Chances are if you're reading this you are broke. And I'm not trying to be mean (this time), I don't mean bag lady on the street poor. I mean recent grad with an entry level job making just enough to pay your half of the rent and get
smashed dinner about twice a week broke. And if you think you're living in that situation and that you are, in fact, financial sound, then you're not sound in the head. Word.
Now that I have spiraled you that much further into your quarter life crisis funk, I'll get to the point. I like to hoard money. But ever since I joined the real world and started paying rent, my savings account has barely been showing signs of life. And I'm wondering what I'm sure a lot of other people are wondering: How do I save money when I don't make any to begin with? Well, I'm not financial adviser (I'm still not quite sure what a 401K REALLY is and IRAs always remind me of the NRA which are completely different subjects but would be kind of cool if they weren't) but I know what works for me. And everyone knowssss my opinion is gold. You're welcome. And so I present: Ways to Save Money When You Don't Actually Make Any.
1. Change counts!: I cannot tell a lie, I was fronting on change for a while. Its cumbersome, loud, and makes you feel like an 80 year old when you try to use it at the grocery check out. But, and this is no news to some, it does add up. If you're not a fan of physical change, sign up for one of those "Keep the Change" programs at your bank. I saved about $50.00 in 3 months and I didn't even know I was enrolled. Sneaky bastards. If you don't mind a pocket full of coins go old school and get a piggy bank. Break new bills instead of using change and empty your pockets every night. Always get your change from the cashier even if it is only a nickle. Save for months and don't dip in if you can help it. Don't let your boyfriend think it's okay to just take a dollar in quarters to get a bagel because, hello, that's real money, my real money, and that's like almost like stealing and he will break that really cute candy dispenser you got from Dylan's Candy Bar and cleverly used as a piggy bank. What? O_O
2. Take turns not loans: This one technically won't make your account fatter (aw) but it will make you happier financially. I don't borrow money (my pride, ouch) and I don't loan money ('cause people ain't shit, no thanks) and you shouldn't either. Let's face it, no one likes to owe money. And, no offense to your homies, but if they're broke today they're going to be broke tomorrow. And the next day. The day after that? Still broke. Usually by the time you get your money back you no longer needed it. Additionally, it's not as if you were charging interest so that $40 is almost worth less to you now. What my friends and I do instead, is take turns paying for things. For example, if I'm running low on funds this week my friend might get my meal but next week I got her for the cover charge at a nightclub. It's like a symbiotic relationship of sorts. #geek. It also attaches more value to the transaction because both people benefit. The club is much more fun when everyone can get in. Even the broke bitches.
3. Stop being extra. The economy provides us with way too many options. Srsly. For a nominal fee, always "nominal", you can get some shit you don't need but sounds pretty impressive. Do you really need a 3 year extended warranty on a camera you'll probably upgrade in 18 months? Do you really need the Top 1500 Premium channels when you catch all your faves on Hulu? Do you really need to supersize that meal?? Probably not ya fat ass. But seriously, evaluate what you have vs what you need. I tracked my cell phone data usage for three months and noticed I was consistently using less than 2 MB. I changed my plan from "Unlimited" to "Data Plus" (I think) an now pay around $70 versus my usual $118. Yeah, they were raping me, yo.
4. Snag those rewards. I always used to associate rewards points with coupons in my head. Like yeah, theoretically I can save money but I have to do extra work, right? Yeah, no thanks. But just today while in Subway a poster for their rewards program caught my eye. After you earn a certain amount of points (a low amount at that) you can get a free sandwich. A whole sandwich! And I started to think, you mean I can earn free shit for doing the shit I already do? Genius. It just all makes sense. I go to places like Duane Reade so much they should start paying me. And essentially, that's what rewards programs do. Get you a piece.
Again, I'm no expert but I am a genius. And if my lazy ass can get up and start saving, so can you. :)
What are some ways that you save money?