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I have been saving since I was 15. I started early. There really wasn't much of a reason for it, other than I was working to make extra spending money, but I was never much of a spender. After working and saving for six years, I've created a nice little lump sum for myself. Now I'm sure that not all people are able to to do what I did, but because I learned early how to treat my money, I found a great way to save and continue to save even while in school. I've created some great habits that I'm sure you've all heard before, but I'm still going to share my resources with you in hopes to help out my fellow university students.
I use Acorns.
Acorns is great because not only does it invest money and help you make some extra money, it works as a great small savings account. Acorns, if you haven't heard of it, is a micro investment app that does all the work for you. You can turn on "Round-Ups." Round-Ups are when you buy something and spend $10.20, they round up to $11 and take that 80 cents. They continue to do that and hold on to your change until it reaches $5 then you invest it. You can also set up a monthly money transfer that can automatically go to Acorns. You can set the amount to be as much as you want. I have mine a $10 a month and round ups, it makes me money, and saves some money away from me so I can pull it out if I ever really need it. (It's also a nice way to dip your toe into the investing world).
I ask myself this question...
Is this worth my time? At my current job, I make $12 an hour answering incoming calls. I look at what I'm going to buy and evaluate if what I'm buying is worth the amount of time I spent making the money. Then if I still find it worth it, then I buy it. This has helped me from spending a lot of money, and I have never regretted my decision. It really puts things into perspective on what is and isn't worth it. I want to buy things all the time, but is that $25 book that I probably won't read worth two hours of my time? No probably not. One thing I want you to keep in mind is that what you find worth your time and what I find worth my time are very different and that is okay. If you find what you're spending worth it, then I support that.
I coupon like crazy.
Shout out to all those store apps. I give a phone number for every place, and Target's Cartwheel is a life saver. I highly recommend downloading the apps of the places you go to most, because they'll save you some major money in the long run. I always always check those coupons that come in the mail like junk, because sometimes they're actually useful and helpful. Don't throw them away before looking at them.
I transfer most of my paychecks to savings.
This one is probably best. I budget like crazy, but what keeps me from spending my money is moving it to my savings as soon as possible. Once it's transferred over, it's harder for me to tell myself transferring over more money makes sense. That way, most of my money stays in my savings, and I only transfer over when needed (usually only when it's time to pay rent).
I buy in bulk.
For things that last a long time, I always buy the more expensive, but ultimately cheaper option. I always buy the biggest bottles of liquor, instead of the cheaper smaller ones. Because the bigger ones last SO MUCH longer and end up saving me so much money in the long run. I also take advantage of those buy 10 and get money off deals for all shelf stable items. I'm a baker, so I buys cake mixes in bulk for the money off since I'll eventually be buying them anyway. This is true for pasta, sauces, canned veggies. It works out great and saves major cash in the long run, even if right at first it seems more expensive. I end up spending way less on food and liquor each month.
I always check the clearance section.
Even if I don't know what I'm needing, or if the clearance section will have anything that I need, I check anyway. Usually, I find some gems. Just yesterday I check it, and they had clearance for damaged ziplock bags. They were $2 cheaper because they were dented in. So I got them, even though I didn't need ziplock bags at that moment, I know I'll need them for lunches and left overs soon. So now I have two, way cheaper, boxes waiting for me than going and getting the more expensive ones at a later time. I walk away empty-handed often from the clearance of any store, but it pays off every once in awhile.
Trust me, these things work, and even chump change added to your savings will help you in the long run. When you're a baby adult, with poor paying jobs and debt, you know every dollar counts. So I suggest saving now, and even if it's only a dollar a month, that's better than nothing!
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