We’ve all heard of the trend on TikTok where girls talk about how they view their spending habits and decisions: AKA Girl Math. For example, if you pay for something with cash, it’s free, or if you return something you bought, you actually just made money. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have these exact same thoughts to rationalize some of my purchases. But, in an effort to save more money, reduce my expenses, and minimize impulse purchases, I’ve had to develop some strategies to be more financially responsible. Here, I bring you Girl Math *Financially Responsible Edition.*
If you buy it with your credit card points, it’s free.
Cash, contrary to what I would like to believe, is still real money. But, using money you made for completing transactions you would be making anyways, that’s debatable. One of the biggest steps towards financial responsibility I’ve taken this year is opening a credit card with perks and benefits that suit my needs. For me, that card is Discover Student, where every quarter you can earn cashback on rotating categories such as Gas, Amazon, Target, and digital wallet purchases. Since these are things I would be buying anyways, it makes total sense to get a card where I could be earning cashback in the process.
If it didn’t hit your bank account, your bank account won’t take a hit.
This one is for my waitress besties out there, specifically the ones that leave their shift with a stack of cash determined to deposit in the bank the next day. The best thing I’ve done when it comes to money anxiety is set up cash envelopes where, after my shift, I divide up my earnings into envelopes based on expenses I know are upcoming. For example, If I want to buy my friend a birthday present in a couple weeks, I put a little bit of money away each week until I hit $50. By doing that, I reduce the feeling of “holy crap my bank account is going to take a huge hit” because guess what besties, that money was never there. Huge disclaimer though, I wouldn’t do this for extremely large purchases. If you are saving for something like that, I would put your money into some sort of high yield savings situation.
Apps Apps Apps
Besties. If you aren’t using apps to earn points getting your favorite sweet treats, you are losing money. Instead of using your debit card to buy you Dunkin iced coffee, load your money into the Dunkin app and pay through the app. By doing this, you are earning points that you can later redeem for free coffee. Also, sometimes companies put out special deals or discounts, but only to people that have the app. This trick doesn’t stop at sweet treats. Clothing brands also use apps where members can get exclusive deals and discounts. In the same vein, do everything you can to take advantage of student discounts. Princess Polly, for example, gives you 10% off any purchase just for verifying you are a student.
Keep that car cash babes.
If you ever get change back at the store or going through a drive through, I recommend keeping a small container or ziploc bag in your car where you can put the random coins and dollar bills. This stash is perfect for car washes, air/vacuums, gas station sodas, or anything of that sort. It’s not like this money is fake or anything, it just prevents you from having to use your debit card or larger bills for tiny purchases.
When you don’t buy something, you’re saving money
Like most girls, I am a victim of impulse buying, specifically on things (mostly clothes) that I definitely do not need. Especially considering the high cost of everything right now, it’s really not something I can afford. So, when I see something that I think I really want, like a new sweatshirt or something, I add it to a list in my notes app. By the end of the month, if I’ve been good with my spending, I pick one (maybe two) things from the list to order for myself. What’s crazy is that by the end of the month, usually at least half of the things on the list, I don’t even want anymore. So, because I didn’t buy something I would end up not even liking, I’m saving money.
It goes without saying that these rules are hard to follow all of the time. If you’re anything like me, you’ll inevitably end up using traditional girl math to justify your strawberry acai refresher. But, if you can at least focus on these elevated girl math tips some of the time, you’ll feel so much more financially empowered.