survey Discount

Gap Discounts in a Nutshell

The average American family spends $1,700 per year on clothes. By shopping strategically and waiting for the best sales, you can easily spend less than $1,000 per year on clothes. Knowing when to stock up and when to wait is going to save you a lot of money over the course of the year. Don’t be fooled, Gap can afford to discount their clothes by 50% because they are marked up at least that much. GAP’s markup is probably about 70% which means if you’re paying full price, you’re getting ripped off. Be patient and wait for a sale. I know I would love an extra $700 per year back in my pocket.

P.S. If you prefer shopping online, check out my Abandoned Shopping Cart trick to always score a deal.

DoNotPay: Sue Anyone For Free

DoNotPay: Sue Anyone For Free

Want to get out of parking tickets, sue Equifax, or file a complaint against those robocalls you’ve been getting? Take a look at a new artificial-intelligence lawyer chatbot. DoNotPay is revolutionizing the justice system. The first of its kind, DoNotPay has successfully helped nearly 200,000 people get out of paying parking tickets.

About DoNotPay

DoNotPay was created by 19-year-old Joshua Browder. Browder grew up in London and at the age of 18, found himself with a number of parking tickets. Realizing that many parking tickets were caused by confusing street signs. He also noticed that there is a simple formula to appealing parking tickets. After replication that formula through a ChatBot, Browder created DoNotPay.

Parking Tickets

If you’ve recently received a parking ticket, head over to Type in your issue, “Parking Ticket”, and choose the reason you are contesting your ticket. Maybe you didn’t see the “No Parking” sign? Or, perhaps, there were contradictory signs next to each other? After choosing your reason for an appeal, you enter a few basic details: your ticket number, offense you were ticketed for, the street on which you were ticketed, and your full name. The bot automatically formulates a letter for you to send to your local government to contest the ticket. You can print, email, or save the letter. A quick google search will show you the address to send your letter. About 65% of parking ticket appeals are overturned using DoNotPay. Hey, it’s worth a shot!

Sue Equifax in Small Claims Court

If you’ve been affected by the Equifax data breach and don’t want to wait for a class action settlement you can take matters into your own hands. Residents in California and New York can use the ChatBot to sue Equifax in Small Claims Court. By entering in your personal information DoNotPay will fill out all of the necessary paperwork that you need to file a lawsuit against Equifax in Small Claims Court.

If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and argue your own case, this is a great option. Depending on your state, you could be awarded up to $25,000. Often times, lawyers aren’t allowed in Small Claims Court, which works in your favor. Small Claims Court judges are often very reasonable. If you show up and argue that you were a victim of Equifax’s hack, judges will hopefully find Equifax negligible and award you compensation.

Comment below if you’re planning on using DoNotPay to sue Equifax. Plus, don’t forget to keep up to date with the latest Social Security Scam.

Should You Get the Venmo Debit Card?

Among the many FinTech companies looking to edge their way into our everyday lives, Venmo has unleashed a new debit card. Following suit from companies like Square, the Venmo Debit Card is looking to make waves in the financial sector.

Who Can Get the Venmo Debit Card?

According to TechCrunch, only a few select users have access to the Venmo Debit Card right now. Because the card is still in beta, Venmo is still working out the kinks. If you’re eligible to test out the Venmo Debit Card, you will see the offer in your Venmo Account. The invitation appears at the top of your Venmo feed.

What Can I Do With Venmo’s Debit Card?

You can use Venmo’s Debit Card the same way you would use any other debit card and you can use it anywhere Visa is accepted. Which, in this day and age, is pretty much anywhere that accepts credit cards. You can use Venmo’s physical debit card at stores, restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, etc. The only difference is that this debit card is linked directly to your Venmo account. And you’ll also have to link your Venmo Debit Card to your bank account. If you don’t have enough money in your Venmo account to cover the cost of the purchase, Venmo will pull the balance from your bank account.

What Can I Do With Venmo's Debit Card?

Should I Get the Venmo Debit Card?

Once Venmo releases the card to the general public, you will have the option to decide if you want to order one. According to TechCrunch, the major drawback to the card is “the card design is really, really ugly. It’s literally a picture of a ball of pizza dough with some white flour sprinkled on top”. According to TechCrunch, Millennials care about the design of their debit card and would never opt for such an ugly card. I have to disagree, the design of a card should be the last reason on your list. If you only choose cards based on their design, we need to talk.

I’m interested to see what Venmo will say once they release this card to the general public. At this point, because there are no major benefits to this card, I wouldn’t recommend grabbing one for yourself. Adding another debit card to your wallet only increases your risk for fraud. What happens if you lose your wallet at the bar or on the train? You have yet another card linked to your bank account that you need to remember to cancel. The best financial advice I’ve ever received is “keep it simple, stupid”. No need to complicate your life by adding yet another card to your wallet.