Now that I’ve finished my college career, I’ve officially received the end-of-school loan counseling that reminds every student of one of their greatest fears: paying back what they owe. The thought of paying off student loans is anxiety-inducing, but it doesn’t have to overwhelm you. Now is the time to make smart choices that will help you save money so that, in time, you can make those monthly payments without hitting negative.
I’ve come up with a few simple ways to prepare myself for paying back loans and to achieve financial goals I have set for myself. I’d like to invite you all to join me in my journey towards making good money choices.
Here are the top 3 ways I am saving money in 2020:
- Creating a budget plan and tracking expenses. I began to use both Google sheets and a budget journal (purchased from Michaels) to set bi-weekly and monthly money goals. I will write down my income and estimate how much money I need to spend and compare it with how much I actually spend. I find the best way to track spending is to break it down by category (gas and transportation, bills, entertainment, insurance, food, etc). I’m also beginning the habit of writing down exactly how much I spend in my budget journal each time I make a purchase. I am guilty of taking advantage of my banking app tracking what I’ve spent, but writing it down helps me to better visualize exactly how much I am spending and where and when I am spending the most money.
- Saving loose change in a jar. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to save is by putting loose change in your pockets and purse in a jar. I had a jar that I was saving change in, but broke the habit once I cashed in all of my savings. Since then, the jar had just been sitting on my desk. However, I went was emptying out all of my purses and discovered piles and piles of loose change that I had collected. I put all that change into my jar and plan to continue to save my change. The truth is, change adds up and, once the jar is full, you can use this extra money for weekly expenses or save it towards a bigger goal. Don’t let those nickels and dimes sink to the bottom of your bag.
- Shop sales or thrift. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bit of a shopping fanatic. I love clothes and keeping up with trends. However, it can be costly. The good news for anyone like me is that you don’t have to completely trade away a passion for shopping to save money, you just have to be smart about your spending. There are a few ways to do this. Perhaps the best start is shopping sales. Scout to see what stores are having big savings and start there instead of paying full price. Another option is to thrift shop. Stores like Savers, Salvation Army, and other used clothing stores often offer great pieces for small prices. Thrifting is also a very environmentally friendly way to shop. Lastly, whether you are thrifting, shopping sale, or going in for the splurge, one of the main things you can do is think before spending. Make sure that what you are about to buy is something that is going to last you a while or you are going to get a lot of use out of before you waste your money.
I hope you all find these tips and tricks helpful and will join me in smart saving this year. Just remember that financial stability isn’t something that is easy to achieve at any age. There will be high’s and low’s, but keep in mind that money isn’t the key to living a happy life. Happiness comes free!
Game of loans? I’m ready for you.
Best of luck,