Not gonna lie, I love saving money. As a college student who juggles 2 jobs, finding out ways to keep extra cash in my wallet makes me happy. Through working, I’ve gained a few budgeting tricks up my sleeve.
1. Embrace the beauty of Excel
If there’s anything I like more than clean, organized, and well-balanced grids, it’s that I have the control to change these grids how I want. I love tracking numbers (especially after payday!) and I love seeing my savings build up.
Through using Excel, I create math functions to track my balances.
For my savings, I will save 70% of my combined paycheck (from my 2 jobs or babysitting money), and leave 30% of my paycheck in my checking/debit account. By having the multiplication function in Excel, I will multiply 0.7 by the total number of dollars earned for that pay period, and add it into an Excel cell.
The cell will automatically do the math for me, but if I click on the cell, the original math function will reappear – showing me the total pay I received for that period.
I use this as a way of tracking my income from my jobs, without having the hassle of going through previous deposits to see when I earned “X” amount.
As the pay periods accumulate, I will use the addition function on Excel, either to total all the dollars in my savings account, or to select a certain time frame of pay periods, to see how much money I made in, example: the month of July.
With Excel, I can also color coordinate cells, through font or highlighted cells.
This may seem extra, but for a visual person, Excel provides me with the luxuries for personalized budget, without the hassle of using other online websites.
2. Play with Percentages
As mentioned earlier, I stick to a certain percentage of savings. Currently, this percentage is 70%. When I worked 1 job in high school, this number was 50%. By having a ratio that I stick to, I keep a consistent flow of income in both of my accounts – checking and saving. In order to avoid withdrawing money from my saving account, I total all of the necessary monthly costs from my total pay, and subtract it.
(For example, my phone bill currently costs $78.20/month and I was paying a summer quarter tuition of $399/month. In total, my necessary “bills” that I have to pay are $477.20. Let’s say that my total pay was $800 for the whole month. Then, I would subtract $800-477.20= 322.80, and then multiply $322.80 by 70%.)
The 70% from my subtracted total would go into my savings, the remaining 30% would go to my checking.
Test out what numbers work for you. Obviously, you want to add money into both accounts, see what amounts work well, and try it out.
If you have just a checking account, and no other account to deposit money into, try doing the math as if you were depositing money into a separate account. Record that money per pay period, and write a note to not spend any money above it.
You’re setting yourself at a financial threshold, and by making yourself self-reliable to that goal, you will build greater financial stability.
3. Search for those Student/Senior Discounts
I’m done with alliterations for this blog post, I promise.
But seriously, do some research and look into any discounts that are available.
Discounts can be at movie theatres, admission for musicals, concerts, museums, and can also be with larger purchases like airplane tickets or housing.
No one likes being confined into a label – student, senior, child, adult – or held solely to the title of their past experience or physical attributes – veteran, caregiver, disabled – but if you are striving to save, let those money saving opportunities help you out.
Discounts aren’t limited to in-person situations, but there are many online discount codes shared on the Internet. Whenever I make an online purchase, I always type in the website name and “online discount code”, to see if any codes apply towards my purchase. Websites like RetailMeNot.com are great resources for this.
Everyone likes saving money, so next time you’re headed out of town or surfing the web, look into available discounts around you.
The featured image includes my Swiss Gear Man’s wallet. I purchased the wallet online, and am content with it’s simplicity and compactness.
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