Saving money is always at the back of everyone’s mind but actually implementing a plan is the hard part. We always find reasons to wait before we begin saving money so a starting point would be to, well……..start! I will be going over the easiest ways you can begin to save money, especially if you’re on the younger side- because let’s face it. Young adults generally don’t make much money let alone enough money to save.
1. Save Your Change
Like most people, I never use the change that the cashier hands me after purchases. Instead, it just gets lost in my laundry or gets stuck in a slot in my car. I also have a jar that I like to drop my change into when I get home.
It helps to have the jar by wherever it is that you set down your daily essentials when arriving home- Keys, Wallet, Purse, Chapstick etc.
After a while your change will start to build up and FAST! When the jar contains what you see as a good amount of change, you can either take the jar to a CoinStar which is usually located at your local Walmart, or, if you are super anal and have a lot of time on your hands, you can roll up your coins and take it to your bank to have it exchanged for bills or deposited into your savings account. Obviously, this technique takes patience and is a no-brainer because we all have change somewhere.
Pro-Tip: Always carry at least some change in your car just in case you ever end up in an area where you have parking meters to pay. I know when I’m in LA and Long Beach my change is a life saver when finding parking where there is none.
2. Sell Your Old Stuff
I recently found a website called Decluttr where you can sell your old DVDs, smartphones, tablets and laptops. The process is actually really simple. You visit their site, search what you’re trying to sell, describe your item accurately (and be honest!), and immediately after all that, they will quote you a price and send you an email and even a postage label for you to send your item to their warehouse.
There, it will be inspected and once done, the quoted amount will be transferred to your bank account. If the item is in less or better condition than you stated, they will quote you a different price for you to agree to. The best part is even if you don’t agree to their new quote, they’ll return the item for free! I sold them my old iPhone 5S a couple of months ago and got $100. Keep in mind that I keep my tech in perfect condition so the better condition, the better!
You can also do the old school thing of selling your old things on eBay. This method is best suited for those with valuable collectibles such as toys, electronics and figurines. I am a collector myself and I have an active auction on eBay for a collectors coffee mug that is currently at $99! You’d be surprised what people would pay for what you have otherwise just laying around your house!
3. Use Change-Collecting Apps
Rarely use cash for purchases? No problem! The glory of living in the year 2017 is that there is pretty much an app for everything. I have two change-collecting apps active on my phone. One is called Qoins, which rounds up every purchase I make on my card to the nearest dollar and collects the difference in a virtual change “jar”.
A few times a month, it will withdraw the collected amounts and combine them for a total monthly amount that will ultimately be put toward a connected savings account or, like I have it set, deposited toward credit card debt. I’ve had this app for 3 months now and each month I’ve had at least $60 put toward my credit card bill all from rounded up purchases. Once you set the app up, you don’t have to even think about paying your bill because the app will most likely pay more than the minimum amount anyway!
The second app I use is called Acorns. Similarly, Acorns rounds up your purchases the same way Qoins does, but instead it invests your change in portions of various shares on the market. Those shares will in turn earn or lose you small amounts of money. You also have the option to add more money if you choose to do so. They even have useful options to double the amount of money collected from your “change”. You don’t have to use both like me- I was just doing so to start saving for my future and quickly pay off credit card debt (which is working!).
4. Open a Separate Savings Account
Hear me out…. I was a bit skeptical about this one at first too. Yes I know, you already have a Savings Account with your main bank. So did I. What I have learned is that having a separate online savings account will make it so much easier to stick with your savings plan!
The fact that everything is convenient and automated in today’s modern world, we are so used to transferring funds from our savings with the click of a button (or touch of a finger).
Personally, I opened a Capital One 360 Savings Account because of the easy user interface that the app offers, plus I’m already a credit card owner through them so it’s nice to use one app for two things.
The point of opening a separate Savings Account is that the money in it is harder to get to, so chances are you won’t go through the hassle. I was notorious at spending from my savings account when it was attached to my checking account because it was so easy. Now, I almost forget I have money in another spot.
Trust me, it’s easy. There are plenty of online savings accounts that you can try and some are better than others. Some offer a better interest rate than others so choose the best for you.
5. Automate Your Savings Plan
After you have opened up a savings account that you are serious about, the best thing to do to have a consistent flow is to automate your deposits. A good generally rule of thumb is to deposit roughly 10% of every paycheck into your savings account.
I know that’s easier said than done for most of us young adults but it gets easier once you get into the swing of things. For example, say you make $1000 every two weeks, just deposit $100 every check. At the end of the day, what were you going to do with that $100 anyway? Spend it on food? Video Games? It’s better off sitting in an account accumulating interest.
I have 10% of my paychecks automatically deposited into my savings account every two weeks so I don’t even notice it. After about 2 months, I have gathered about $1000 in savings this way and that’s not counting the extra money that I have left over before I get paid again. Trust me, saving starts becoming fun once you see your balance growing.
6. Cancel Some Monthly Subscriptions
If you’re a subscription hoarder like I used to be then you can do to part ways with some of them. This goes for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, Gym Membership etc.
I’m a huge movie/TV junkie so at one point I had most of the streaming services because if you haven’t noticed, not one service has everything you’re looking for. If you don’t want to make the decision to part for good, you can at least put some of the subscriptions on hold for a short while like during the times your shows aren’t in season.
Right now I am only subscribed to Netflix and Apple Music because those are the two expenses that I allow myself. Just cancelling two subscriptions can get you roughly $30 in savings per month that you can put elsewhere.
Pro-Tip: If you’re a student, try joining UniDays to get a Student Subscription of Apple Music that only costs you $4.99/mo!
7. Shop Smart
Instead of buying your clothes at full price or at expensive clothing stores, do it online. A habit that I picked up is creating a bookmark folder in my internet browser called “Stuff I Want To Buy” and bookmarking some product pages.
This allows you to stick a pin in those thoughts and come back to them later to see if you still feel the same.
Try not to make impulsive purchases. Online shops tend to have coupons for cart discounts and free shipping various times throughout the year. If you like shopping in person, try utilizing stores like Ross and Marshall’s to buy your colognes, socks and underwear. They are way more inexpensive than stores like Walmart or Target.
So there you have it. The hardest part of saving money is finding a place to start. It takes minutes to open an online savings account and only like $25 to get your foot in the door. If you can keep it going for a month I’m willing to bet that you will get used to it and eventually have fun saving money. It’s always a satisfying feeling paying bills and watching that dollar amount in your account go up for a rainy day. My original goal was to have at least a paycheck’s worth in my funds and now that I’ve accomplished that, there’s no telling how far I can go!
Good luck out there savers!