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Join us as we talk about the unexpected tools that will help you re-imagine how to save money in new and effective ways! Want even more money saving tips? Check out this video:

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10 Facts About Americans and Public Libraries

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Nike Run Club

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Hey guys. It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet and this video is brought to you by Status Money. And today I wanted to talk to you guys all about the non-financial tools that will help you save money. As we all know on TFD, it's the choices you make that often don't on the surface have all that much to do with finances that really impact your day to day budget. So let's get right into them.

Number one is a library card. And I know you're about to turn off the video and be like, girl, please, we know about borrowing books. But two things. First of all, millennials are not using library cards at the same rate as older generations, so maybe you don't know about borrowing books. But secondly and more importantly, there's so much more that libraries have to offer that have nothing to do with books at all. Amongst people who actually do use library cards, one surprising fact is how little people are aware of what that gets them access to. When surveyed, 30% of library users said they had little or no awareness of the services that were available to them. Now obviously, you have the borrowing books, which is pretty much the primary function of the library. But what you might not realize is that now that includes enormous amounts of e-books, which you can actually check out from your couch. I'm really big into e-books and audio books especially, myself, and I wasn't even aware that you could check those out. Libraries also provide you with tons of free movies and TV. A lot of library cards come with a free subscription to a service called Kanopy, which has access to over 30,000 films. If you're someone who's looking to cut back on all of your subscription and streaming services for TV and movies, that's something you might want to check out. Many libraries also keep a few museum passes behind the counter, which you can essentially check out the way you would a book. You just check them out and it gives you free access to that museum for the day. This is especially good in cities like New York, where some of the more niche museums can be over $20 for a visit. And aside from saving money on that museum entrance fee, you also now have a free culturally enriching activity to add to your social calendar. And perhaps most importantly, nearly every library offers tons of free workshops, classes, and programs for every age range from toddler to senior and in almost every subject or discipline. Just for one example, the New York Public Library system offers over 90,000 of these free classes and workshops every year. The point is, libraries are not just about books. And even if all you're looking for is a place to sit down and work for an afternoon without having to constantly buy muffins, it's a great option. Start thinking of a library as a window of access to so many different enriching things, and start looking for all the ways it can save money by replacing things that you might already be spending on.

Number two is a grouped activity calendar. Now this one is especially useful for people who rely on public transportation, like those of us who live in big cities, where every trip that you take costs roughly the same amount of money and it's often pretty expensive. But it's even useful for you if you're driving a car everywhere and therefore have to be conscious about the amount you're spending on gas. Here in New York, if you don't buy an unlimited pass, which I personally don't need, every subway trip is $2.75 each way. So that means that every individual trip you're taking adds up pretty quickly. A pretty simple way to combat this and to make sure that your week to week schedule is keeping those costs down is to go through your schedule and plan out ahead of time what is close to each other, and group things that way. If that means, for example, that you schedule the hang out with your friend at the bar that happens to be near the store you also need to return something at, do it. And bonus points if you can schedule a few things together that are just far apart enough that you get in a ton of walking steps while you're doing it, which can also save you on exercise costs. The point is, it's really easy to not think about the transportation that happens between all of the other things that we actually have to focus on. But in the case of people who have to take the subway, it can literally be the difference of $50 a month. And while it won't be that high if you're driving, it could definitely be around $25.

Number three is an anti-grocery list. Basically, this is something that I've started doing because I realized that over and over again, I was buying items that I ended up just not using. Maybe I just didn't end up getting to them in time, or maybe I just didn't really like them at all. But the point is, these are items that I ended up kicking myself about getting every time, because I'm like, oh, there it is, that item that's gone bad yet again, making me feel like a terrible person. And I'm not going to lie, like most of you will probably be able to relate to, these things are often produce items, which makes me feel extra terrible about myself that I never have trouble finishing an entire pack of double stuff Oreos, but somehow the same good for me fruits and vegetables end up going bad in my crisper. So I made myself an anti-grocery list. And this is simply a list of items that I am forbidden to buy. If I'm ever tempted, I just remember that list, which I keep in the Notes app on my phone, and I say to myself, you think you want this, but you actually don't. Whatever happens to be on your anti-grocery list, just remember to keep it as top of mind as you do your actual grocery list.

Number four is a goal-setting app. One thing that can make saving extremely hard is to not have a tangible, visualizable goal in your head that reminds you of what you're reaching for. Otherwise it can just feel like this endless tunnel of deprivation. But having a very clear, specific, and visual picture of what those goals are, whether that's a car, a house, paying down a certain amount of debt, or having a certain amount in the bank, it makes it so much easier to stay motivated and stay focused. There's actually even a pretty foundational concept in psychology called goal setting theory, which basically states that having a very specific goal is extremely beneficial in creating and keeping up with basically any habit. As much as we all wish that we could be the kind of person who changes and works towards something just for the sake of being a better person, it's pretty damn difficult to actually keep that as motivation. But luckily, when it comes to having goals, there's an app for that. There's an app called Strides Habit Tracker, which we'll link you to in the description, and it helps you reach your goals by sending you reminders for accountability and giving you cute little charts to track your progress. You can use it to reach a goal like save $1,000 by July for a vacation, and it will give you a fun little green bar to show you how far you're going. It also helps you form and break habits by allowing you to do things like track how often you do something or how often you don't do something. For example, you could track the progress of how often you're actually cooking and eating at home versus buying food out, and see if you're actually making progress on that every week, versus a vague feeling of, like, I think I'm eating at home more. It's not an app specifically about finances, but it's super helpful for when you want to start thinking about money in a tangible, living, breathing way. Which is what it is.

Number five is DIY home tools. Now as we've mentioned on the channel before, one of the best ways to start passively saving money is to really rethink what we consider a necessity when it comes to our home. And this is especially true in terms of the utilities that we're consuming and how quickly we go through products. You can easily set challenges for yourself to start saving in the hundreds of dollars a year simply by seeing how many of those utilities you mindlessly consume that you can go without. You can also go through each room in your house and start seeing the objects that you use in a disposable way which don't have to be disposable. And when it comes to the specific tools you might want to invest in to A, not overspend on utilities, and B, not constantly be going through disposable things, there's a couple really key ones. Number one is a corrugated plastic board for washing clothes by hand. So I personally wash a lot of my clothes by hand because either they're pretty delicate or they're dry clean only, and frankly, no one has the money for that. So for example, when I'm washing something like a delicate sweater, I tend to just do it in the bathroom sink or the bathtub, but I was finding that it was hard to get it as clean as I could get it in a washing machine. Solution, a corrugated plastic board that just has those little ridges that allows you to scrub gently whatever piece of clothing you're washing. It's still much more delicate than a washing machine, but it allows you to feel like you're actually getting your clothes clean instead of just sort of pushing them around in soapy water. Another simple thing to consider, especially in the warmer months, is a drying rack. For the vast majority of stuff you don't actually have to use a dryer. And those things suck up electricity like you cannot believe. You can get ones that fold up pretty conveniently and open to hold an entire machine's worth of clothes. And frankly, especially in the spring and summer months, it's nice to have clothes that smell like the fresh breeze instead of more dryer sheets. And when it comes to disposable stuff, rethink them. Get yourself a pack of bar mops, so you can use them for almost anything you use a paper towel for. They're the rags you see bartenders cleaning bars with. Pretty straightforward. And they're great for cleaning surfaces, drying dishes, or soaking up spills. A fun challenge to give yourself is to get some bar mops and see how long it can take you to go through a roll of paper towels with them. And another good one to consider is battery recharger with high quality reusable batteries. Fun fact. TFD probably spends in the dozens of dollars a month just on batteries for filming these very videos, and it's, frankly, only a matter of time until our accounting person is like, uh, girls, what are you doing? Get some rechargeable batteries. So my commitment to you in this video is we're going to start using rechargeable batteries. And you should too, because depending on what you do with them, they can save you tons of money over the course of a year.

Number six is workout clothes. So something you guys may not know is a few months ago I started doing Pilates. And it's the first time I've ever had a workout regime that I really, really stuck with. Now I do Pilates almost, literally, every day. And when I first started I was really afraid that having classes would cost me a lot of money, but I've actually found that it's been a huge net positive on my budget, because all that time I was going out and doing other stuff where I spent money, I now just go to class. And my studio is one where you just pay a flat rate every month and have unlimited classes. I pay $95 a month for my studio, which, given how often I go, breaks down to about $4 per class. And I don't care how value-efficient your happy hour is, it's guaranteed to be more than $4, which is one of the common activities I would be doing after work if it weren't for going to Pilates. So there's a high chance that a cost-effective workout routine could end up saving you money by giving you something more productive and cost-efficient to do with that free time. But if you're not into spending any money at all and want to just find a really good workout habit you can get into that is strictly for saving money, there are tons of free workout meetups available in pretty much every city. And that could be something as simple as just walking groups, but there are also groups of people who meet for specific kinds of workouts. They'll do something like yoga or aerobics or different dance classes, and they'll either do them outside or they'll rotate whose house hosts the class. But the point is they're all doing it together for accountability and a social activity. And there are even more organized clubs than that, that are still totally free. For example, Lauren is a part of the Nike Run Club, which is a running club, obviously, sponsored by Nike, where they meet at various times and go through different runs led by real Nike coaches. The paths that they follow change every time to keep things interesting. Sometimes people bring snacks, and it's always totally free. Lauren happens to go once a week, but you can go almost as often as you like. And again, it's not just about getting exercise. It's also about giving yourself a social activity that allows you to meet new people and doesn't revolve around alcohol, food, or spending money.

Lastly, number seven is gold star days. Now this is another calendar-based tool, similar to the one where you group your activities together. And it's actually something that team member Mary told us she did and that I found awesome. Basically, this is a wall calendar with gold star stickers on it, just like you would give to a child. Except in this case, you are a child, and the chore you're responsible for doing is saving money. Mary challenges herself to have one zero spend day per week. That means no lattes, no desk salad at lunch, no running to the movies, nothing that costs any money. And when she completes this day for the week, she puts a little gold star for it. And at the end of the month, she goes through her calendar and looks at all the days that have gold stars on them. Sometimes she manages to do more than one no spend day per week, in fact. And for every gold star day she puts an extra $20 in her savings account. It's a way to stay motivated. It's a way to make sure that you're paying yourself for making the right choice. And it's also a way to have a little bit of fun. Saving money isn't just about having more of it or just being super disciplined. It's about making all those little changes in your day to day life that make the act of saving more painless, and making sure that you're not constantly associating what I want to do with spending money. But no matter how much more you manage to save, you'll always need the right tools to manage and understand your money. And one of the best tools to do that is Status Money. Status Money collects data from millions of people and lets you anonymously compare your finances with your peers and national averages. You can even see how you compare with people in any city, income range, or age group across the US. By comparing, you can finally find out if you're getting fair interest rates from your banks, overspending on shopping or restaurants, or not saving enough compared to people just like you. Status Money gives you the information you need to make smart money decisions. It lets you track and compare your spending, income, debts, net worth, and credit score, and even analyzes your accounts and transactions to find ways for you to save money. Status Money doesn't just show you your money. It puts it in the context that matters to you. And since it makes money from ads, you can use it for free. Check it out at and start making smarter financial decisions today. As always, guys, thank you for watching. And don't forget to hit the Subscribe button and to come back every Tuesday and Thursday for new and awesome videos. Bye.