Unless your employer is shelling out for free work lunches and you have the willpower to not grab that extra-shot-vanilla-latte to fight your midday slump, chances are the cash you have left after covering basic living expenses isn’t all going into your savings account. And unless you’re already taking serious strides to up your investing game, figuring out where and how to start saving money can be v. overwhelming. So we caught up with Jennifer Barrett, chief education officer at Acorns, to get some practical and unique tips to help you save some moola this month.

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1. Set up a budget. You’re probably thinking, “A budget, yeah, I’ve heard that before” — but TBH that’s because a budget is one of the best ways to start saving some major cash. Barrett suggests utilizing apps like Mint to give yourself a holistic view of your spending habits and help you easily create a spending plan. She adds, “Mint can also notify you when you’ve spent over your projected savings budget — e.g., when you’ve had one too many coffees!”

2. Invest. We know, investing can be scary. But it doesn’t have to be. “Investment apps like Acorns can help you save without even thinking about it,” shares Barrett. “Features like Found Money and Round-Ups allow for investing and saving to be seamlessly integrated into everyday life and spending.”

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3. Don’t leave the tap running. Sometimes the smallest things can have the biggest impact. This one happens to be something the whole family can get behind. Barrett notes that “simply turning the water off while you brush your teeth can help you save eight gallons per day, or nearly 3,000 gallons a year.” Keep an eye out for other “running taps” where you’re spending on things you don’t actually end up using.

4. Rent everything. “Instead of shelling out and purchasing everything for keeps, use your hard-earned dollars to rent,” Barrett offers. “Rent clothes through companies like Rent the Runway, lease your car instead of purchasing, and rent entertainment like books, movies, and TV. You’ll see spending dwindle and your wallet gain weight.” For anything you don’t need to hang onto long-term — a dress for one event, a movie you’re not going to rewatch, a car you’ll replace in just a few years — renting can definitely show a big savings over buying.

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5. Organize a social swap. Sometimes it can be tempting to do a total closet overhaul and treat yo’ self to a new wardrobe, but Barrett suggests shopping your besties’ closets first. “Save second-hand clothes, jewelry, books, and home goods for your loved ones, and make an evening out of trading them with one another. Then whatever doesn’t get claimed can be donated.” A real win-win, if you ask us.

6. Be a super shopper. “It’s no surprise that grocery stores have great deals and coupons, but did you know that most of them roll over their deals midweek? By saving your shopping to Wednesday, you’ll be getting access to the deals before everyone else,” notes Barrett. “Bonus tip: Don’t shop hungry: Empty stomachs lead to over-buying and unhealthy food choices.”

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7. Ignore the impulse buy. It happens to the best of us. You go in for deodorant and walk out with a new desk lamp, booties, and throw pillow. Barrett suggests, “Taking a 15-minute walk can give you time for that ‘I need it’ feeling to dissipate. Put something on hold. If you still want it an hour later, you can go back. But more often than not, you won’t.”

8. Automate your good habits. “Automatically have money moved into your savings account right after your check is deposited, so that you don’t even time to miss it,” advises Barrett. She also thinks it’s a good idea to stretch yourself by starting with a higher amount, instead of working your way up from a low one: “You can always adjust the amount you save down later.”

Tweet us your money-saving tips @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)