With gas prices rising at a ridiculous rate, we’re all scrambling for ways to save money. Finding a job is the most practical thing to do, but let’s be real—sometimes it’s hard to squeeze in a part time job on top of school, studying, homework, clubs, internships, etc. And for those who already have jobs, it’s a good idea to save your hard earned cash. So Her Campus at UC Irvine compiled a list of easy tips for you to save some extra dough.
1. Keep Your Coins
This is possibly one of my favorite methods of saving cash because it’s the easiest! For all the times you spend money and receive change or find coins laying around, collect it and keep it in a closed jar to watch the coins pile up over time. Before you know it, you’ll have a huge collection to take to Coinstar and cash in your savings. If you want to be exact with your money, take it to the bank and ask for cash.
2. Pack Your Own Lunch
I know I have my lazy days when it’s just so much easier to buy my lunch as opposed to making it, but if I bought a Subway footlong everyday for lunch for 5 days, that’s approximately $20 a week. That $20 could go towards buying a whole supply of bread, meat, cheese, lettuce, and condiments that would last me way more than a week. Spending $5 on lunch doesn’t seem bad, but if you’re doing it often, it will add up. The best way to save money is to pack your own lunch and limit the amount of money you’re spending on eating out.
3. Leave Your Card At Home
Let’s face it, handing over a wad of cash will hurt way more than simply swiping your card. Handling your cash will make you more aware of how much you have and how much you are spending, while carrying your card might actually make you lose track of your charges. On top of that, carrying cash guarantees that you’ll never be charged for an overdraft or little fees that just aren’t worth your money.
4. Make a List
Before you go grocery shopping, be sure to make a list of what you need and shop on a full stomach. Sound silly? Well, when you shop on an empty stomach, you’re more likely to buy unnecessary food that you don’t really need. Studies have shown that shoppers tend to spend 17% less on food when they shop on a full stomach. Be sure to plan your meals ahead of time and know exactly what items you need.
5. Happy Hour
We can’t always restrict ourselves from going out and enjoying ourselves, so when you do, be smart about it. Most places will have a happy hour where appetizers and drinks are discounted. Yardhouse is one of my personal favorites; not only is the food cheap, it also comes in huge portions. So when you want to blow some steam and hang out with your friends there’s no need to spend a fortune on it.
We all know gas prices are ridiculous these days. There’s no way of getting around, so why not be smart and take turns driving to school with a neighborhood friend. Setting up a carpool system is gas efficient and you have the advantage of using the carpool lane!
7. Do it Yourself
There are plenty of things that you can do on your own and save money. Getting your nails done is amazing, but it’s also very expensive. Buying a couple of bottles of nail polish will be cheaper than getting your nails done frequently. Making a daily stop to Starbucks can also add up so make your coffee every morning. A bag of coffee that costs $10-$15 can make plenty cups of coffee for a very long time.
8. Stay in Instead
I know when I go out with my friends I’m always prone to spending money on dinner or drinks, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. It is possible to have fun nights indoors too! When you want some girl time, invite them over and make your own food and drinks. Have bonding time through cooking your favorite dish or doing your nails.
9. Cut Out Coupons
Coupons can be found almost anywhere: newspapers, magazines, the mail, the Internet, etc. So why not use them? If you really think about it, it’s free discounts handed to you. There’s no need to sit for hours cutting out every coupon (like the new show “Extreme Couponing!”), but before you head out to buy something, skim through your mail or the newspaper for a coupon that might be relevant to what you’re going to buy. If you did this every time you shopped for at least one product you’re going to buy, think of how much money you’d be saving!