When you are in your first few years of working full-time, money can be an overwhelming topic. From your already busy schedule to adulting emergencies (which seem to only come out of the woodwork the weeks that you are the tightest on money, am I right?), you are just learning how to juggle it all.
The worst part about talking money?
Everyone older than you seems to give the same advice: SAVE YOUR MONEY. The advice is almost always given with excellent intention: many people are leaving the workforce today with little retirement savings, and they do not want our generation to go through the same type of issues.
However, it is hard to listen to someone telling you to save money when you are drowning in work with little pay, expensive rent, and trying to make sure you actually have enough money left over to eat!
It leads us to even wonder: As a millennial trying to “do it all”, how do you save when you have no money?
Five Tips on How To Save When You Have No Money:
Don’t just “create a budget”, create a personalized budget
Trying to save money when you have none is tough. Finding advice on how to resolve this dilemma is even more tough. When you ask around, a lot of people will tell you the same thing repeatedly: the best way to save is to create a budget. Those people are correct. Unless you are keeping track of what you are spending, you will never be able to perfect the savings game. However, there may be two key ingredients that people may be missing when they give that advice.
When you get your paycheck, there are multiple ways to set up directly transferring some of your money to another account in order to save. Sometimes your employer will allow you to split up your paycheck (even something as low as $10 or $20). That way, the money is moved into another account before you can even touch it. Give it a few weeks and you will most likely forget that it is there, especially if it is a small amount.
If your employer does not have that option, you can always invest in Acorns. Acorns is a savings app that helps you save without trying.You can automatically set it up to transfer money from your checking to your Acorns account on certain days each month (they even have a retirement fund option!). You can also round up your “change”, so if you spend any money on your debit card, it will round up and transfer the “change” to the account. For example, if you spend $19.87 at the convenience store, it will transfer $0.13 to your Acorns account. Trust me, it adds up fast!
Once you have your budget, take out any “spending money” in cash. This will make it easier to keep track, and it will help you be less likely to break your budget with easy swipes. Leave the card at home if you lack the willpower! You won’t notice how many times you go to swipe the card until there is no card to swipe!
If you are going to be using a lot of cash, you are going to generate a lot of spare change. Use this to your advantage! Get a cute coin jar, and put it to the side. Voila! You now have an emergency fund, as long as you commit to not turning your change into cash until you it a true emergency.
Analyze size versus cost at the grocery store
You see two jars of salsa in front of you at the grocery store. One has a much larger container (or so you think!) for a smaller price, so you think that is the obvious choice to buy. However, a lot of packaging is deceiving! When grocery shopping, always look at how many ounces or the weight of an item, and compare a few sizes with their prices. You’ll be surprised how much more bang you can get with your buck, and how much longer your groceries will last!
The most important thing you can do when you are trying to save when you have no money is to give yourself patience. These five steps can take time to master and put into place. Agreeing to change how you work with money is over half of the battle! Make a plan, put it in place, but be patient if life gives you hiccups along the way, and you will slowly learn to financially be able to handle whatever life throws at you.