If you’re anything like me, saving money is hard… especially in college. And I mean difficult. It’s like I get a paycheck, and my bank account is in great condition—but what about those new shoes I’ve been wanting? Or those grown out roots that need to get done? But I also need to grocery shop, and oh- can’t forget about my $20 Tuesdays at my favorite college bar, and oh no…the dreaded credit card bill!
This summer after starting a new job, I figured it was the perfect time to start trying to put aside some money, so I’m not constantly living that “paycheck to paycheck” lifestyle everyone dreads. I can now say with my bartending and serving jobs, I no longer have to live that “paycheck to paycheck” lifestyle. Even with making so much money at those jobs, it gets hard to try and budget your money. Here are some ways to make it easier (and they’re actually realistic!):
It’s not rocket science, but I basically call it the 80/40 rule. If my paycheck is higher, I’ll take out $80. If my paycheck is smaller than usual, I’ll take out $40.
After I take out either $80 or $40, I then split that in half ($20 and $20 OR $40 and $40). I put half in an envelope titled “savings” and the other half in an envelope titled “shopping”. You can save a lot of money doing this!
The $5 bills
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but save those $5 bills! Think of all the times just this month you’ve gotten a $5 bill. You’ve probably at least had 20–that’s $100 you could have saved. It’s also a lot easier to keep your hands off $5 vs. $20.
Actually make a grocery list
And by actually, I mean actually make one. Don’t lie–you probably don’t make a detailed grocery list when you go to the store. Maybe you write a few things down, but a lot of what you’re buying is impulse (which racks up $$$ quickly). Sit down and take a few minutes to plan out meals for the week and what you need. Snacks you know you’ll eat–it will save you money, and also time!
“If not this, then that”
This is a head game I made up that actually works for me. If you’re about to pass a Starbucks and spend $10 on a bagel and coffee but you know you want to order food later that night (that will also cost around that much), pick one! I know it seems stupid, but that way you can still have one thing you want, and you saved yourself some money. “If I don’t get Starbucks today, I can order food later tonight.”
Save your coins
Again, this may seem cliché, but it really works. If you save all of your coins and turn them in after a month, you might be surprised. Even if it’s only $20, that’s $20 you didn’t have before.
When in doubt, plan it out
If worse comes to worst and you can’t seem to stick to any of these, at least try and plan out when you know you’re going to be spending a lot of money. Don’t go into a weekend you know you’re going to be spending a lot of money with $50.00–trust me I’ve tried it, and it never ends well.
Let’s just say I’m no expert in saving money. Like my mom always says “you make it, you spend it”…and ain’t that the truth! With that being said, these are still do-able tricks and saving hacks, and it’s so rewarding not having to pull out of your bank account/debit card every time you want to spend money.