Ways to save money
It's easy to overspend when starting out, so here are ideas for cutting down expenses.
Young adults may find it difficult to save toward big financial goals — such as buying a house — while still enjoying their hobbies and social lives. The good news: You don't have to sacrifice fun with these simple ways to save money.
Use coupons and sign up for automatic-coupon browser extensions
Several websites and apps offer great deals to save on hundreds of items whether you're at the grocery store or the mall. Sort your printed coupons by retailer or store section in a binder and keep them in your car for easy access. Meal planning around your grocery store sale flyer in addition to using coupons can increase your savings further.
Signing up for browser extensions that automatically apply coupon codes to online purchases can make saving easier when you don't already have a coupon and don't have time to search for one.
Host a potluck dinner
Cooking meals at home is usually healthier than eating out, so skip happy hour "deals" and host a potluck dinner with friends instead. Set a budget beforehand and ask each person to bring one or two entrees, sides, drinks or desserts.
Find free activities
Local community calendars often list events and activities many of which are free to the public. If none pique your interest, make up your own: Go on a walking tour of interesting spots in your neighborhood or city, take up geocaching or look into volunteering for a local community organization.
Browsing secondhand stores is a great way to find deals on clothes, books, sports equipment and furniture. Before purchasing, always check the quality of the items and make sure the offer is legitimate. You can also refresh your wardrobe by organizing a clothes swap, or make some extra cash by selling unwanted clothes to a local consignment store or one online, like Tradesy or Poshmark.
Reduce electric usage
Household appliances that stay plugged in could account for up to 8% of your energy usage even when they're not in use. Unplug certain items, such as computers, DVD players, coffeemakers, lamps, phone chargers and other kitchen items, to help reduce your electric bill.
Try no spend days
Every day you don't spend money you are saving. Challenge yourself to a no spend day once a month, then change it to one day a week and see how much you can save.
Pack a lunch
The average American spends $3,000 a year eating out. Think about how much of that is spent at lunch and how that amount would look in your bank account instead. Packing a lunch is an easy solution to save some money.
If you are making payments to multiple creditors, it's possible you could save by consolidating your debt.
Have money automatically deposited directly to your savings account from your paycheck. Called "paying yourself first", this can be an easy way to save.
Apply the 30-day rule
If there's something you want to purchase, write down its cost, and then revisit it after 30 days. You may no longer feel it's necessary, or you may decide it's something worth saving for.
Decide how hard you're willing to work for something
Divide the cost of something you want by your hourly wage. That will show you the amount of hours you'll need to work to pay for the item. Then, decide if it's really worth your time.
Don't give up
If you make a mistake, don't let it keep you from moving forward. Look at your mistake for what it is — a lesson to learn from. Think about what led you to making it, and try to remember that in the future. Remember all the good choices you've made and don't let one mistake make you feel like a failure.