You’re officially an adult, which means you’re expected to think about money and savings and growth and all that boring grown-up stuff you’ve always avoided learning about. But saving money doesn’t have to be complicated, especially when all it takes is making tiny changes in your daily routine. Here are some easy swaps you can make, starting right now. They may not seem like a lot at first, but the money you’re not spending will look like a lot more when you check your bank account a few months down the road.
Instead, of your daily latte, brew from your dorm: Or if you’re a tea drinker, heat up your water in the microwave. No matter what your go-to drink is, chances are you can make it from scratch. A simple google search for “how to make…” will yield surprising results. Instead of dishing out upwards of $3 for coffee every other day, getting your caffeine fix from the luxury of your dorm room will save you some serious cash. Buying store-brand coffee and nondairy creamer will last you a pretty long time—and it means you can skip out on that frustratingly long before-class line at the coffee shop.
Instead of going to the mall, find bargain stores: There are plenty of cheaper alternatives to mall shopping. Better yet, look for a high-end consignment store; they only take gently worn name brands, but sell them for fractions of the original prices. If you’re really looking to save some money, hardcore thrifting may be for you. Find your nearest Goodwill or thrift store, unload your old things, and fashion yourself a whole new wardrobe.
Instead of the grocery store, try the dollar store: If you’ve never shopped at one of these before, it may sound mildly terrifying, but never fear: within your college town’s dollar store may lie some of the most unfathomable deals you can imagine. You’ll definitely want to avoid certain foods, especially produce, but otherwise, you can find generic brand versions of some of your favorite snacks for literally half the price.
Instead of eating out—well, just don’t: Eating out is probably the biggest source of budget depletion on this list. A $9 burger sounds reasonable at first—but add a drink, tip, gas money, and maybe another drink or two, and you’ve suddenly surpassed your spending budget for the week. Make the most of your cafeteria meal plan, and only eat out on special occasions. Otherwise, unless it’s a birthday or celebration, or dining hall fare. Same goes for drinking; cut back on how many times you go out for a glass of wine with friends or how many times a week you dish out money for a bottle of your favorite liquor, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can save.