Life Hacks:

ted talks life hacksWith Ted Talks topics now a part of our quotidian dialogue, I decided that I could easily rustle up some apropos ‘Life Hacks’ of my own, particularly when it comes to saving pennies in a town as spend-y as Santa Barbara. Read on for my humble suggestions – they may not get you into that dream home, but employ just one or two and watch the savings add up!

Polish change vs. Pedicure
Did you know that most nail salons will offer up a nail polish change for a mere $5? Sure you’ll forgo the heavenly foot soak and calf rub-down, but take 10 minutes in the privacy of your bathroom to give your feet a good scrub with a pumice stone, and then head down to the salon. Bonus: Your toes will look fresh in those new peep-toe wedges for Summer!
Savings: $25

Threading
If you haven’t already found this alternative to facial waxing, I suggest you consult Google immediately for the nearest threading studio. Not only is threading less painful and more precise than waxing, but an eyebrow thread will only set you back about $10, and other facial areas a mere $5. Compare this to salon waxing prices and you’ll be a lifetime convert!
Savings: $10-25+ per visit

Consignment
According to experts, we wear only a small fraction of the of clothing in our wardrobe. Why not pass along the overflow to someone who will rock those paisley pants and jean vest, and make some cold hard cash in the process? In Santa Barbara alone, we have nearly a dozen consignment stores to choose from, each appealing to its own demographic and style – from The Closet and Renaissance to Jessica Consignment to Crossroads Trading Co, most of these stores will pay you cash on the spot for your retired threads.
Savings: $5 avg per garment

Selling airline points
When I moved to Santa Barbara in 2005, a nifty little website called Craigslist became by new best friend. In our 10-year relationship, it has led to me from plum apartments and used cars to velvet love seats and friendly ride shares, with nary a lemon in the bunch! But more recently, as CL has grown in scope, I discovered the vast number of people looking to purchase airline points/miles to save a few bucks on their upcoming trips. As you accumulate airline points via credit cards, actual travel, and even vouchers from volunteering to give up your seat on an overbooked flight, fellow travelers are constantly looking to buy your points or vouchers at prices cheaper than purchasing an actual flight. So if you’re not planning on using the points yourself anytime soon, consider perusing the Tickets section of CL for people looking to buy, or write a post of your own. As with any person-to-person internet transaction, use caution when accepting payment; Paypal is generally the safest way to proceed.
Savings: Up to $375 for a Roundtrip flight

Axxess Card
If you’re lucky enough to live in Santa Barbara, get ready to (literally) save hundreds of dollars this year. For just a $30 investment, you can purchase the Santa Barbara Axxess Card, granting you discounts at nearly 500 local restaurants, retailers, and service businesses in the area. Savings range from the “Buy 1 Entree, Get 1 Free” to ongoing 10-20% discounts at your favorite stores (two-for-one McConnell’s Ice Cream anyone?). Because nearly every other business in Santa Barbara is an Axxess member, you’ll rack up the savings in no time (if you remember to whip out your card at the time of purchase!).
Savings: $10 per use on average

Ditch the car, ride a scooter!
Having ridden a Vespa as my sole mode of transportation for the last 8 years, I may be a bit bias, but owning a scooter in place of a car may be the single best money-saving trick I’ve ever employed. Most people initially balk at thought, citing long weekends out of town, inclement weather, and grocery shopping as primary excuses for ditching their 4-wheeled vehicle, but when it comes down to it, savings quickly allay any logistical misgivings. Between renting cars for road trips, Uber-ing during extremely rare rains, and cleverly maneuvering my Trader Joe’s bags, I have rarely found a transportation situation I can’t handle. And holding up costs against national statistics, I can roughly estimate savings of $6,000 MINIMUM per year on car payments, maintenance, parking, insurance, and gas ($6 to fill the tank at 70mpg!). Obviously, this won’t be an ideal solution for a family or for people living outside of Southern California, but it’s worth considering if your lifestyle fits the bill!
Savings: $6000 per year and counting…

Airbnb
Regardless of where you live, most singles and couples without children are paying top dollar to rent a decent (read: 4 walls) apartment across our nation’s cities and towns. And really, how much time do we really spend in a space that eats up nearly half our monthly incomes? Many renters (and homeowners for that matter) are opting to take advantage of spare rooms and weekends away to make a buck by allowing others to crash for a nominal fee, through hosting sites like Airbnb and VRBO. While some have managed to hone their home sharing skills to a science, others may be wary of leaving strangers alone in their private space. Others who avoid the practice eschew the hassles of storing valuables and other personal items each time guests come to stay. But for those who live fairly minimally and have the time and means to devote to systemizing the process, home-sharing sites can be a wonderful source of supplemental income or simply rainy day savings. City-to-city rules and regulations differ, so be sure to follow the proper channels for complying with yours.
Savings: $50-150/night, based on accommodations offered

Add up all those savings over the course of a few months or the year and watch your piggy bank bulge. Maybe you’re that much closer to your dream home after all…

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