This month's issue will focus on Saving Money. If you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to PM Thunder!
1. Income. Do you have any sort of job to earn money? If not, do what you can to get one. Can’t drive? Get the NextDoor app and offer yourself locally to neighbors for things like dogwalking, yardwork, and babysitting! Show
that you are eager to help others in order to earn money.
2. Set aside. If you do get some sort of money, whether from allowance, school grants, a job, etc, it’s important to save some. If you are able, save a solid third if you don’t really have many expenses!
3. Learn the flow. It’s important to know not only what is ‘incoming’, but also what is ‘outgoing’. Do you pay for your own cell phone? Do you have auto insurance? Student loans? Do you need to reserve money for gas to get to school? Brainstorm and make a list of all of your expenses, or track them by writing each expense down for a week or more.
4. Identify‘wants’ versus ‘needs’. Gas to get to work, groceries, rent, dog food, and a phone are all examples of ‘needs’. Going out to eat, movies, cable, Netflix, getting your car detailed, popping into the convenience store, new clothes, a cute new matching collar and leash for your pet - typically all ‘wants’.
5. Out of sight, out of mind. If you have been feeling that your money burns a hole in your pocket, put it away. Don’t carry it with you. If you use your debit card too much, move the money to a side account. Using your credit card too much? Don’t bring it, or tuck it deep in a zippered pocket so that it takes more effort to pull it out.
6. Savings Account. Don’t have one? Get one! See what credit unions are in your area and see where you can start an account.
7. Pay yourself first. What this means is that you pay your savings immediately when you get paid. Whether you want to scrape $20 off of every week of delivering pizzas, or 10% of babysitting money. Take care of paying yourself first, make payments for any bills or debt, and THEN see what is leftover.
8. Planning versus convenience. For the love of Merlin, don’t use convenience stores if you can help it. Sometimes they are as much as DOUBLE the price of elsewhere! This is particularly directed at gas stations and pharmacies such as Walgreens. Plan your meals! Although not exciting, things like cereal, sandwiches, salads, and fresh produce are not only likely cheaper in the long run, but also healthier. Get some ideas for the week and stick to your shopping list.
For example, say you get 400 a month from your part time job and your living situation is already covered by living in a dorm. If you have a meal plan, utilize it! Say you do allow yourself about $20 a week for snacks and you like to get a coffee a couple times a week - that’s about $100 spoken for. Your phone is $50 a month, your car insurance and gas another $150. That’s $300 that you are already using. If that last $100 is already going places, see where you can cut back - maybe less Taco Cabana, Starbucks, don’t have cable, ride the bus..
The most important thing is to put the money away while you have it. DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT’S GONE. If you wait until the end of the month to see what you have left for saving then your piggy bank likely won’t grow! If you want it to grow, ultimately you will have to make it more of a priority.