Four tips for saving your money

piggy bank with a dollar sticking out of itAs you may know from my previous article, I am planning the year of a lifetime, set to begin in August. I am moving to Paris for an entire semester, only to be followed by a semester in London. My heart has been set on this for quite some time now; however, my bank account certainly has not. When I told my parents of my plans to study abroad while traveling to neighboring countries on the weekends, their initial response was typical, “…and who’s going to pay for all that?” Of course, being the young and unreasonable adult I am, I had not thought the financial aspects all the way through.

However, after meeting with my study abroad advisor a few times, I began to realize just how costly a trip like this can be (even with scholarships), and how even if I had saved enough to cover the cost, I would most likely come home broke and forced to move back in with my parents. This is when I began to take saving seriously. I got two jobs at the beginning of the semester and somehow managed to squeeze them in before and after class. This certainly helped a ton, but did not curb my ridiculous spending habits in the slightest. After casually spending and an unexpected (and pricey) auto repair incident, my savings were completely gone by winter break. I knew I had to make some serious changes to my budget and follow those changes blindly.

So far, the tricks I have used have helped me build up my savings slowly but surely and drastically changed my carefree attitude when it comes to my wallet. While you may not have a big money goal in mind, I urge you to hang on to a few of my money saving tips because it never hurts to start building up your bank account early. Finance experts all around the globe often say their No. 1 piece of advice to people (particularly young adults) is to start saving now as many are finding it more and more difficult to retire. Luckily, retirement is far away in the future for us, but the importance of saving and the curveballs life is sure to throw certainly are not.

Tip #1: ASK YOURSELF THE HARD QUESTIONS. In most purchasing situations, you are the sole person in charge, so in those situations ask yourself a set of questions before you buy. Oftentimes after questioning yourself, you’ll realize it isn’t a necessary purchase. Do I really need this? What will happen if I don’t buy this? Will getting Chipotle instead of eating at home matter once I’m full? Don’t I already have something similar?

Tip #2: GIVE YOURSELF A VISUAL. While banks will tell you this is not a safe way to store your money, reverting back to your 5-year-old self and keeping your savings in a jar where you can see it will make you hesitate to touch it, far more than simply seeing the number on a bank statement. To be safe, I do not advise you to keep all your savings in your closet or under your bed, but having a piggy bank that you put money in before taking it to the bank helps you visualize just how much money you’re saving, and it feels good.

Tip #3: ASK YOUR FRIENDS TO HELP. It doesn’t hurt to ask your roommate or best friend to remind you not to spend. Having friends that encourage you to save rather than spend has been a great influence on my bank account. Now, when I ask my roommate for her opinion on a pair of shoes she’ll ask me, “Do you really need those? Won’t there be better ones in Paris?” and in about 99 percent of cases, I don’t need them.

Tip #4: IF YOU DON’T LOVE IT, DON’T BUY IT. This tip is geared toward those who love to shop. As an addict, this is definitely the rule that has helped me the most. If you have to convince yourself, squeeze into or sew whatever it is you are buying, do not buy it. It isn’t worth it and you will forget about it in a week. Don’t do it!

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