Saving some cash here and there.
I don’t know if you can identify with this or not, but does it sometimes happen to you that you get caught spending $3.50 for a turtle mocha every morning, or buying a snack on campus, etc, and then figure out that throughout your whole week, with small things here and there, you spent like $50 bucks!?
It used to happen to me often. Sometimes when laziness would kick in and I wouldn’t feel like cooking a meal at home, I would settle for a sandwich at Stomping Grounds or those Larabars that are extremely overpriced in convenience stores around campus. What have I learned? Spending more money throughout the week is a consequence of being unprepared. Usually when I think ahead better to what I’ll be doing or what I’ll need throughout my day, I can bring stuff from home and save myself some cash by not making those impulse buys for the sake of hunger.
From some time onwards I’ve become increasingly aware of my expenses in ways I didn’t before. I guess it’s all about feeling like I have some more responsibilities now that I didn’t before. For example, I’ve started to pay some loans. Some of the ways I’ve become more mindful are:
1. Sacrificing those coffees, hot chocolates, and pumpkin spice lattes throughout my day that become so easy to succumb to when it’s this cold outside and you see everyone else with one in hand. But the reality is that you’re not doing yourself any favors by buying one almost everyday. If you can make at home, make at home! Otherwise, think that by not wasting at least $3.50 (sometimes more!) a day, you’ll be saving like $25 bucks at the end of the week. And those are some $25 bucks you didn’t have before! (For movies, dinner out, etc).
2. Thinking ahead to the rest of your day helps you make better choices in terms of what to pack for on the way out the door in the morning. For some of you who have the meal plan, good for you! But for those of us who don’t anymore, the best thing is to brown bag that lunch, folks! And sadly, sometimes even dinner. Lol. It all depends if you know you won’t make it back home all day until late in the evening. Also, pack snacks, too. When you’re feeling extremely hungry and there’s nothing around to eat, that’s when you’ll be making those impulse hot chocolate + muffin buys.
3. Grocery shop with a list! The genius way I make it in and out of the grocery store in 45 minutes with 10 bags of groceries. I usually shop on Fridays (Incredible time to go to Hy-Vee and get a ton of free samples!) after coming back from class and reviewing my cook books. I usually plan ahead to what I want to make, and then write the list of ingredients I don’t have on hand already, as well as the extras that I always need; such as milk, cereal, snacks, fruits, etc. Then come Saturday and Sunday, when I have time to cook something up, I have all the ingredients on hand already. Plus, I try to cook something that will last me a couple of days so I can have leftovers to brown-bag throughout the week. 😉
4. I try to reduce the number of my spontaneous trips to Target. Quite an undertaking, if you ask me. Target, with its incredible sales and cute clothes will be the death of me one of these days. Therefore, I try to stay away from it, unless I’m prepared with an idea in mind of whatever it is that I need. Try to limit your purchases to such things.
5. Whatever you do, avoid late fees and penalties. You rented that book in the library three weeks ago? Return it before you receive a late fee in your U-Bill. You rented The Bling Ring on Red Box but haven’t returned it? That’s three dollars you don’t have anymore for laundry. Try to be as organized as you can and write out in your planner whenever something borrowed/rented is due to be returned to avoid unnecessary fees.
Do you have any other ideas on how to save money day-to-day?