1. Set a goal- big or small. Maybe you’ve been eyeing that cute bag or new camera, maybe its for something big like a house. Goals keep you on track; if you don’t know what you want, you won’t know what to save.
2. Save 10% of your check. Before you even deposit or cash the check, plan to set some aside for emergencies. If you’re like most millennials who deal with banking completely online, try to find you trust and transfer the 10% to them for them to hold onto it. If not, talk to your bank and see if they offer a long term saving account that charges you to withdraw like a Christmas Club account.
3. Invest your money in things that build wealth- this is the most important one! Most of us want the nicest cars, and newest phones but those don’t build wealth. It’s better to drive a used beater car and be a homeowner than have the newest Michael Kors bag and be renting.
4. Ditch the Credit Cards- I know we’ve been told from the start that if you want to build credit, get a card. IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE MEANS TO PAY FOR IT, DON’T EVEN APPLY! If you apply and are denied, that effects your credit negatively. If you want to build your credit, pay bills on time.
5. Don’t be in a rush to pay off federal student loans, if you die, they die with you. Other debts like a house and car will be your family’s responsibility to pay off. Take care of those first. Banks and other lenders do not weigh student loans as heavily as other debts.
6. Budget in CASH! I know this is counter intuitive to what we’ve been told but set your monthly budget and then take it out in cash. Put the cash in labeled envelopes and when the money runs out, you’ve spent your budget. Having that visual of seeing your money dwindle helps reduce unnecessary spending.
7. Don’t be afraid to dumpster dive and do some thrifting. My entire apartment is furnished from Salvation Army and leftovers from students who are moving out. GET. ON. IT.
8. Never be afraid to ask for help. If you are fortunate enough to have a support system that can offer financial support, let them know you need help BEFORE you need it so that they can adjust their budget to help you.
9. We’ve all heard this before but STOP EATING OUT- Cooking can be time consuming and if you’re a working student like most, you are probably exhausted at the end of the day. Set aside a few hours every week to do meal prep. Invest in some good storage containers and use that time to cut up veggies, measure out rice, season your chicken so that when you get home from work, you can throw it all in a pan or the oven and call it a day. Not only does this save you money, but it also brightens your mood.
10. IF you do eat out a lot, or if you’re like me, and get a cup of coffee every day, ask about their loyalty programs. This may seem miniscule but loyalty programs save you money. Even places that you don’t think about like Plato’s Closet offer a loyalty card. If you’re spending money there you may as well get your stamps/punches for the money you’re spending- it adds up!