Money-Saving Strategies

Financial wellness results from making decisions that support financial goals or priorities. If you spend money on a video game, you are unable to use those funds towards a goal you have, such as purchasing a vehicle or taking a vacation. Lower your miscellaneous expenses by using any combination of the following money-saving strategies:

  1. Reduce the cost of utilities.

    a. Disconnect your cable TV service.

    b. Turn off the lights when not in use.

  2. Stop spending for things you don’t really need.

  3. Stop paying for purchases with your credit card.

  4. Put all your loose change in a jar. Keep it for laundry, or save it for unexpected expenses.

  5. Reduce your food expenditures:

    a. Buy in bulk.

    b. Don’t shop more than once a week.

    c. Buy only what you have on your list, no impulse purchases.

    d. Compare prices.

    e. Don’t buy what you can’t use.

  6. Eat out less frequently and less expensively.

    a. Treat eating out as a luxury.

    b. Eat less expensive foods.

    c. Use restaurant coupons.

    d. Take advantage of early-bird specials.

    e. Eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re upset.

    f. Order entrees only, not expensive desserts or appetizers.

    g. Split or share meals with a friend.

    h. Pack your lunch and take it with you to school.

  7. Learn to cook for yourself.

  8. Find an alternative to driving your car. Rely on public transportation, friends, bikes, and your feet.

  9. If you MUST have a car, try the following tips:

    a. Wash your car yourself.

    b. Purchase regular, unleaded gas.

    c. Look for coupons for oil changes.

    d. To avoid long-term expenses, keep your car in shape.

    e. Use cash or debit cards to pay for gas.

    f. Carpool with friends.

  10. Find free or inexpensive ways to entertain yourself:

    a. Matinee, discount movies.

    b. Local museums and parks.

    c. Ask about student discounts.

    d. Participate in sports.

    e. Join school clubs.

    f. Read a book.

    g. Hike a trail.

    h. Rent videos.

    i. Buy season passes/book of tickets for activities you engage in frequently.

  11. Take care of yourself, but look for deals.

    a. Avoid membership in trendy health clubs – use the schools’ health club or the YMCA.

    b. Rely on coupons or specials for hairdressers/barbers.

    c. Don’t waste money on expensive cosmetics sold at department stores.

    d. Look for free-sample cosmetics, or purchase them at discount stores.

    e. Give yourself a manicure/pedicure instead of paying someone else to do it; have a manicure/pedicure party with your friends.

    f. Shop around; look for sales/specials.

  12. Shop around for special long-distance rates that meet your individual needs.

  13. Stay away from the shopping mall and out of the stores (particularly when you’re upset or depressed).

  14. Avoid or reduce expensive luxury habits.

  15. Buy products, clothes and food that you really need.

  16. Check out the costs of banking and negotiate what works best for you (e.g. avoid ATM fees, checking fees, designer checks, etc.)

  17. Don’t be influenced to spend by friends who have more money than you.

  18. Shop for clothes wisely.

    a. Shop at discount outlet stores, consignment stores, and campus thrift shops.

    b. Look for generic labels; avoid expensive name-brand clothing.

    c. Avoid buying and wearing clothes that must be dry-cleaned.

  19. Select and purchase gifts only when they are on sale.

  20. Live at home or with a relative. Get a roommate.

  21. If you want or think you need something, wait a full 24 hours before you buy it.

Information based on USA Funds® Life Skills®. © 2002 United Student Aid Funds, Inc. Used with permission.

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