Part One of this series focused on the structures you can implement in your life that will help you to save money consistently and with little conscious thought.
Here's the recap:
1. Make a Budget - It sucks, I know. Just do it!
2. Do it First - Put away your savings immediately after you get paid
3. Cash Out - Withdraw your spending money in cash. If you can see your money physically dwindle before your eyes you will spend less
This post focuses on the nuances of Step 3: Cashing Out. How you spend your weekly allowance is just as important as Steps 1-3! It can be the difference between eating ramen every night vs. gourmet home cooking, crying alone in your apartment vs. going out with your friends, drinking soju at the corner store vs. taking that awesome weekend trip.
Spending Your Weekly Allowance:
1. Plan Ahead - Think about what's happening in the week on Sunday or Monday. Are there birthdays? Is there a fun event on the weekend? Are you desperately needing a trip to Costco? These things will take the biggest chunk out of your allowance. So, consider them at the beginning of the week.
2. Consider the Necessities - Do you need toothpaste? A toothbrush? Toilet paper? These are items you NEED - not having them is not a good look. You can cut back on the one pound block of cheddar from Costco; however, you cannot cut back on toilet paper. Think about it. You know I'm right.
Once you have considered #1 and #2, buy those things right away! This way you won't get to the end of the week and realize you are broke as a joke, meaning A. can't get your friend a birthday gift and/or B. have to employ the drip/dry method for the remainder of the weekend...
3. Cook at Home - This step has several upsides: saving money, most likely being healthier, and gaining a sexy skill. Admittedly, I have heard contradictory accounts of the efficacy of this option (some people report that eating out tends to be cheaper for them);however, this has not been my personal experience at all. Eating a meal at home probably runs me between $3-$6 dollars, while eating out tends to run about $8-$15. How healthy your meals are depends on you, but when I cook at home it tends to be vegetable-based and usually low-carb. When I eat it out it tends to be chicken and beer :D Finally, everyone loves a good cook. That's just a fact.
4. Shop Like a Local - This strategy is somewhat particular to South Korea - but it can be applied in one form or another to most places. Korean foods are about a billion times cheaper than imports and international goods. So get on them! The staples of my diet are lots of fresh vegetables, mandu (dumplings), various proteins (tofu, tuna, or chicken), and kimchi. Cutting out things like pizza, burgers, hot pockets, burritos is sad... but so is being broke!
5. Don't buy drinks in drinking establishments - This applies to both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Alcohol is a no brainer - Instead of spending $6 for a weak cocktail, pitch that money towards a bottle and pre-game! It's much cheaper per drink and that way you can spend some quality time with your friends before you get silly and go prowling in the neon jungle. The same rule applies for non-alcoholic beverages. Buying anything from a coffee shop will put you out between $4-$6 dollars... even if you are just buying tea (and that's a tea bag in hot water for $5 bucks and there's no Bourbon or nothin'). You like coffee? Buy a coffee maker. Like tea? Get a box of tea bags. Smoothies? Buy a blender and some seasonal fresh fruit. Things like this might appear to be more expensive right off the bat, but when you consider the price per drink you are saving a ton.
Secret Sixth Strategy: Splurge once in a while! Note the emphasis... Decide on that one thing that you have really been wanting, wait for a week when you have the extra money, and then go get it!! Seriously. You deserve to treat yourself occasionally and with your new money saving prowess you'll have the means to do it #treatyoself
Saving money doesn't mean living like a pauper and eating elbow pasta and mayo everyday. It just means being conscious of what you are spending your money on, trimming the excess in places where it's unnecessary, and then putting that extra aside for a rainy day or in my case...