Start Saving Money: Tips for the Adulting and Broke College Student

Adulting is hard. Let's face it, we've all been spending a lot of money to pass the time during this pandemic. Whether its a super awesome product you saw on TikTok that you just HAD to purchase (Squishmallows are an actual addiction), or the fact that you're bored and are using shopping as a crutch to avoid the real stressors in life. But hey, its totally okay to splurge a little! However, I know that I want to live a luxurious life later on, and want to start saving now. So in this article, I am going to give you some life-changing hacks that you should know as an upcoming adult and currently broke college student. 

I asked my great aunt and uncle for advice for saving money. They are both retired, super happy, and living their best lives living in The Villages, Florida (a growing retirement community that feels like a whole new world) and can travel wherever, whenever they want. This was their main advice for saving money as a young adult.

  1. 1. Grocery Shopping- Never Be Hungry!

    I know that we've all done it. We quickly run errands while were out and we end up buying enough snacks and unecessary treats because we are starving. I get it, and its totally okay. But if you want to start saving that moolah, we've GOT to get a little organized.

    You can start off by doing these few things:

    - Keep granola bars in your car/purse. Trust me when I say it'll keep you full while running quick errands and won't let your mind wander to the candy section.

    - Make a list of what you need for the week, and only go when you are low on necessities. This allows you to stick only to the list and technically "plan" your meals for the week. If you eat campus food, only buy a few non-perishable snacks and the absolute necessities (milk, water, toothpaste etc). Bring containers to the dining hall and take some fruit and granola for your breakfast in the morning. Win-win situation.

    - Look for coupons online to help you save money. Shop at stores like Kohls, Walmart, Walgreens, and Dollar Tree where you can save money, compare prices, and get coupons/cash back. This allows you to buy everything you need at discounted prices AND you get points/coupons for future purchases

  2. 2. Set Up a Separate Savings Account

    If you are a working student, this tip is especially for you. If you get a paycheck, set up a new savings account. For every paycheck you get, you can set up automatic deposits so it takes out a certain amount each time and puts it away. Depending on your pay, set aside a certain percentage of what you make into this savings account but make it attainable to have money to live off of.

    For example: If you make $100 a paycheck, set aside 10 percent of your paycheck every time. So this means you'll be getting only $90 per paycheck, and you won't even have to worry about putting money away into savings. When you get a raise, you can raise the percentage a little. In the words of my aunt, "Put money away in automatic deposit—what you don't have, you won't miss."

    ​This teaches you to learn to live off your paycheck but also set aside a little each month to save. Another thing to look into is if your employment offers 401k investment -- signing up for this will allow you to take whatever you can afford to invest. So for every $10 you put away, they match you another $10 in your 401k (if you dont know what a 401k is, I highly recommend you Google it).

  3. 3. Purchasing Stock from Your Employer

    If you work for a big/corporate company and have an opportunity to purchase their stock, definitely look into it—they may offer a discounted price for it, and you can make more money off that investment. They don't always offer this, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

  4. 4. Buying Clothes

    a girl looking through a rack of clothing

    If you need new clothes, download apps like Curtsy or Poshmark. You can sell your old clothes for money back and/or buy slightly used ones for less money. I use this app and love it when I find Nike, Adidas, and other name brand clothes for cheap because they never worn it/didn't fit. Score!

  5. 5. Dont Buy Things at Full Price

    If you're looking to make bigger purchases, try to do some research and wait until the price drops.

    For example, I recently wanted to invest in a Nespresso Machine. I love espresso and was sick of traveling 15 minutes to the nearest Dunkin' Donuts to get my macchiato fix. I did research, not wanting to pay the full $250-$300. Instead I found that QVC was having a bundle deal for the machine, extra pods, and Aerrochino all for $150. Best deal ever!!!

  6. 6. Looking for a Car? Keep This in Mind…

    girl in cute outfit

    Wait until the end of month or end of the year to visit a dealership. Car salesmen are more likely to give you more discounts/money off payments because they are trying to meet their end of the year/month quota and are more likely to be super flexible in order to make a sale. This means you get want you want for a less expensive price and they get to make a sale.

  7. 7. Credit Cards: Only Buy What You Have

    Credit cards can be super tricky, but they are a great tool in the finance world. When looking to buy a credit card, look at certain brands based off their incentives. For instance, if you love traveling, then you would look into credit cards that offer points/rewards towards airline tickets or hotels. However, If you decide to start a credit card, only use it for gas or a type of payment where you know the range of price. This way you are able to pay it off and not miss payments so you can build credit without paying interest. When going out to eat, try not to overspend what you dont have. For example, if you only have 200 in savings, don't spend over $200 on the card. This way you always have enough money to pay it off without racking up interest.

  8. 8. Read up on Investing!

    Investing can be super scary and intimidating—especially to people who don't feel they are good at math or budgeting in general. I recently picked up a book called The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of  by David and Tom Gardner with Selena Maranjian. This book is super informational and gives you multiple investment strategies, easy to understand definitions, and worksheets! I believe that this purchase is so worth the investment (see what I did there?). But seriously, this book is the best way to learn how to invest and slowly start building up your bank account as an adult.

Overall, these tips are surely great information to help you save money, but only YOU can make these decisions and stick to these in order to be successful. Happy saving everyone!