As we grow up and out of our parents watchful eyes, we find ourselves juggling our finances without the opinion of others for the first time (I’m talking about when your parents told you not to eat out because ‘there’s food at home’). Saving money often appears to be near impossible for young people, particularly students who not only have to afford whats necessary to live on a little amount, but also desire to go out, have fun or even travel. Here are five tips that can make saving money a little less stressful…
Open a savings account. It may sound pretty straight forward but there’s a significant amount of young people who still don’t have a savings account! It’s the easiest way to keep the money you’ve put to the side separate from your every-day spending account, making it easier for the money to grow. You can directly transfer money into your savings account via your phone (through mobile banking apps) and you can track the growth and progress of your savings without accidentally spending any.
Create a weekly budget. This means figuring out how much money out of your pay check or student loan instalments you need in order to survive and afford the necessities. Some weeks you may go slightly over your budget and some days it may go slightly under; in case of the latter, immediately transfer any extra money you’ve saved into your savings account so you aren’t tempted to spend it in the future. Once you get into a routine of spending the same amount a week you’ll be able to set aside a percentage of your income into savings frequently.
Shop smart. The most important thing we do with our money is buy food, and I can almost guarantee that 90% of young people don’t do this irresponsibly. Rule number one: never shop when you’re hungry. You’ll not only buy a crazy ton of food that you don’t need, but buy a bunch of snacks that you crave in the moment that probably aren’t even good for you. Rule number two: Plan the meals you want to eat for the week in advance so you’re able to create a shopping list containing the food you know you’ll eat. If it helps, create two lists; one should include the meals and snacks that you regularly eat, and the second should be those meals that you know how to make- this list is likely to be much shorter. Rule number three: do your shopping once a week. This will help you stick to a weekly shopping budget and avoid over-indulging on mid-week study snacks.
Cut down on wasteful spending such as Uber rides for a five minute journey and ordering takeaway. Yes, it’ll feel great eating your favourite pizza in the moment, but when you start to question where all of your money is disappearing to and why your skin is breaking out more frequently you’ll start to regret it. I get it, not everyone looks forward to cooking themselves a meal after a long day of lectures, but this isn’t a problem that a quick, weekend meal prepping session can’t fix; simply double your ingredients the previous night to save yourself time in the future. As for Uber rides, of course they’re necessary past a certain hour after-dark, but that Uber or quick bus journey to the nearest train station isn’t always necessary; walking is free.
Avoid cash. We often pay far more attention to the money in our bank account than the money in our wallets, which tricks us into thinking that if we spend cash, the money in our account remains the same, therefore making it seem as if we haven’t actually spent any money. We often use cash to pay for smaller, quicker spends which can very easily accumulate over time. Sticking to card spending is useful as we can track our expenses easily with internet banking features; it’s far easier to forget you’ve even spent money when it’s done with cash. If internet banking doesn’t work for you, try writing down your monthly cash flow (the money that comes in and the money that goes out), clearly labelling what each purchase was so you’re aware of what you may have overspent on for future references.