How to Save Money

You have to admit that February isn’t the most exciting month.  It signifies Valentine’s Day and Black History Month.  The weather is cold and dreary and you start to have a ton of work.  It’s also usually the month when the money you made this summer starts to run dry yet you want and need to buy new beach wear for your upcoming spring break trip.  When I checked my mailbox today I found an envelope from my mom, and while I hoped that maybe it would be some sort of pick me up like money or a nice note, it was an envelope filled with magazine clips on how to save money and spend less..along with the note “FYI, read carefully! Luv, Mom.”  You’d think that being in Hamilton, New York there wouldn’t be that much to spend money on, but for some reason I find it hard to stop spending.  Gas, eating out, groceries, online shopping, those Sunday morning trips to Dunkin..it all adds up.  When your parents begin slowly cutting you off, you know it’s time to actually start learning how to save.  Here are a few ways to stay on a budget:

  1. Generic brands.  For example, instead of buying Neutrogena Makeup Remover Towelettes, try the Kinney Brand.  While Kinney’s are definitely soapier, they get the job done…and for a few dollars cheaper!  When it comes to groceries, try Price Chopper lettuce instead of Olivia’s Organic..okay so Price Chopper lettuce is not really appealing, but when you’re trying to save money you won’t see, or taste, much of a difference.
  2. Eat in! Buying groceries is cheaper than going out to eat..even if it’s just Dunkin Donuts.  Keep eating out or getting take-out to 2 times a week max and you’ll notice a big difference in your wallet.
  3. Do it yourself.  This one is hard for girls.  It’s tempting to want to go get waxes, highlights, hair
    treatments, and manicures..but splurging this much should really only be for special occasions.  For example, getting a Keratin Hair treatment costs about $300 in a salon.  While it is the most amazing treatment for wavy/curly hair, college students can’t get this done very often.  Luckily, there’s a new product that can help for the months in between, called Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30 Day Smoothing Kit and it’s only $12.50 at drugstores.  Obviously it won’t be the same as the salon, but it still helps keep your hair frizz free and shiny for the time being!  Check out the March issue of People Magazine for other noteworthy beauty substitutions.  
  4. Coupons.  I’m not even talking about the ones you cut out in magazines, those are great, but take way too much time to find.  It’s more realistic to sign up for Living Social Deals or Groupon.  These sites send you amazing deals; all you have to do is buy the coupon for the listed discounted price.  So, instead of paying $300 for a Keratin treatment, you can sign up for your city’s Living Social Deals and easily get the treatment at a nice salon for $150 (I’ve done it!).  
  5. Be realistic..you do not want to wear your silk Alice and Olivia top to a frat party.  While I adore shopbop.com, it’s ridiculous to buy such nice clothes for college parties..they will just get ruined, or at least need to be dry cleaned..and in that case there is no dry cleaner in Hamilton, unless you have Bizzy Bodies, which again takes awhile.  Instead, try sites like Asos.com, Nastygal.com, forever 21, and Lulus.com for cheap but cute dresses, skirts, and tops.  At least you won’t feel as guilty when you find dirt smeared all over your white dress because 1) you can wash it yourself and 2) if the stains don’t come out you will only be losing about $30 as opposed to $200 so it’s not that big of a deal if it’s ruined.