Summer is here, school is out, and spending can get out of control. If you’re in college, living on your own, or don’t have help from your parents, money can get tight. Here are 14 ways to save this summer!
1. Shopping for food can be super expensive. Eating out can rack up, and cooking can be tedious.
If you don’t know how to cook, it’s super easy to look up and learn using YouTube. If pots and pans aren’t readily available, or you get busy, a crockpot is a great idea. You can put something on and let it simmer and stay warm for hours, and then store it in your fridge in the pot. They’re usually relatively inexpensive, and can hold food for multiple people. Here is a huge list of crockpot recipes. If you know your way around basic spices, meats, and vegetables it’s super easy to buy what you like and make a meal out of it.
Another way to save money on food (and many other things!!) is couponing. Coupons can be found online (for free!) and in your local paper. Papers are relatively inexpensive, and more than just coupons can come out of them, such as local events and opportunities that you can take advantage of.
Keeping a stock of snacks from the grocery store can help save you from buying them while you’re out. Buying and making your own coffees/teas can cut back almost $20 a week if you regularly purchase them.
Drink. More. Water. Staying hydrated is super important all year round, and you can save money from not buying soda and other drinks.
5. Say No To Starbucks…
Coffee makers can be as cheap as $15, and French presses can be even cheaper. They require a little bit of a learning curve, but it isn’t that difficult. It can be fun to try and recreate your favorite drinks and see how much you can save! It’s always a good idea to check for these items at Goodwill and Salvation Army stores because you can find them for as little as $5.
6. Price Matching
A lot of stores use a price matching feature. Price matching is where a competing store may have a lower price than another. Bring in the ad for the competitor with the lower price, and they will match it. Walmart, Target, and Kroger are 3 major grocers that price match. If you aren’t sure if a store price matches, google it or call the store to make sure!
7. Grocery Stores
A good option for buying cheap are stores like Save-A-Lot, ALDI, and Ruler Foods. Save-A-Lot carries mostly minimum necessity things. They are like a ‘foods only’ Walmart, with an aisle of self/home care products. ALDI has lots of products that are off brand or house brand, but basically the same as it’s brand-named counterpart. Ruler is a chain attached to Kroger. It’s mostly Kroger branded, and you can use your Kroger card to earn points. The latter 2 of the 3 stores require you bring and bag your own items and pay a quarter to use a cart.
8. Student Discounts
There are tons of stores that have a student discount policy in place. If you’re not sure, you can usually find out online or in store, and all you have to do is ask. Most offer 15% or more off. This is true for other places like movie theaters and even some restaurants. It never hurts to ask!
9. Talk to the Manager
Shopping sale racks or online sales can save you tons of money, especially at your favorite stores. Be sure to talk to the manager or a sales person at the places you love to find out when they do mark downs each week and when they have the very best sales. Knowing a few insider tips can really make a difference.
So many clothing stores have online and in store end of season sales, and you can get clothes for dirt cheap. Aerie (an American Eagle brand) has some super great sales all the time on quality clothes. This is particularly true at the end of summer. Stock up on all the things you might need for next spring and summer instead of waiting till spring so you have to pay full price!
10. Secondhand Shopping
Buying secondhand, but still in great condition can be a lifesaver. I’ve done this with a ton of clothes. When school starts letting out, people will drop off clothes to consignment stores, some they’ve barely worn and just don’t want to take home. Some people just give their stuff away or leave clothes in a pile near the street. Don’t be shy! Take a look and see if there’s anything you or a friend could use!
11. Dollar Store
It may seem silly, but you would be amazed at the things you can find at the Dollar Store. Make-up, toothbrushes (that can be $6 at the grocery store!), hair bands, lotion, socks, containers, cleaners. The list is fairly long. Oh, and batteries. They are so cheap and seem to last just about as long as other batteries I’ve used.
Utilize free things. Seriously. Your college probably offers tons of free food through events, even during the summer. Make sure you check it out! Many towns have concerts or local get-togethers, usually with free music, and sometimes free food.
Using public transportation or riding a bike can save you tons of money. Gas money adds up, and can drain your savings. Walking to places around campus, or carpooling with friends can really help your wallet out. Long drives, going to school, and driving home are perfect for carpooling. Splitting the cost of gas and trading off between drivers makes for a perfect trip!
Spending less money can be rough and it’s hard to be on a limited budget. There are tons of ways to get your budget under control. The envelope system, apps that can help you stop spending on unnecessary items, and strategies for saving more and making more. Creating a monthly budget for yourself can really help you spend as little money as possible for necessities so you have more for the fun stuff!
Keep spending smart!