Hey everyone! Today I’ve got an awesome guest post from fellow personal finance blogger Ali from Anything You Want. She studied personal finance for her MBA, currently lives in Cambridge, MA with her boyfriend and is a huge travel lover like myself.
Today, she’s sharing some useful tips on how you can use the free program Evernote to save you money and keep your life organized.
I’ve been an Evernote devotee for quite some time. For those of you not familiar with Evernote, it is a sort of virtual notebook. It has computer and smart phone apps that allow you to create a series of notes for yourself and then access them across all of your devices.
It syncs automatically to ensure that you don’t miss an update made on any device, and even allows you to share notes with other people. And all of this is just on the free version! They have a premium version that provides additional features, although given how functional the basic version is I’ve never felt the need to upgrade.
That being said, if you sign up here, you can get a free month of Evernote Premium.
Over the years of using Evernote, I’ve discovered that it is not only a very useful note-taking tool; it is also a very useful (and easy!) money-saving tool. Here are eight simple ways I save money by using Evernote.
1. Toiletries and Household Items
You are always going to need toilet paper. This is just a fact of life. The same goes for shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, etc. But, the great thing about these items is that they don’t spoil, so you can stock up when there is a great sale.
I keep an Evernote list of items that I’m running a bit low on and each week when I grocery shop I check that list to see if any of the items are on sale. My list helps me know exactly what I’m low on (instead of buying a 4th backup bottle of shampoo) and get those items for a great price.
2. Clothes and Home Decor Items
I often decide that I “must have” a new vase or new jeans or whatever. When I identify a new clothing or home decor item that I want (but clearly don’t need), I write it down on an Evernote list. Then, when I’m out shopping, I can keep an eye out for those items.
This gives me time to think through if I really want that item, instead of just rushing out to get it and later regret it. It also helps me remember what it is that I feel my home/wardrobe is missing so that I buy items that actually fulfill a need instead of whatever calls to me at the store.
3. Coupons and Groupons
Ever buy a Groupon that you are so excited to use only to forget to use it and have it expire? Never again! I keep an Evernote list of all of my Groupons (or Living Social deals, etc.) and high-value coupons along with expiration dates for each of them.
I consult this list from time to time to make sure I’m not about to let a great deal (that I’ve already paid for!) slip by.
4. Gifts Ideas
Throughout the year I constantly have gift ideas for friends and family, but somehow come the holidays I can just never remember what they were. To help remedy this problem, I’ve started keeping an Evernote list of gift ideas for people.
If an idea pops into my head during a conversation with my mom in July, I write it down and know what to buy her when Christmas rolls around in December. This gives me extra lead time, allowing me to buy on sale and spread holiday spending out over a longer period of time.
5. Items You Already Own
I own about 4,981 nail polishes. Ok, this might be a slight exaggeration (but only a little). In any case, it can be tricky when walking the isles of Target to remember exactly what shades I already own.
After buying the same polish one too many times, I started keeping an Evernote list with the names and product numbers of nail polishes that I already have.
Now, when I want to buy a new color, I have a way to make sure that it is actually a new color. I’m sure this technique would work with other items as well.
6. Shared Grocery List
If you live with a roommate or partner and share groceries, starting a shared Evernote grocery list can save a lot of duplicate items purchased at the market. My boyfriend and I use a shared grocery list which we both update throughout the week.
Then, when I shop on Sunday, I know I’ve gotten everything he wants. I also use this list to check things at home before heading to the market to make sure I don’t buy something we already have on hand.
7. Movies You’ve Seen and Books You’ve Read
Ever started watching a movie only to realize halfway through that you’ve seen it before? I have. The same goes for books. Call me crazy (no really, this one is crazy), but I keep an Evernote list of all the movies I’ve seen and books I’ve read.
This way, if I’m thinking of renting a movie on-demand or buying a book, I don’t make the mistake of paying for something I’ve already seen/read (of course if you use the library you don’t have to worry about this as much since everything is free!).
This not only saves money, but time as well.
8. Books You Want to Read
Although I love the library, one downside is that the options for great books to read don’t smack you in the face the same way they do in a beautiful bookstore.
To combat this, I keep an Evernote list of books that I am interested in reading and then request those books from the library. Now, when I go to a bookstore and see a book I can’t wait to read, I resist the urge to buy it and instead write down the title to get from the library later.
Do you use Evernote? How does it help you save money?