I would hope that I’m not alone when I say that I love saving money. As a college student with a part-time job, I don’t have a lot of money to waste. But there are things I need or want that cost money. So rather than spend my entire bank account, I have developed some tips and tricks that I swear by to save me (and hopefully you) some money.
- The dollar store is your friend- I absolutely love the dollar store. I know it can get a bad reputation, but there are things that are just as good as a name-brand for a fraction of the cost. Some of my favorite beauty products have come from the dollar store. Take advantage of a dollar store near you. What’s there may surprise you, and you may find a much cheaper option than at another store.
- Don’t be ashamed to look at clearance- Discounted items rock! It doesn’t matter what store I’m in, I’ll look through the clearance section. Sometimes I find items I needed, and sometimes I find items that have a deal that’s way too good to pass up.
- Shop secondhand when possible- One of my hobbies is watching movies. As a result, I have a decently extensive movie collection. However, I cannot afford to pay for $20 movies on a minimum-wage paycheck. So, I go to a used movie store (Disc Replay if you’re in Indianapolis), or I ask for them for presents. I also look through the discount bins at like Walmart to see what movies I would be interested in for a cheaper price. I also do this with clothes. I go through places like Goodwill or Plato’s Closet to find deals. Value isn’t tarnished simply because it was used prior to you owning it.
- Sign up for coupons from places you frequently visit- If it’s somewhere you go frequently, whether in-store or online, you can afford to have coupons sent to your email. For example, I am subscribed to Ulta, Shutterfly, Snapfish (get competing photo deals), Michael’s, and eBay among others. Most of the time, if the coupons are not applicable to me, I delete them from my inbox. But if they’re useful, I keep them and try to use them. For example, I got an email the other day about ten free prints and free shipping from Snapfish. Now, printing photos doesn’t cost all that much, but it was something that I just hadn’t gotten around to doing. So with that coupon, it didn’t cost me a thing. All I had to do was select which photos I wanted printed and in what size.
- Coupons in general are great-I seriously don’t get why there is such a stigma against using coupons. Oh, I can save money? You can guarantee I’m going to use that! I had a coupon over the weekend for $1 off any item from a specific makeup brand. I chose a nice but super cheap lipstick. With the coupon, it cost me a little over $1 for it!
- Budget in a way that works for you- You can still follow all these other tips and still spend all your money. So this tip is probably the most important. For me, I don’t carry cash all that often because my paycheck is a direct deposit, and there are no ATMs of my bank in this area, so withdrawing cash is a hassle. Instead, I set myself a limit of what I can spend when I’m out, and I check my bank account frequently through the app to make sure that I stay within that budget. I know some people swear by the envelope method (learn about it here). Really my best encouragement is to find what works best for you and stick to it. You can’t buy anything if you don’t have any money.
- Clean out unnecessary expenses- This could be a gym membership you haven’t gone to since January when you made your resolution. It could be a Spotify account that you don’t use. If it’s something that you haven’t used in at least a month, is it really worth it? I get that life gets in the way, so either work your time to make that expense worthwhile or get rid of the expense.
- Only spend money AFTER your bills and other necessary expense are paid- Fortunately, I don’t have a lot of bills, but I still have some other necessary expenses. Usually, if I need to get gas for my car or buy groceries, those are the first things I spend my paycheck on. Your living expenses come before superficial expenses. You need to have money to feed yourself and take care of you and your household before other things can happen.
- Download extensions on your browser- My favorite extension is Honey. It automatically finds coupons for you, and usually all you have to do is click the button to apply coupons. This is for Google Chrome (download it here), but I know there are others for other browsers as well. RetailMeNot is a pretty popular one as well. I like Honey the best because there is a feature where you can add it to your Drop List. What this does is watch that object for price drops. When it gets below a certain point within your set time frame, you’ll get an email from Honey informing you of what the price is. You don’t have to constantly check on that object; Honey will just tell you.
- Lastly, WAIT- If it’s something you may not have the budget for right now, and it’s not a necessary expense, wait to buy it. Make it the first priority after your next round of bills are paid. Anything worth having is worth waiting for.
I hope these tips help save you money. I know they definitely work for me! If you have any other tips, feel free to comment on here or share them with me. I always love to hear from my readers!
Let me know if you have any thoughts or comments!