Saving money can be hard, especially when you’re a college student or young adult. You’re not making that much money, and you’re stuck with bills and expectations. While there are a million articles out there that will tell you to save for a mortgage or retirement by cutting out coffee, avocado toast and all restaurants, it’s simply not realistic. We’re humans in America and we are allowed to live our lives however we see fit and indulge sometimes. However, there are little things we can do to help curb ourselves that will save us money in the long run, even if they don’t make us millionaires overnight.

Size down your coffee order

Yes, Starbucks is expensive, but you can still have your coffee and save a little, up to a dollar, every day, by downsizing your coffee order. Try making it a medium instead of a large. You’ll hardly notice the difference. Your wallet will thank you later.

Utilize your credit card rewards

The cash back function available on many  credit card is a real game-changer. Even though it usually ranges from one to five percent per purchase, that can really add up. Never buy frivolously on your credit card, or purchase something you  don’t genuinely have the money for, but buying textbooks with a credit card instead of a debit card can net some serious cash back! The same goes for paying rent or for hair appointments.  See what rewards your credit card has and utilize them to your advantage on the stuff you’re already planning to buy.

Sell high-end clothes you don’t wear anymore

Look into buy/sale/trade brands for your favorite brands, whether that is electronics, jewelry, clothes, or purses, and resell the items you bought, wore once or twice, and are probably not going to wear again anytime soon.

Have a potluck with friends

Going out to dinner can be expensive, especially when you’re with a large group of friends who all want to order appetizers, drinks, and dessert. Every once in a while, save everyone a little bit of money and have a friendly potluck at someone’s house. When everyone makes a different dish people can try a bit of everything, leave stuffed, and have only spent the money it costs for one dish. Plus, you don’t have to worry about tipping.

Go off-brand grocery shopping

Are you shocked by how expensive some brand-name groceries are? Do you really need to buy the most expensive mac and cheese brand? Are those gourmet pasta noodles really worth the price tag? A lot of times, off-brand grocery shopping is the way to go. There are of course some things you won’t want to scrimp on. That’s fine, but if you don’t really care about the brand of your oatmeal, why not buy the Great Value brand instead and save a few bucks? Learn what you can and can’t handle and go off-brand grocery shopping whenever possible.

Buy Kindle books instead of hardcovers

Buying books, whether for class or personal reading, can be expensive, especially since in the United States, books are usually out in only hardcover for a year before they get released as less-expensive paperbacks.  Buying e-books on a Kindle instead of in hardcovers. For the new releases, you can save up to $10 by buying electronic instead of hardcover. You also don’t have to pay for shipping. A hardcover book could run you $27 in stores but only $11 when you download from Amazon.

Only order water at restaurants

Not only are you saving yourself a lot of sugar and calories, a soda can add a few dollars to your bill. Drinking water instead of soda at a restaurant will make you feel a lot healthier, have more room for food, and you save a little bit of money each time. It’s not enough to make you  rich overnight, but it adds up.

READ: 7 Must-Have Money Saving Apps That Will Help You Save Some Serious Cash

Utilize money saving apps and cards 

This is so passive and easy to do. Use apps like Digit that monitor your behavior of spending money and takes a few dollars out every month to a secure account for you to use at a later point. Think of it as your rainy day fund. Use Cartwheel for Target, pick the deals you want to use, and scan it at checkout. Also, get a loyalty card for the main grocery store you shop at.  It usually doesn’t cost anything, and they have markdowns exclusive to the card.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member