8 Ways to Save Money in Your 20s

6:00:00 PM

A few month's ago, I wrote a post titled "75 Things I Wish I Had Learned in High School." However, I forgot one very important thing. We should learn how to save money! More importantly, we should learn how to save money the right way. 

As a kid, we learned to fill our piggy banks up with money from chores, the tooth fairy, and special occasions. But as an adult, we rarely have any extra money to put away. So, it's important that we figure out how to save money, while still spending money. 

Invest in necessities.
This is a big one! While I may buy cheap clothes and cheap shoes, I'll pay the big bucks for something I know is a necessity. I learned the hard way that it's better to just invest in the things that you will use continuously instead of having to frequently repair the cheaper model. Over the years, we've decided to invest in our furniture (especially mattresses), our electronics, and our cars. I also make a point to invest in my purses. With my chronic pain, I've learned that I need functional, fashionable, and comfortable handbags and backpacks. On the plus side, the more expensive products also last longer too!

Live within your means. 
This one is a little self explanatory, but it's still important! The best way to live within your means is by creating a budget. It will not only help you stay on track, but it will help you figure out where you can save more. Our biggest monthly expense is food. We eat out way more often than we should, but it's just so much more convenient. However, we know that if we want to save more money, we need to limit the meals that we eat out of the house. In order to do this, we create our weekly shopping list based on our grocery store's specials. We then create a meal plan to follow, in hopes that it will help us remember to take out any meat we need to thaw ahead of time. 

In addition to planning ahead, we also know what kind of lifestyle we can afford. Every once in a while, I'll treat myself to a pedicure, but other than that we don't make too many purchases for ourselves. By doing this, we've been able to save enough money to plan our first vacation together!

Wait to make purchases. 
This is an important tip for all of you impulse shoppers. I know I used to be really bad at this, especially when it comes to the racks along the check out lines. Now, I have a list each time I go shopping and I don't stray from it. If I happen to find something that I like in addition to the list, I will take a picture of the tag and come back to it later. If you've slept on it and you are still thinking about it, then it's usually safe to go back for it. However, if you don't think about it again, then it's probably best that you didn't waste your money on it! 

Another reason to wait to make purchases is for sales. When I worked at Rue21, I began learning the sale schedule. I knew how long it would take before an item I liked would go on sale, so I would just wait until then. If they still had the product in my size, I'd happily make the purchase. 

Compare prices. 
With there being so many different big box stores and retailers, a majority of what you're looking for can be found at more than one location. With that being said, one of them will more than likely have some type of sale or special going on. Personally, I like to make my big brand purchases online. I usually find a product I like in person and then go home and search various sites for the best price. More than likely, you can find a 10-20% off coupon as well as free shipping too. Some stores even throw in an added free gift with purchase. 

Take advantage of student discounts. 
You'd be surprised by how many companies offer student discounts. So if you have a student email or a student id, make sure to use it and ask companies if they have discounts. I know personally, I've gotten free Amazon Prime memberships, Apple discounts, and free Microsoft office. Best Buy and other brands also have separate accounts for students that automatically add discounts when you're shopping. 

Sign up for rewards programs. 
If you frequent a certain hotel, airline, or store, you should really consider checking to see if they have a rewards program. After we signed up for Marriott rewards, we have received multiple free nights and other perks. In addition to your favorite brands, you can also find credit cards with great rewards programs. Many of them provide points for signing up in addition to the points you'll earn with each purchase. A majority of credit cards allow you to redeem those points for products, trips, and even cash back!

Cut out frivolous spending. 
Except for food, I like to think that Zach and I do a pretty good job of avoiding frivolous spending. One of our biggest expenses used to be cable. We were spending $30 a month on it and now that we've cut it out, we're saving $360 dollars a year! We also don't spend a lot on clothing. I like to shop at Ross and Marshall's and we'll occasionally hit the sales at Target and Kohl's. I try not to spend too much money on things that I know we will have to replace quickly, which helps a lot!

Buy staples in bulk.
If you don't already, I recommend buying staples in bulk. Before signing up for a Sam's Club membership, we did a lot of calculations and figured out that even with the membership we could still save money on toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, razors, and other supplies. Stocking up on office supplies before the school year is also a great way to save money. Their huge bundles of pens, notebooks, and ink cartridges usually lasted me a full year of college. The bulk packages of shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste actually ended up lasting me my first two years of college!

From one person trying to become debt free and financially stable to another, saving money is not going to be easy. It will be worth it though! Just think about how nice it would be to pay off your loans and take that trip that you've always wanted, or maybe you're saving up to buy a house. Whatever it is, making these changes will definitely help and I wish you the best of luck! 

Do you have any tips on saving money? I'd love to see them in the comments!

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