Nobody likes to have empty pockets.
Although mine are almost always empty, as I progressively try to stop using cash. Something that is very difficult here in Argentina, where many of the places where I do my shopping still do not accept any type of electronic Payment (for the moment they do not accept payments with debit or credit card, and there is a long time for payments via NFC be something normal in this part of the world).
Anyway, before entering the world of personal finance, I made many purchases without being aware of the Money I was spending. These purchases may be for small amounts but like a snowball, as it accumulates more noticeable is made and more scares me.
But over the months, reading articles, watching videos, I discovered and learned ways to have more money at the end of each month.
Following these practices, I have been able to go from saving $ 10 to more than $ 100, I know it’s not much but considering that I’m just a student, I at least see it as a great achievement.
Well, these are some of the tips that I put into practice in a daily dose:
- Track all expenses
At the beginning I wrote income and expenses on paper, but there are thousands of apps that make this task less tedious and much more graphic. Personally I use Spendee, where I can segment my expenses into categories and at the end of each month I receive a report where I see what percentage each of these categories occupies. The first time I saw a report I was surprised at how much I spent on things I could actually avoid. This first diagnosis allowed me to take action on my expenses in order to optimize it as best as possible.
- Don’t buy sodas or snacks
It’s a great way to get two achievements with just one effort. Sodas and snacks are delicious, yes, but they are also expensive and bad for your health. So I do my body and my wallet a favor and I only buy them for certain occasions, like eating pizza or a series marathon night.
- Try to have all my meals at home
Making homemade food is not only cheaper but also has more advantages such as the comfort of my own home, or to perfect my technique in the kitchen. I’m not Gordon Ramsay but I’ve learned some delicious recipes on YouTube or looking for recipes on the internet. And I personally prefer to have breakfast as soon as I wake up, nothing of having to dress and get presentable to go out to a coffee shop.
- Make budgets in advance
The best way to spend is to have a plan for it. If I have any desire (at this time a new smartphone) or a trip in the near future I always try to foresee how much money will be needed to solve it. This not only helps me to be able to fulfill what I am proposing but it also gives me a certain discipline and more conscience at the time of saving.
- Use the bank app
This tool is very useful because I can easily see if any service is paid automatically and thus have no surprises later. In addition, I can quickly see what benefits I can use to be in that bank and facilitate the decision of where to make purchases. It is also a good way to save time since I can make transfers or investments, pay for services and other functions on the spot and from anywhere.
- Save the savings in a different place
A very effective way of not spending my money is not having it on hand, so I have an additional account where I keep all the savings I get monthly so that I can not spend it in the following month. Another way to carry this out is to make short-term investments, which has the additional benefit of giving benefits, but I’m still educating myself on this matter.
- Investigate where to buy
When I moved to my new home, I walked all the streets three blocks around to do a research task on how prices vary from one place to another, then create a list where I indicated where I could get a product cheaper. After two years, this tip I have so automated that when I need to buy something for home I know exactly where to get it at the best price.
- Wait for promotions
When there is an offer in a certain product that is basic for me, I buy several so that the offer is valid for more units. This method that the supermarkets use can be misleading since sometimes I can end up buying something that I did not need just to be in promotion.
- Use discount coupons
Monthly, the market in which I have membership sends me discounts on selected products and based on the price at which they remain I can decide if these promotions are convenient or not. If so, I can buy several units to have stock and stretch the promotion a little more.
- Use digital versions of books
The first thing I do when they ask for a new book in class is to ask if there is a digital version. Not only save money on sheets of paper, but also in space in the backpack and I don’t have to worry about forgetting them since having them stored on the laptop I always have them with me.
- Walk as much as possible
As much as it seems that a ticket is not a big expense, if I use it several times a day, almost every day of the week, it becomes an unabated expense. So I always walk to the university. Even though it is almost 2 km from my house, it only takes 20 minutes. Since I’m listening to music or capturing Pokemon (yes, I still play Pokemon GO), that time goes by much faster.
Since I moved to another city to study, I followed each of these practices and despite not saving a lot of money allowed me to buy some things I wanted to have or even be able to travel a few days to Buenos Aires. With the passage of time maybe I can discover new ways to save money and update this article.
How I save money while I go to college was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.