“Poor college student” pretty much sums up how it feels after living in your first apartment for a while. Unfortunately,the desire to make purchases so I can keep up with the latest trends and my obsession with craft cheeses do not go hand in hand with saving money for rent and while maintaining a clean apartment. Fortunately, there are easy ways to trick your mind into spending less.
The first thing to do when you get a paycheck is move money from your checking account to your savings account. This way, when you text to receive your balance or glance at your checking account balance online, it appears you have less money than you actually do. It is also important to keep safety money in your savings account in case of emergencies.
If you’re anything like me, refraining from buying clothing, accessories, and apartment decor takes a world of self-restraint. Luckily, you can discover the beauty of re-sale shops. Goodwill, Rethreads and various other consignment stores offer a variety of unique, cute clothing and decorative apartment goodies at a discount. I even discovered an upscale Goodwill near my home that only sells items with designer labels for a fraction of the price. You can cure your shopaholic tendencies without draining your debit by only shopping in stores that sell inexpensive items.
If you really need your Anthropologie or Athleta online shopping fix, click on the “Sale” or “Clearance” tab immediately upon entering the site. Don’t tempt yourself with the new arrivals section; just imagine the only page the website has to offer is the sale page. Alternatively, stores such as J.Crew, Gap and REI have factory outlet sites where you can shop for their products at a lower price. However, don’t let online binge shopping become a daily or weekly habit. Buy yourself something nice once a month, or as a reward for acing that really difficult test.
Beyond clothing, food is typically the second largest area where we tend to waste money. To spend less, try purchasing produce locally at the farmer’s market, because it can sometimes be cheaper. Otherwise, I have found a feeling of reward in clipping coupons. I have even received a few items for free! Keep an eye out for the items you typically buy or for items that you can substitute for ones you already eat. You can still buy your favorite slow churned ice cream, without going over budget. Plus, Walgreens now offers the ability to select coupons online and “attach,” or download, them to your rewards card. This way you can avoid cutting coupons and don’t have to fret over losing them on the way to the store.
Additionally, figure out what things you can buy at the grocery store that you typically catch yourself buying out. Most coffee beverages now come in Keurig form. Use a coffee tumbler to take a much more inexpensive chai latte to class with you instead of spending $4 on a grande at Starbucks.
Ultimately, stopping and reflecting on why and how you are choosing to spend your money is key. Some months you may choose to buy a new pair of running leggings, and others on artisan cheese, like me. It’s all about choices, but until you (and I) can gain more self-control, these tricks can help you spend le$$.