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“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” —Dave Ramsey
Many of us are trying to get through life trying to save even a penny so we can take vacations and buy necessities that we need. Some people struggle with the want or need factor. Do we really need to buy a new pair of shoes when all of our other shoes are in good condition? Or should we cut the shoes and spend the money on groceries for the week? We need to eat. But we want the shoes. In order to save, you must cut the wants out.
College is expensive. So why are we adding to that cost with unnecessary expenses? Saving money is a skill that you can use throughout your lifetime. It's time to grow that bank account and reduce those expenses!
1. Drink more water and less pop.
Buying a pop every day doesn't seem like a big deal, but if you spend $10 a week on pop alone, that's $45 a month and roughly $520 a year. Plus, if you are trying to be healthy, a bottle of Coca-Cola is about 296 calories and has 82 grams of sugar.
2. Ride bikes or walk places.
Gas is cheap for now, but riding/walking can be relaxing and cost much less money. Over a period of time, it adds up. A lot of us are in college and are less than a mile from our classes — just leave a little early for class and get a nice walk in. Plus, the weather is starting to look nice! By doing this, you can save a lot of money, whether you believe it or not.
3. Take 10 percent out of your paycheck and do not touch it.
Force yourself to save and the money will add up very quickly. Some people are in college and are very busy, so try getting a job with flexible hours and then set aside some of your income. Even putting away $10 a week goes a long way. $520 at the end of the year you will have!
4. Participate in your company's 401k or 403b retirement plan.
This forces you to save because the company will automatically take money out of your check to put towards retirement. Great way to save. If you are still in college, look and see if your company offers anything to help pay for your college. Some companies will pay based on the grades you get!
5. Look at websites to compare prices.
Often times you are able to find coupons or reduced prices to save a quick $10. If you go onto Google and type in coupons for Nike, for example, lots will come up that you can use! Sign up for emails that will update you on clearance items and maybe that coat you really wanted is on clearance!
6. Stop buying fast food.
This is self-explanatory. $5-$25 dollars per meal for drive-thru? That's costing serious money and health. Take the time to make a meal from groceries and it will cost 80% less.
7. Stop buying expensive coffee.
Many people survive on coffee. But buying a $5 Starbucks coffee every day isn't ideal for saving. Buy your own coffee grounds and coffee maker and brew your own. You might find that it is better tasting as well.
8. Find a jar and put your extra coins in it.
Save it up for a year and you could come out with gas money for a couple months! Or use it when in last resort for money!
9. Wait to buy a house and find rent as cheap as possible.
Buying a house sounds very appealing but there are a lot of extra expenses attached to a house. With renting, you contact someone to come fix your problems. In other words, not your money. This allows you to save up more for a down payment.
10. CREATE A BUDGET.
This is your key to saving, getting out of debt and building wealth. A budget allows you to spend without feeling guilty. When you put your income and expenses on paper, it becomes clear which area you are struggling in. Either you don't make enough for your lifestyle or your lifestyle is taking all of your hard earned money (either make more money or cut down lifestyle).