I don’t know about you, but I am terrible at saving money. For a while I was transferring some of the already small paychecks from working during the semester, but it isn’t anywhere near what I could be saving. I have so many plans to travel in the future: spring break, study abroad, and any trips that might pop up along the way. However, these trips don’t come out of nowhere. They require planning and if it’s costly, months of saving in advance. For example, exactly one year from now I plan to study abroad, however I have flights to pay for, spending money to have, and any other expenses that come along the way. With this being such a big trip, this involves saying months in advance. With this in mind, I have set a few guidelines for myself this semester based on last semester’s spending’s!
1. Less eating at restaurants/takeout/fast food
Whenever I’m feeling too lazy to cook in my apartment or lacking in groceries or have a craving I just can’t satisfy, I would go and buy food. Not only is this incredibly unhealthy, but it’s also breaking the bank.
2. Less online shopping
I’ll tell you what, I can never resist a good sale. It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s great to save money every now and then on something that would otherwise be out of your budget, but not when you’re jumping at every sale you see, especially when it’s not something you need.
3. Pack snacks during the day to keep yourself from hitting up the vending machines
This semester I don’t have time to eat lunch on two days of the week due to my schedule, so I have been packing snacks in cheap, reusable containers! I typically will pack a handful of strawberries, a handful of raspberries, an orange, a granola bar and some cheddar crackers. This way I’m satisfying my sweet tooth with the fruit and keeping it healthy as opposed to high sodium snacks often found in vending machines.
4. Only using your debit/credit card for things you really need
I don’t normally carry much cash on me, so I am normally swiping my debit card left and right since it’s accessible to me and easy to use. In a blink of an eye, the money in your account dwindles and all of a sudden, you’re wondering where all your money went. This tip is essentially the “umbrella” tip of them all, since that’s often my main form of payment.
5. Put a small chunk of your paycheck each week into your savings
For those of you who have jobs on campus, you have a certain amount of money each week or in my case, every other week, coming into your checking account. Once you learn around how much you’re spending every week, you can also figure out how much of your paycheck you don’t need in your checking and can transfer it to your savings. Another thing I like to do is check how much I have in my checking prior to the check being deposited and think of a lower amount I would be comfortable with having in there. I take the difference and transfer that into my savings.
While these may be some small changes you can make to your money saving techniques, they will over time make a big difference! Always remember the long-term return on investment that comes with small changes like these. While it may not seem like a lot now, a year from now you’ll have saved more money than you may have without the small savings changes you made!