Written by Megan Cunningham
Saturday, September 8th, 2018
Do you ever dream of buying a car like one you’ve seen drive by? Or of having your wedding on the incredible beach you saw in a friend’s Instagram post? Well you’re not alone. I do the same thing. So how can we make these goals a reality?
From the perspective of a student and aspiring saver (like myself), I know how difficult it may seem to budget your money for these things while still trying to pay your bills on time, have a social life and eat more than just ramen noodles for a week straight. But it’s not really that hard, as I’m discovering myself. Here are some tips that I’ve come across that can help make saving a priority.
First of all…
…and this applies to any savings goal you have in mind — be realistic and do your research. For example, if you’re saving up for a vacation, find out what the average flight costs are, what kind of accommodations you want and what excursions you might want to do while you’re there. For a wedding you might look into exploring hall rental costs, what your catering options are and how many guests you want to attend. Countless blogs are dedicated to providing insights on the best websites, apps and savings opportunities on any topic you can imagine. So don’t hesitate to Google a few things until you find advice that helps you meet your dreams without breaking the bank.
Make your savings visual
Once you’ve decided on the amount you’re going to save, create a visual, such as a thermometer (like the ones used in charity fundraisers). This way, as your savings start to grow, you can get excited about getting closer and closer to your end goal.
Note: Your total end goal can seem like a scary and unreachable target at first, so try focusing on weekly or biweekly goals and watch them add up.
Categorize your spending
For the next little while, keep a notebook of all the things you spend money on such as food, bills, entertainment, clothing, etc. Write down everything, and I mean everything. I started doing this at the beginning of the summer and it works. When I thought about having to write down that I spent $12 on a venti-mocha-half-frap-no-foam-upside-down-double-whipped-coffee for the second time this week, it made me feel a little guilty. (OK — I don’t think those actually exist, but you get the idea.)
Take advantage of freebies and discounts
Whether you’re a full-time student or employed full time, make sure you take advantage of all the benefits included in your tuition or workplace. This could be anything from full healthcare coverage to subsidized gym memberships. These can help to cut costs along your saving journey, which will ultimately take you closer to your savings goals.
Integrating these tips into your everyday life can help make saving a priority, and your dream goals can easily become a reality.