If you are anything like me, saving money is easier said than done especially when you are only earning a starting salary. After paying rent, gas, electric, Internet, groceries, car payments, insurance, etc., you are only left with a pathetic percentage of your once exciting paycheck. This tends to happen to everyone, especially when you’re working your first job, and it’s probably one of the worst feelings in the world.
The good news is, though, no matter how many bills you have to pay per month or how much money you make, you can always start saving money to help bring you out of that position. Saving money is vital to everyday living and you are never too young to start. After all, you never know when you’ll get a flat tire or another emergency may occur where you need extra money you don’t have.
Here are some tips every millennial should use to get in the habit of saving money that have worked the best for me:
Keeping Track of Your Finances
Keeping track of your finances is more of a habit you should get yourself into immediately. By creating a budget, you will always have money for the things you need. You can use an app, a spreadsheet, or even a piece of paper so long as you don’t lose it. You will figure out exactly how much money you’re making, how much you’re spending, and where all of your money is really going.
The more you are aware of your financial situation, the less likely you are to overspend.
Being Able to Say “No”
For me, being able to say “no” is probably the hardest part of saving money. I often go out shopping and find myself in a situation where something I need (or so I think) is on sale so I feel the need to purchase it right then, even if I know I can’t afford it. I think to myself “If I purchase it now, I’ll be saving money in the long run since I’m not purchasing it at full price. If I wait until next week, it might either be sold out or worse – not on sale anymore.” With that logic, I almost always end up purchasing said item and regretting it when I check my bank account the next morning.
Don’t be like me and go out to eat fairly often just because you don’t want to cook or go shopping when you are either bored or emotional. Suck it up and tell yourself “no.” Decline an invitation to go out for dinner and drinks with your best friend and instead, stay home and play a video game or watch a movie. This is a foolproof way of saving money.
Save Your Money Where You Can’t Get to it
All it takes is one slip and you’re shamefully dipping into your savings account. From there, it’s a slippery slope you’ll find hard to break. Rather than saving your money in a savings account where it’s easy and convenient to transfer into your checking account, transfer it to an account you don’t have immediate access to. For example, you can ask your bank to place a “freeze” on your account so you cannot access that money until you ask them to remove the freeze. Another option is to open a savings account with a different bank than your checking account so you can’t transfer funds from account to account.
Try Using Coupons While Shopping
For some reason, millennials seem to be embarrassed or ashamed to use coupons while grocery shopping and to me, that doesn’t make any sense. I look for coupons before I go shopping at any store because, at the end of the transaction, I find great pleasure in hearing that I saved money during the shopping trip. I make it a game to see which shopping trip I can save the most money.
Personally, these two apps have changed my shopping experiences:
- Kroger (Called Fry’s in the Western US) – by shopping at Kroger and using their app, I have access to online coupons, a digital grocery list, sale items, etc. I even earn fuel points for using my Kroger Plus Card, which can then be redeemed for money off each gallon of gas. I even receive paper coupons in the mail just for being a loyal customer
- Target – by using the Target app, which recently joined with the Cartwheel app, I have access to deals and coupons. I can see what items are on sale and scan my barcode at the register to watch the price drop with the coupons I loaded to my account.
Ditch the Coffee Shop and Make Coffee at Home
Being the mother of a young child, I miss out on a lot of sleep with my crazy sleep schedule. Waking up in the morning and heading to my full-time job means I need coffee to function. Every morning for several months, I would head to my favorite local coffee shop, conveniently located around the corner from the office.
Typically my cup of coffee costs around $5 – that’s $25 alone on coffee just for a week. $100 a month spent on coffee sounds insane now that I look back on my frugal spending habits. Now, I pick up a box of (store brand) K-cups for my Keurig at home and that only costs $4.99 and lasts almost two weeks. That’s a huge difference in price for the same thing but made at home.
Let us know what money-saving tips you use and what worked best for you!