I have accepted a new challenge for this summer: saving money. I am saving up for a study abroad trip and I have found a few ways that have worked for me so far in cutting back my spending habits. Here are some tips on saving money that have worked for me and may possibly work for you to no matter how much you are trying to save.
1. Make a budget
if you know there are things that you can't live without this summer, make a budget and set aside money for specific items. It may be tempting to cut into your clothing budget when you run out of money for your coffee budget, but resist temptation! if you budget $20 a week for coffee and $50 a month for clothes, stick to it! If you absolutely find that one budget runs out before another, maybe you should readjust your budgets to match the spending that you are actually doing.
2. Save at least half of each pay check.
A standard rule of thumb that I set for myself is to save at least half of each of my paychecks. If you absolutely cannot swing putting away half of each check because you need the money for gas, food, or any other real necessity, then that's okay! Start by saving 10% and then working your way up from there as you are able to (by getting more hours at work, a raise, ect..)
3. Don't be afraid to say no to going out.
If your friends constantly ask if you want to go out and do activities that require spending money, don't be afraid to remind them that you are trying to save! Saving money is very difficult and sometimes it helps having your friends or family's support. Ask if you can stay in a do a movie night once and a while rather than going out for dinner, your friends will understand!
4. Don't turn down extra shifts or hours at work
This only applies if you have a job, but don't turn down extra shifts at work. If your manager calls and asks if you can pick up an extra shift for the week, say yes. At the time it sucks, but when you get your paycheck it all finally seems worth it. An extra 40-60 dollars on your next check will surely help you save money.
5. Put your saved money somewhere where it won't tempt you.
If you plan on leaving your saved money in your checking account, you will spend it. Instead put your money somewhere like a savings account, that way it is a bit harder to access for easy and quick spending. You can even try other methods too - I used to give my parents cash and ask them to hide it from me, they would save it and when I finally asked for it, I had more than I thought I would. Also, once your saved money is put aside, it is off limits until you reach your goal.
6. Stick with it.
If you give up on saving money, you will never reach your goal. You will also never form life long saving habits that can help you in adult life when you can't spend money as freely as you once could.
Give these tips a try the next time you decide to save money. They helped me and maybe they can help you too.