I’m 24. I don’t make a lot money. I live in a city. And I love make up. And food. And clothes. And beer. I’ve managed to make working an entry level job at a non-profit work for over 6 months now, and it wasn’t even that hard. Admittedly, I don’t have a lot of expenses other than rent and utilities, but if it weren’t for a few rules I give myself, I probably wouldn’t even be able to pay those!
Planning The Week
I plan out my spending for the week, which helps me keep track of how much I spent week to week, and don’t get too surprised when I see there isn’t any money in my account. I buy lunch at work once a week. I treat myself to a latte once a week. I buy tokens for the bus once a week. That’s about $25 I know I have to spend each week. If I go over that, I’m the only one to blame. Planning it out makes me feel better about spending money when I have to. Also, if I tell myself I’m only allowed to buy lunch once a week, it forces me to plan accordingly.
I also plan out what I’m making for dinner that week when I grocery shop so I won’t have to worry about missing an ingredient to make something I want. It reduces stress at the end of a work day and makes shopping easier. I usually spend about $50 a week on groceries.
Knowing Where the Deals Are
I live across the street from a bar. A cool bar. From 5-7 everyday is happy hour where they have one of my favorites beers for $3 (instead of $6). So the boyfriend and I only go during happy hour. They also have good happy hour deals on food, so once in a while we go there for dinner during the week. We can easily get stuffed and buzzed for less than $30. If we went after 7pm, it’d be almost twice as much. Knowing where we can get a good deal on a meal is so helpful. I’d rather have an early dinner than spend more money than I need to.
I also do a lot of my clothes shopping at stores like TJMaxx, Marshall’s and Century 21. I know every time I go in I will find something good for way cheaper than full price. Knowing I’m getting a good deal makes me feel better about the purchase. Also, know where the sales are. Ann Taylor Loft and The Gap are ALWAYS having sales. You should never have to buy something full price there. I’ve spent less than $100 on clothes the past 5 months, but have gotten a lot of stuff!
Just Say No
You see an awesome shirt at the mall but it’s not on sale. Just say no. You see some really delicious looking hand made mozzarella cheese at the market that’s twice as much as a grocery store (these are my real problems). Just say no. You see the restaurant has a really interesting cocktail but it’s $15. Just get a beer!
It’s been the hardest part for me, just saying no. I want everything! But I’ve said no to a lot of things and I’m just as happy as I would have been. I didn’t really need those things.
Compare, Compare, Compare!
This can be hard, and can take time. Different stores can have a huge variety in price. Comparing prices and knowing where things are cheaper can be so helpful. I work really close to a SuperFresh, and I realized one day when I went to pick up a few things, I’d spent twice as much on half as much product as Trader Joe’s. I starting keep track and realized I could get a lot of things much cheaper different places. Going out of your way to save even just a few dollars here and there can add up in the long run. Then you can use all that money you saved to buy your self something pretty.
Treat Yo Self!
Remember, you’re a beautiful, amazing, great person, and you deserve a present sometimes. If you’ve been wanting that palette FOREVER, just get it! You know you’ll use, it, love it, and have it for awhile. Special occasion? Get that cocktail! Even on a budget, you deserve to be happy. So when you really CAN’T say no, just say yes. It can be hard being on a budget so ease the pain and treat your self sometimes!
I plan on treating myself to a new wallet soon!
What’ your number one money saving technique?