Saving money can be very difficult, as a 24 year old, starting my career, paying off my student loans, and saving for a house. I’ve come to value my money a lot more. I had to take a good look at where I spend most of my money, and where I can save the most, by establishing my wants and needs.
- Buying Starbucks Multiple Times a Week
If you go to Starbucks say five days a week every week for a year you are spending well over a thousand dollars. My grande vanilla latte with almond milk costs me about $6 dollars, if I get a coffee every day five days a week on my way to work then I am spending about $1,440 a year. That is 120 a month, for something that honestly brings me nothing but the sudden urge to use the bathroom.
A good way to stop the habit, is by looking at the ingredients that are in a Starbucks drink. Obviously anything that is not black coffee. It most likely has a minimum of 14g of fat, and is probably around 300+ calories, and the sugar puts it well into the range of diabetes in a cup. I always cut out Starbucks for at least a month, when I am trying to lose weight, and it usually comes off a lot quicker. So save money, and be healthier?
When it comes to saving money it is in your best interest to ditch the Starbucks habit. The lattes, frappuccino, and microwaved breakfast sandwiches, that are usually cold in the middle have got to go! Sorry Starbs. You have to be limited it to a well deserved treat once a month.
2. Not Limiting the Money you Spend on Food
If you have decided to take a look at where you spend the most money, then you have probably realized you spend a lot of it on food. Cutting back on eating out, is one of the easiest ways to cut your monthly expenses in half. My first week at my 9-5, I door dashed food to my office three days a week. After the fees, tip and cost of food, I was spending 20 bucks a day on just lunch. My boss probably spends 100 bucks a week on door dash for lunch. That is 4,800 bucks a year. My 3 days a week is 2,880 bucks a year. That is insane. I could have put that $2,880 towards a vacation. Had I not pissed it away on food.
The reality is to save money you have to be mindful, and stop being lazy, bring lunch, cook at home, and make your own food. It is okay to treat yourself to outings, but try not to do it multiple times a week.
3. Not Staying on the Family Phone Plan
Once upon a time I left the family phone plan, to literally spend 95 bucks a month on my phone, when it is about 40 bucks to be on the family plan. So I spent $1,140 a year, when I could have been spending $480. Possibly nothing at all, because my family was not forcing me to pay for my line prior to me getting my own. Ride this wave as long as possible.
4. Overspending on Alcohol/Bars
If you are going to go out drinking make sure it is either happy hour, with a a killer happy hour deal, or make sure it is bottomless mimosas for brunch. Bottomless mimosas cost around 15 dollars, which means you have to at least consume 3 to make it worth it, given that mimosas are usually around $7 a glass. Going to the grocery store though and getting orange juice, and 2 bottles of champagne for the house is going to cost you well into the 30 dollar range, and.. if you are sharing between 2- 4 people then you are limiting yourself to a glass or two.. just saying think about it 15 dollars unlimited, and a good time. Or else you risk the chance of underestimating the amount it will take to have a mimosa party at home. Either way bottomless mimosas are a steal if you do it right.
If you are a social butterfly who goes out to the bars, stick to vodka soda, rum and coke, beer, or basic drinks, they are 6-7 dollars instead of 12-14 dollars for that fancy cocktail. This will make the difference, between having two drinks for say $14 plus tip, and $24 plus tip give or take.
I had a friend order two long islands at the bar the other week and they were 15 dollars each. My whiskey sour is about 12 dollars, the craft cocktails were well into the 12-14 dollar range. This is for a nice bar, if you really want to save money and still make it out, do the pregame at home, and get a nice buzz before you hit the bar. Also consider getting out to some lovely dive bars for a good time.
5. Not Paying Attention to What you are Buying
Being self aware of how much you spend is key. I use to never think or look before swiping my card. I still don’t…I probably never will. I do however, wish I would do the do I want it, or do I need it test, when buying crap. Had I learned self control, I could have taken myself to Europe twice by now, if I had managed the funds better.
6. Overspending on Rent
Okay! After college if you are moving home, it is okay to stay at the parents house and save up everything you can. Independence is cool, but living paycheck to paycheck is not. I have been on my own for seven years now, paying rent, and I have not been able to save up the dent I need to buy a house. Had I sacrificed my pride, and moved back home to save on rent, groceries, and living expenses. I could have saved a good 30-40k in just a year.
If you are opposed to this idea, then make sure you aren’t spending all of your paycheck on rent, maybe consider roommates to help alleviate the cost. What I found is that when I began the 9-5 life, I really was only home to eat and sleep, and I can do that anywhere, without shoveling out the money to live by myself.
You have to think of the big picture. Do you want to waste $1,500+ on rent a month.. which adds up to around $18,000+ a year, given you spend more on utilities, food, etc. Or do you want to be putting that into your own investment, making you better off in the future and buying a house. I’d personally rather buy a house, and not piss away rent every month, and put the money towards my mortgage.
7. Not Utilizing Budgeting Apps
By determining how much you want to save every week, month, or year, makes it that much more likely, that you will be putting that money aside to reach your goal. Using apps such as mint or albert to budget and manage your expenses is a good way to start saving and reaching your goals, as well as help you see where your money is going every month! You can also use acorns to invest your spare change!