I have never been very good with money. I work hard for my money and enjoy the feeling of having money, but I end up blowing through my paychecks pretty quickly. I pay my bills and my rent and then tend to go a little nuts at Target buying fun things that I don't necessarily need. In the past couple months, I've gotten better at my money-related decisions and sticking to my savings goals. And it's about time, as I will be entering the real world in a year and need to be better prepared to fully support myself.
I've followed these rules in the past eight months to be better about money, and hopefully they'll help you save some more bucks, too.
1. Buy toiletries in bulk.
Shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, tampons, pads, they're all so much cheaper if you go to Costco and buy a three-months supply at a time.
2. Buy men's razors and shaving cream.
Don't even get me started on the insane markup on women's shaving products. Just because it's pink we have to pay two more dollars? Plus, men's razors are designed for a closer shave, so you're better off all around.
3. If you're affiliated and financially able, pay all your dues at one time.
I've been on a payment plan for the last three years of my sorority affiliation, but this year I decided to pay for my entire semester all at once. When I was on my payment plan, I always forgot about the last one and then was in a bit of pickle when I had to come up for the extra cash. Paying for it all once eliminates unnecessary stress throughout the semester.
4. Limit the amount of monthly subscriptions you have.
It may not seem like a lot of money, but if you pay for Netflix, Apple Music, Ipsy, etc. every month, that eight-to-10 dollars each can add up. Look into alternate free options for your music and entertainment that are a little less commitment for your wallet (YouTube has endless free, fun.) And honestly, who really has the time for all of that during the semester?
5. Set a savings goal for every paycheck.
I take the first number of my paycheck and add a zero to the end and that's the minimum amount I transfer into my savings account per pay period. (i.e: a $400 paycheck means I put at least $40 into my savings) If I am able to, I always put more in, but this goal keeps me accountable and allows me to continue saving for the future.
6. Don't treat yourself with every paycheck.
It's fun to buy nice things that you've been wanting. And you've been working your butt off for that paycheck, so the treat is well deserved, but don't make it a habit. I used to splurge a little every two weeks and that's how I ran out of cash so fast. Now, I am trying to save up to buy myself nicer things so that treat will feel extra special. Setting bigger goals makes it a little easier to not spend money.
7. Don't be too hard on yourself when it comes to budgeting.
One of my biggest issues is freaking out about money every couple of days. Then, I remind myself that I am only 21 and you're supposed to be broke throughout college. That's totally normal and totally okay. I'm still able to eat and pay for my gas and bills and rent and occasionally enjoy a meal out or a fun new lipstick, and that means I'm doing just fine. So give yourself a break, don't stress too much, and remember to enjoy the things in life that are completely free while they're still around.