Last week, I talked about the importance of saving money and why it is good to create a budget. This week, I’m going to give you some specific ways to save money and reduce your spending.
And they are (…….drumroll please…….):
- Open a Savings Account
The first thing you need to do is to go to your bank and open a savings account. Think about it: how are you going to save money if you have nowhere safe to put it?
- Divide Your Paycheck
Whether during the school year or not, you should be dividing up your paycheck between your checking and savings accounts. A good rule is to put half of your paycheck in your savings account so that it can gain interest and you won’t spend it. You should also be using some of that money to build up an emergency fund. Only use your emergency fund for large, unexpected costs such as taking your car to the mechanic shop.
- Track Your Spending
Meticulously add up your receipts for one month and see how much you spend on non-essential items– like eating out or clothing. You might be spending a lot more than you realized and then try to cut back your spending on those things
- Make Wish Lists
There are several gift-giving occasions throughout the year and family members need ideas for presents. So let them buy the stuff you want but don’t really need for you! Make a Christmas list and a birthday list with those non-essentials that you’ve cut out of your monthly spending.
- Walk Instead of Drive
Don’t drive your car as often. Gas is expensive, so you’ll save money by walking or biking instead (and get a workout!). We are pretty lucky that many places in Winona are within walking distance of campus.
- Use Your Meal Plan
Eat in the dining center on campus if you have a meal plan. You have already paid for those meals so use them up!
- Make Your Own Lunches
If you live off campus, go home for lunch if you classes allow it or pack a lunch and bring it with you to campus. Buying groceries is less expensive than buying food at restaurants or convenience stores.
- Take Care of Your Things
Take care of your things–clothes, shoes, backpack, phone–so they don’t get worn out quickly or broken and need to be replaced often.
I know these tips are pretty basic, but believe me, they work! It might be difficult at first to give up going to Mugby for coffee every morning or keeping yourself from clicking “Add to Cart” while browsing Amazon.com, but you can do it. If you start saving and keeping track of your money now, you future-self will thank you after graduation.