As a twenty two year old struggling to make it out here on my own, I understand money struggles. When you have all different kinds of bills coming in on an entry level or less income, you have to learn how to cut corners and save as much money as possible so you can pay all the bills and survive. I have learned and developed simple ways to keep track of and save those few dollars you have.
- BUDGET. While it may seem like such a boring thing to do for all of you spontaneous scientistas, it will definitely save you in the long run. Once you figure out how much money is left over after all the bills are paid, then you can really assess what is necessary and start moving funds around. Do you really need the mani/pedi every month or can that money start going into savings or paying off your credit card bill? Once these questions are asked you can really save some bank.
- Pay off as much as possible. Interest is real. If you have credit cards or student loans, the earlier you start paying them off, the better. If you are in a financial position to pay more than the minimum balance, go for it. The more you can pay off now, the less interest you’ll pay in the future, and the more money you save in the long run.
- Stick to your shopping list. We’ve all been there: going into a grocery store hungry, and with a bit of money, spending it on all the things you don’t need. My guilty pleasure has been getting butter cookies while forgetting the carrots. Take time when you’re not hungry to create a list of things you actually need and stick to it. Your wallet will thank you for not overspending and your body will thank you for not surviving on butter cookies alone.
- Have dinner dates. Life on your own can be daunting, especially if you’re in that unfortunate undergraduate situation where you’re on break and everything is shut down, including the cafeterias you didn’t know you loved until they were gone. In those situations, struggle in solidarity with your friends. Cook meals together. Split the grocery bills and cooking duties and have dinner time with friends. Even if you can only get together once a week, you still save money and even have a dinner date for the evening.
- Keep a piggy bank. You’d be surprised how much change can add up. I saved $85 once in just coins. That can be SO many butter cookies or bills.
- Try to split with friends whenever possible. In those instances where you have a small load of laundry and your friend has a small load of laundry, combine them and split the laundry costs. You’d be surprised how much you can spend on laundry and how much you can save by splitting. When you’re going out of town and a friend might also be interested, split the gas costs and other travel expenses you might incur together and enjoy your mini road trip buddy. In any case, don’t be afraid to ask a friend if you want to do something together and split the cost. Most likely, the friend is also struggling and would love the chance to split with you as well.
- Review your bills. Take time to really analyze your bills. See if there’s anywhere you can cut back so you can really take on those bills for the next month.
Ellice Patterson is a recent graduate of Wellesley College! As a biology major, her research endeavors have taken her across different biological disciplines and across the world. From sailing across the Atlantic studying primary production in relation to nutrient concentrations to trekking in the Costa Rican rainforests analyzing spider species composition, she has done it all. Outside of science, she continues to grow as a dancer while being a master’s candidate at Boston University Questrom School of Business. In general, she slays, all day.