9 Easy Ways to Stop Wasting Your Money

We’re all familiar with the lament of the broke college student – the one who frequently complains about having “no money,” and yet somehow finds their way to the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru every morning and the Walmart clothing department before every register. Sure, the occasional splurge can be harmless, but once splurging becomes a routine, you enter a slippery slope that can lead from being the broke college student to being the post-grad who can’t pay rent but has a sick assortment of crop tops from Forever 21.

Here are some easy ways to reclaim control of your wallet:

  1. Stop buying bottled beverages. This includes pretty much everything from your morning iced coffee run to your daily Diet Coke from the Bison. It may be easy to drop $3 here and there to get your caffeine fix, but think about how quickly this adds up. Instead, try to brew your own coffee in the mornings and carry a reusable water bottle during the day – you’ll save yourself tons of time and money (and help out the environment too).
  2. Stop being the overly-generous friend. Also known as the friend who treats at the Flyson when everyone else forgets their ID. There’s nothing wrong with admitting to the group that you’re trying to keep your expenditures in check and don’t want to splurge on another dinner out this week. Additionally, if you end up covering the cost of someone else’s meal, don’t be afraid to use Venmo’s charge feature to make sure you get paid back!
  3. Stop buying brand name necessities. You know that collection of cold medicine, ibuprofen, and bandages you keep in your cabinet? Purchasing the generic versions of these items can save you almost half of the money you would have spent on the brand name equivalents. Trust us – the generics work just as well.
  4. Make a list before you go to the grocery store. Only include things you actually need, and only buy what’s included on the list. Wandering the aisles of Giant with an empty stomach and no direction is a dangerous game that could end with four bags of Goldfish crackers, string cheese, and a cookie cake.
  5. Stop buying clothes that only last for two wash cycles. You know which ones I’m talking about…for example, the sequined top that you probably would have ignored if it hadn’t been hanging on the 40% off rack? Just because an item is cheap doesn’t mean it’s worth your money. In the long run, you’re better off buying one well-made article of clothing instead of three ratchet weekend pieces.
  1. Pause before making any purchase. Oftentimes it is too easy to throw money away on impulse buys. To prevent a regrettable purchase, next time you are considering buying a $20 item imagine this: would you rather have someone hand you that item, or a $20 bill? If you’d prefer the latter, put the item down and walk away. You don’t need it.
  2. Be honest with yourself about your spending habits. Check your credit card transaction history regularly: if reading over each thing you’ve purchased this month sounds like something you feel reluctant to do, it may be time to reevaluate your spending habits. To ease this credit-induced burden, try using cash to buy things whenever possible; doing so eliminates the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality of card purchases.
  3. Don’t buy a new outfit for every date function. Share your closet with your friends, and have them do the same. If you are really looking to switch things up, try thrift shopping for a new outfit. It’s cheaper, better for the environment, and more original than mail ordering a seasonal, wear-once romper.
  4. Stop making excuses! Don’t make reckless purchases just because you’re bored, sad, or stressed; doing so only adds to your troubles. When you’re feeling some type of way, try to channel your feelings into a journal or trusted friend instead of punching your credit card number into the Amazon Prime window. Doing so will save you from an inevitable purchase-hangover.

When it comes to protecting your piggy bank, the bottom line is to keep your eyes on the prize. In one, five, or ten years, what will your money be better used for? Whether that means an apartment, a dream vacation, tuition for grad school, or a new work wardrobe, keeping your focus on the long term is key when it comes to