Monday, July 11, 2016 / 2 Comments

5 Simple Tips for Saving Money So You Can Do Something Exciting/Cool/Memorable!



Everything fun seems to involve money. I've been dreaming of a trip to the UK for years and guess what: travel is expensive. You have to pay for the plane tickets, hotels, attractions, transportation, and most importantly, souvenirs (you know if I'm going to England everything I'm going to buy is going to have a Union Jack/Big Ben/red telephone booth design on it or something Harry Potter themed). It costs a lot of hard earned dollars or whatever is your official currency in your country. I'm almost to my goal and do you want to know how I finally saved up the money? By following five simple steps and a lot (I repeat, a LOT) of will power, time, and determination. For whatever it is that you want to save money for, no matter what the cost (but be reasonable. You probably can't save up to buy a castle in five years. Make it ten, win the lottery, and then it might be possible), just know that it is possible. Start with these steps and you'll be on your way!

5. Set Your Goals
This is the most obvious one. Why exactly do you want to go to all of this trouble to not spend money on trivial things, but to actually save it so you can do something cool, meaningful, or experience something new? Figure that out- whether it's for a trip, money for a down payment on a car or house, expenses towards school, or if you're trying to get out of debt, you need to decide on a goal and start planning and saving. If you have a goal in mind, you're more likely not to spend all of your hard earned cash on an impulse purchase. Every time I feel the need to buy something trivial (as in, "Oh, that would make a great present for ____!" Meaning "This is super cute so I'm going to pretend to buy it for someone else because I want it but I don't really need it." I may have been guilty of doing just that. I am neither confirming or denying), I just think of my main goal for saving all this money: saving up for a trip to Europe. Would I rather spend $5 at Del Taco (Tel Taco > Taco Bell, in my humble opinion) or could I just eat the food I have at home and put that $5 towards some fish and chips in the UK? (Minus the fish. Ugh) It helps keep things in perspective when you're out and about!

4. Budget!
I'll be the first to acknowledge that budgeting is the WORST, but it's something that all of us adults (or adults who don't act like adults but have to try to adult in order to survive in this world) have to do. Not only is budgeting helpful in your day to day life (knowing what amount of money goes to rent, food/groceries, car payments, medical/car insurance payments, cable, internet, school tuition, paying off loans...I could literally go on forever. Life is expensive!), it also helps when you're saving. When you're sorting out where your money is going every month as you pay your bills, you can decide on a set amount you'd like to set aside each month to put into your savings account/piggy bank/bank vault full of gold (hey, I don't judge money keeping habits). Make sure that you keep on budget with the money you're stashing away aka set aside the same amount EVERY month, and before you know it (well, after a while of saving), you'll have a tidy sum so you can actually see the fruits of your scrimping and saving! And you'll be incredibly proud of yourself with keeping your saving on track. You're on your way to achieving your goal (Whatever that may be)!

3. Know Your (Money) Limits
This is an obvious one and goes hand in hand with budgeting, but it's worth being reminded of: don't pay for something you don't need, or is out of your price budget. Shopping for clothes is a therapy in and of itself, but spending what's not in your clothing money allotment, is definitely not. Especially if you're saving for something important, like trying to get out of debt. Credit card bills and debt will hang above your head like the Sword of Damocles and honestly, the precariously placed sword above your head and then it falling on you is probably a lot less damaging to your life than bad credit (try buying a house one day. You won't be able to. YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO DO ANYTHING).

Once you figure out from your budgeting what amount of money goes to what, for spending expenses (groceries, food aka dining out, clothes, presents for others, etc) go with cash. Label envelopes with what the money will go towards and put that amount in it and ONLY spend the money from that certain envelope for what it's actually for (if it's for clothes, only spend it on clothes. Don't embezzle your own money. This isn't Wall Street). Once that money is gone for the month- it's gone. Buying a new swimsuit can wait till next month's allotment (and only when it's next month! No sneaking!). It'll be tough if you love to shop and are prone to impulse purchasing (even fast food costs can add up if you eat out a lot), but trust me, it'll be worth it in the end. You'll actually laugh at how tempted you were to buy that tea towel with a manatee on it (you're only human).

2. Know Your Alternatives
So now you're totally into this whole journey of saving money. It's rough, and you feel like you're not having any fun. But guess what: you totally can! Life doesn't revolve around trivial purchases at Target and buying that designer jacket that is totally not on sale. You just have to know your alternatives of all the fun stuff you usually do. You can still go to the movies: try a matinee instead. They're usually cheaper and bonus points if you still have your student ID because some theaters will give you a discount! And on the subjects of going to the movies... breaking news, movies theaters DO NOT CARE IF YOU SNEAK IN FOOD. If they see you bringing it in, of course they'll say you can't. They're told to say that. But don't act like they're shocked when they see a non-theater approved candy wrapper on the floor of a theater when they're cleaning it after a viewing of the newest Marvel movie (this has been confirmed by my two sisters who have both worked at a movie theater. They do not care). Everyone does it. Just use a big purse, be cool about it, and don't leave a mess, and everything will be fine. Plus, you'll be saving a buttload of money by not buying overpriced popcorn, drinks and candy. And probably a bunch of calories too.

The library is a great alternative to Redbox or other movie rental places online. Your local library has the newest movies, and while you may have to be on the wait list for a while to see this year's Oscar winning movie, you'll be getting it for free, instead of paying $1 a day for an Adam Sandler comedy that you wish you could erase from your memory. Also, dial back on going out to eat. I bet you have plenty of edible foods in your own kitchen, they'll just take more prep work. And never underestimate the power of coupons! They are your friends, and you can find them all online or on a store's app. And don't stick your nose up on generic/store products! Most are just as good of quality, or even better than the actual brand's. I'm incredibly fond of Target's Market Pantry's version of Frosted Mini Wheats. Saving is delicious.

1. Save Your Butt Off!
This is the most important step and the hardest. Because life will totally get in the way of your planning. Your friends will want to go out shopping, or go out to eat or have drinks. You may go on a date to the movies and they want to buy the large popcorn, which is roughly the size of a cow's feedbag and then they suggest you each get a Slurpee the size of a top hat. But stay strong! Know your alternatives (see above): don't spend more than what you set aside for clothes, don't order an appetizer with your main course and skip the dessert, order a cheap drink or two only, and blow your date's mind by opening up your tote bag to reveal some bottled sodas and a selection of fine candies (if that doesn't score you a second date than I don't know what will!).

And it may seem super insignificant, but you would not believe how many people drop their change on the ground. I find so many pennies on the ground, and on good days I find nickels and dimes, and on really, really good days, sometimes I even find a quarter (even if I'm having a bad day, if I find a quarter- then it's automatically becomes a GOOD day). Most people don't roll coins (or use Coinstar) anymore, but I still do. It's actually crazy how much all of these little coins can add up to. Save up your miscellaneous change and put it towards your goal. Every little bit helps, from all of your saving and hard work, and you'll be watching the numbers in your account getting higher and higher and you dream getting closer and closer.

And just remember: this is all for the greater good of you achieving what you set out to do. Whether it's going towards your dream wedding, honeymoon in Hawaii, or even just those coveted tickets to San Diego Comic Con, all of the time and effort is going to be worth it in the end, for the experiences, the memories, or living that debt free life! Set your goals and get started! You can do it!

I hope this advice helped you for whatever it is you're saving for, my penny-pinching fellow weirdos!

-That Weird Girl Emily
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2 comments:

  1. Helpful. I'm saving up for a trip to America in the next year or two. You coming back to the UK?
    Be cool if we could just swap for a bit, huh?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad it was helpful! Oh cool! Where in the states are you hoping to visit? I really want to come back to the UK, but probably not for a bit. I'd totally be down for a swap of some kind!

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