When people ask me how I manage to go to college without taking loans, there is one principle I live by to do so. I keep my expenses low as possible. That is, it. Being able to spend less than you earn is a great habit to have and here is why.
There is a saying that goes, “If you can manage a little bit of money, you can manage a lot”, and the opposite holds true as well.
I try to live by that saying, because if I prove to myself, I can manage living off of a small income, while saving money, then I will excel when I earn more. I encourage you to live by it as well.
Now, let’s get to it. 20 ways that I save money:
- I have a roommate. Big savings right there.
- Our Wi-fi bill is split and I chose the most affordable option.
- I chose the lowest phone bill, $30 flat a month with Verizon. I do not pay for extra data or special services.
- I eat at home for all my meals.
- I do not drink alcohol or smoke.
- I re-wear all my clothes so I do not need to buy new clothes. Keep timeless pieces and you are set. Avoid fast fashion because it goes out of style and you will have to replace it.
- I do not pay for any subscriptions like Amazon Prime, Spotify, Pandora, Netflix, Hulu and or apps.
- I cut my own hair and paint my own nails.
- I buy generic brands, as they are often cheaper.
- I went to a community college my first two years of school and not a university.
- When I do shop for clothes (rarely), I usually go to thrift stores.
- I choose bank cards that do not have annual fees.
- I shop at grocery stores that are cheap and affordable.
- I make coffee and tea at home. (I used to be a barista, so I know how to make it!).
- I rent textbooks instead of purchase them. Or I check them out from the library if they have it.
- I buy drug store brand make up. It is super cheap and looks the same.
- I compare prices when shopping and choose the lowest cost item.
- I cancelled my gym membership that was $50 a month.
- I do free activities like walking, hiking, writing, and reading.
- I have a re-usable water bottle and a water filter, so I do not need to purchase packs of plastic water bottles.
Now you know all my secrets to living on a small budget. Mind you, I am completely happy and healthy. Happiness is a mindset, not a number in the bank.
I have heard people say something along the lines of “why cut expenses, you should just earn more”, and while I agree earning more is always good, it fails to acknowledge a couple of things.
- Earning more does not mean you will spend less. You can earn more and still go over budget. The key is to keep expenses low, regardless of income increasing.
- If you cannot manage your spending with a small budget, how will you manage spending with a larger budget.
My goal is to help you see that if you can master spending less than you make, and save anything extra, you will be better prepared to earn more.
I encourage everyone to try and earn more if possible, under this condition: manage that money as if your future depends on it. (Because your future does depend on how you manage your money)
Your present spending habits can hurt or help you. They will hurt you if you go over budget, and they will help you if you find ways to save money.
Your future financial standing depends on your present self, and whether you wanted to spend all your money, or if you saved instead.
It is your choice, choose wisely. Need a budget template to get started? Get one of my budget templates here!
- Manage a little bit of money, and you can manage a lot of money
- Aim to spend less than you make and save the rest
- Find ways to be happy with less, and you will discover you do not need much after all
- Earning more does not correlate with saving more, if your spending habits are not good
- Your future financial standing depends on how you presently manage your money
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