Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator & Purdue Alumna
I love being thrifty and saving money. Who doesn’t?! I have a whole list of things, big and small, that I do to save money every day/week/month/year and I enjoy writing about those things and then sharing them with you! In honor of America Saves Week (on Twitter follow #ASW2015) starting next week, I’ve rounded up my favorite ways to save money so I can share them with you…and none of them include cutting out your coffee habit (even if everyone says you should!) or turning down your thermostat (because you already know you should do that).
While I was in college, half of my closet was purchased at the local Goodwill, and even after graduating a majority of it still is. Spending exorbitant amounts of money on clothes just isn’t reasonable all the time, especially if you’re trying to save money. One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday is to make a mug of hot tea and hit the thrift shops in town. It takes all daybut very little money. And it’s fun! If you’re patient and willing not to pay too close attention to the size label on a piece of clothing, you can find really great outfits at these shops. I also buy a lot of my furniture from thrift shops too because of great deals and unique styles that fit me.
Have a Meal Plan & Actually Eat Those Meals
Making up a meal plan for the week may sound lame because it’s something that only moms do (or is that just mine?) but it’s incredibly helpful when putting together a grocery list. Plan out your meals for the coming week one night (this may take an hour the first time). Then go grocery shopping the next day and do any prep (i.e. wash your fruits and veggies) you need to do the same day so you don’t have to worry about it later. Keeping a menu on your fridge can help you stay consistent with this also. Plus having your meal plan stare you in the face will really guilt you out of ordering that pizza next Tuesday…
Track Your Spending
How are you supposed to know where you need to cut back on your spending if you don’t know where you’re spending? I use Mint, but there are a lot of other options out there for tracking your spending. There’s also the good old pen-and-paper method or spreadsheet on your computer; you’ll want to hang onto your receipts if you plan on going this route.
Always Put Money in Savings First
This is also commonly known as “paying yourself first.” That phrase never made sense to me though because I want to pay myself in shoes and burritos…but that doesn’t put money in savings. But if you think of it as paying your future first, that puts it in perspective. It can be hard to put away money every month if you don’t have something you’re saving for though. So instead of thinking about how many burritos or pairs of shoes I can buy with the money I need to save, I started to think about what I wanted to save towards in my future. Maybe you want to study abroad next year or in two years complete a for your professional development (i.e. that dream internship of yours that happens to be unpaid); save towards that future first…and buy burritos later.
What are your favorite ways to save? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to follow #ASW2015 on Twitter for more savings tips next week!