I used to be a broke college student without bank account. I only worked a couple part time shifts, lived in the dorm, and didn’t have a car. Thus, I didn’t have much expenses to track. However, I got sick of being constantly broke and stuck in the somewhat suffocating environment that was my campus. I wanted to develop financial security. Now I am twenty years old and already have three grand in my bank account. Meanwhile, I still only work part-time and now have a car.
I had to side-track a lot of expenses, cut things out, and prioritize everything. Changing to be a minimalist type of person also helped. But here are the main things I did to save $3,000 in less than a year.
- Cancel Periodic And Recurring Payments:
Automatic bills that happen every month really sucks up your finances. I realized this quickly once I started paying for a $25 dollar monthly weightlifting program. I decided to only keep it for nine months, as I can just print out the workouts and cycle through them. Furthermore, I explored the company and found additional free workouts. Without this monthly bill, I am able to save over $300 a year.
Check all your present expenses: If anyone of them requires that you pay every month, weigh its importance. If you can do without it, then take it off your list.
Always try to go for one-off payments. I recommend using the simple Mint.com app to track your expenses and know which ones are taking a toll on your finances.
2) Go Homemade: Restaurant bills add up quickly — the more food you can make at home, the better off your food budget will be. Plus, making your own meals tends to be healthier than eating out.
I recommend doing meal-prep one or two days a week. Meal-prep is making a large quantity of staple food that can be portioned throughout the week. It helps if you do a staple like meat, which then can be reheated or combined with many other ingredients each day. I do this myself, and it definitely makes everything easier when I am less tempted to go out to eat or order in. This saves me around $30 a week.
3) Cut Down On Your Large Budgets:
It’s important to figure out what expenses you can remove and what expenses you can keep.
Instead of just having a general budget, break it down into categories and track them every month.
For example, your categories could be food, gas, rent, and bills. With each paycheck, set a budget for each one. This also helps seeing the overall picture of how much money you have left-over. At the end of the month, you can decide what to do with the remaining money, which some could go towards savings.
4) Don’t Sacrifice Quality:
In the name of living below our means, we tend to go for the really cheap stuff.
You get what you pay for. If for example, you realize you need a refrigerator, go for quality instead, regardless of the price. Sometimes sacrificing quality for price would cause you to replace that refrigerator multiple times.
The result: 2 cheap low quality refrigerators would turn out to be more expensive than 1 quality one.
5) Stop Buying Coffee
Spending $2-6 dollars on coffee every morning takes its toll on your wallet. By the end of the month it can account to around $60. Rather than going to Starbucks everyday it would pay off to get a nice coffee maker and learn some recipes off of Pinterest. Around this time of year I like to put a bit of eggnog in my coffee instead of other liquid creamer.
Honestly, if you are spending so much money on something you truly don’t need, I don’t want to hear you complaining that you’re broke.