For me, one of the most difficult things to do is to save money. I always had the idea that the best way to save money was to just take a certain amount out of my paycheck each month and put it into savings. Yes that works (so if you are doing that way to go!) but personally, it didn’t work for me. In the past, there have been times where I would get a paycheck, and instead of taking that specific amount of money out for saving, well (argh) I would spend it.
Four top picks to reduce your monthly expenses:
So what I have been doing instead is cutting the cost of the things I spend money on. Then at the end of the month when I look at my bank account I have a lot more money than anticipated and feel compelled to save.
Budgeting is crucial when saving money, so make sure you create a budget and stick to it. I am going to share with you some of the things you can cut out of your monthly expenses and ways to work around that.
If you want to watch a T.V series, movie, documentary, etc. go to the library and rent it. I know some of you are probably reading this and thinking ‘I could never get rid of Netflix/Hulu’ and believe me I thought the same too. But when I broke the costs down, I came to find that if I just took a trip to the library instead of paying for online streaming, I would have an extra $144 at the end of the year.
Something important to remember when saving money is that every dollar counts. In other terms: if you put $5 into your savings account, you have $5, even though the amount is small it is still more than what you started with.
If you are a regular coffee drinker, like me, you know that the regular trip to the coffee shop can add up. For the sake of this blog, let’s say everyday you spend $3 on a cup of coffee, in the moment $3 doesn’t seem like much at all. But if you look at the bigger picture, spending $3 dollars on coffee everyday for 1 year will cost you $1,095! That far too large of a number to be spent on coffee.
Here is an alternative option: buy a French press, which is a press coffee pot. It is super simple to use, all you do is add coffee grounds to the bottom, hot water to the top, and press down on the coffee plunger. Just like that you have your coffee.
Buying a French press will cost you anywhere between $5-$40, depending on the size, brand, and preference. When it comes to buying the coffee, let’s say you buy a 33.9 oz can of ground coffee for $8.99. You can make up to 270 6oz. cups of coffee. It is pretty apparent that this can greatly cut down some costs for coffee drinkers!
Another way you can cut down your monthly costs is to become a do-it-yourself pro. DIY has become an extremely popular trend. You can look for ideas on websites like Pinterest. I have made room décor, taken old clothes and made them into something new and even storage bins for my room.
The whole concept of DIY is taking old things you already have and turning them into something new and more useful. Instead of going out to buy new clothes, room décor, storage, or whatever it may be see if it can be made from old stuff you already have.
Other practices I recommend are:
• Shop discount stores (aka the dollar store)
• Keep your student ID on you at all times and ask for student discounts
• Buy generic brands
• Become an extreme coupon-er (well, maybe not so extreme) but look for coupons before purchasing anything. There are apps that you can use to find coupons, my favorite is RetailMeNot.
• Having trouble sticking to your budget? Buy a prepaid card. That way you can stick to your budget and not spend more money than intended.
• Can’t afford monthly student loan payments? Register for an iontuition account, and make sure you are on the payment plan that best suits your financial situation. Many times students are on plans that are costing them too much monthly.
Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult; you just have to be prepared to adopt alternative lifestyle choices.
As Blogger and budget aficionado, Tara K. helps students across the country enhance their knowledge about money management and everyday life. She is constantly looking for new ideas to transform into great advice for you. Pursuing a journalism major, Tara K. has a passion for the art of inquiry, which is conveyed through her writing.