Do you find yourself daydreaming about warm weather and sunny skies? Do you picture yourself on a towel in the sand soaking up the rays and catching the waves? How about rocking out to your favorite artists’ summer concert tours? You can’t forget about the spontaneous shopping sprees for cute bathing suits and the never-ending selection of sunglasses. Maybe it’s even time for you to start paying back student loans (cue the groans). Whatever the reason may be, you probably need to save for this summer and here are some simple ways to save quickly! You and your wallet will thank me.
1. Save your paycheck.
This may be the most common way to save your cash, but I promise you, it does wonders. No matter the amount of your paycheck, 20% of it should be set aside for future or emergency use. If you’d like to have it in cash and accessible, set aside an envelope that you place the cash in each paycheck. Be sure to place it in a spot that is safe, private, and that you‘ll remember when you do need the money. If you are too worried about cash burning a hole in your pocket, set up a separate savings account at your bank. Set-up is easy, and you can even get the money directly deposited into that account so it doesn’t tempt you!
Example: You make $100 per week.
$20 saved x 4 weeks per month = $80 per month saved!
2. Don’t binge at the bars.
Everyone enjoys a fun night out, but you and your bank account might be hurting the next morning. A typical mixed at a bar costs $3.50, and that multiples with each drink you have. Before you know it, your tab racks up leaving you without money for this week’s groceries! I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go out, but try some alternatives to make you and your money happy.
Drink before you hit the bars, but not too much. You still want to get in!
Only go out on cheap draft nights or when bar specials are to your liking (hello, Thursday Ladies’ Night at Pawpurr’s).
Bat your eyes for a cutie that will buy you (and maybe your friends!) a round or two, just remember to be safe and make sure you get handed the drink directly from the bartender.
Enjoy a night with your friends without drinking. Offer to be a DD for everyone. Not only are you not spending money, you’re keeping your friends safe and they might also throw in some cash for doing a good deed.
Example: You normally go out twice a week and get two drinks each night.
$3.50 x 2 drinks x 2 nights = $14 per week.
$14 saved by not drinking at the bars x 4 weeks per month = $56 per month saved!
3. Dodge the drunken food.
As tempting as Big Mama’s, Chicken and Waffle, and Munchbox may be, use your will power to walk home for a snack. When you’re drunk, you don’t realize the amount of dollars you’re dropping for a late night craving. Many meals and combos cost at least $5.00, and if you eat it twice a week, your money will disappear. Save yourself the cash, calories, and long lines by strolling back to your own kitchen.
Example: $10.00 per week for drunk food x 4 weeks per month = $40.00 per month saved!
4. Skip fast food and dining out.
Like I said in #3, food can be a big reason for loss of money. Even dropping one Chipotle run per week can save you $6.67! Buying food at the grocery store also decreases your total cost of food, since labor isn’t directly involved. At Ohio University, we have lots of freshmen with dining hall privileges and extra swipes. Befriend them. If even one meal a week is free, you’re saving valuable money and you get a wide array of choices at each dining hall, plus a new friend or two.
Example: $6.67 (skipping Chipotle) once a week x 4 weeks per month = $26.68 saved per month!
5. Take a walk.
If you are one of the lucky ones who are allowed a car on campus, you know how much gas is around town, and that it sure isn’t cheap. As it warms up, it will be more bearable to walk or bike to class, so take advantage of that option. You’ll not only save money on gas, but you’ll burn calories and enjoy the beautiful sights OU has to offer. Try to only make one necessary trip per week, such as going to Walmart, Kroger, and Petsmart all in one day instead of three separate trips.
Bonus: If you don’t have a car on campus, but still pay for insurance, talk to your agency about taking your coverage down to liability while you’re away and the car is in your driveway. Normally my bill is $120 per month, but while I am at school, it is only about $10! (Just be sure to call the agency when you do go home so you are protected in case of an accident!) Talk about savings!
Example: $5.00 per week for gas x 4 weeks per month = $20.00 per month saved! (Plus more if you’re eligible for the car insurance savings!)
6. Accept your natural beauty.
In preparation for the beach, many college-aged women spend hours getting a tan, but those rays can be costly; a typical package runs $40.00 per month! Don’t forget the summer sandal pedicure and fresh highlights! A trip to the salon can cost up to $100 plus tip! Vouch for natural sun or tanning lotion, a DIY pedicure, and lemon juice highlights! Your body will love you!
Example: $40 tanning package and $100 salon trip = $140.00 you could be saving!
In one month, you can save $362.68 just by keeping in mind these easy tips! That’s enough for a round trip flight to your favorite destination or 4 concerts! Saving is easy; you just have to stick to it! Happy summer savings, Bobcats!