I didn't appreciate the concept of saving money until recently. Life after graduation is different because suddenly bills become really real, payment requests come out of nowhere, and your paycheck just seems smaller than you expected.
While I did earn money and save it in college, I've taken that mindset to a whole new level since graduating. I'm definitely saving up for several reasons: grad school expenses, upcoming business ventures (eek!), investments, and an emergency fund. Hey, with the government shutdown, an emergency fund actually sounds pretty brilliant.
The point is, I'm currently on a spending diet. Spending clean is similar to eating clean, haha. And easier than you think. There are lots of little things that I do that save hundreds every month - hundreds! So I'm sharing the small steps I've taken to save money and some tips on saving money for college students and for anyone!
How I saved money in college
Using my student discount
Attended meetings and events with free meals
Set up a savings account for money earned from working during school
Limited myself to 3 meals a day
Doing laundry at my parents' house
Split room decor costs with my roommates
Borrowed/rented textbooks when possible; always sold back textbooks to the bookstore
Used my laptop/iPad for note taking instead of restocking on pen/paper supplies
Participated in surveys and tests with free meals or compensation
Carpooled with friends to events to save gas
Went to my school's recreation center instead of paying for fitness classes
Wrote for the yearbook & had on campus jobs (saving money from those payments)
Sold clothes at Plato's Closet/other consignment stores
Pumped gas outside of the city (it's 30-50 cents cheaper)
How I save money now/post grad life
Decide on the items I truly need to buy each month and only set aside spending money for those
Limit the number of days I eat out during the week (1 or 2)
Check my bank account on a regular basis to monitor spending and saving
Cook at the beginning of the week and pack lunches and dinners for the week
[Take my lunch to work at least 3 days a week]
Using coupons or deals when grocery shopping
Mark dates in my planner for when to put X amount of $ into savings
Explore the city for free events and attractions
Invite friends over for dinner and they bring dessert or drinks
Limit online shopping and real life shopping; instead I do lots of online browsing
Participate in customer awards programs at grocery stores/stores I need to go to
Be more creative with gifts instead of buying pricey gifts or gift cards from the store
Use Scoutmob when I do eat out
Research internet/tv/power providers to get the best pricing possible and ask for promotional deals
Set small and large goals for saving and keep up with them; ultimately create a monthly budget
Use iPhone apps like Mint
Celebrate when I reach a savings goal and remind myself why I'm saving
How do you save money when you're on a spending diet?
And what are you saving up for?