Savvy Savers: 5 Ways This Generation Is Saving More And Spending Less
Despite my endless attempts to save money, I feel I'm still leaving a lot on the table when it comes to personal finances and saving money for the future.
And, as a graduating college senior who is preparing to enter the real world in just four short months, I know now is more important than ever to practice more responsible spending behaviors and build up my savings account.
With limited funds and a desire to move to a big city, it's important to try and save money wherever I can.
I wasn't at all surprised to come across the results of Bank of America's Preferred Rewards Consumer Study, which stated roughly half of Millennials feel the exact same way and are taking similar precautions.
Here are some of the findings:
Proud to have become better cooks to save money: 25 percent
Chipotle, Panera Bread, Potbelly, Cosi, Pita Pit, Jimmy Johns, Coney Island and Buffalo Wild Wings are all conveniently located within walking distance of my house, and I'm not exaggerating when I say I used to eat out at least five times a week.
When I realized my savings account wasn't growing, I downloaded the Mint app on my phone to figure out where the hell all of my money was going. To my surprise, I found I was spending a good majority of my income on eating out.
Instead of hitting up a quick-serve restaurant (which embarrassingly knows my order before I even approach the counter), I started to make lists and go grocery shopping to cook for myself. Doing this is much cheaper and healthier.
I'm not saying I'm ready to audition for "Top Chef" or compete in a "Chopped" cooking challenge, but I've definitely become a much better cook.
Think we're experts at finding deals: 22 percent
As a self-proclaimed professional online shopper and Ebates addict, I'd say I've definitely mastered the art of finding deals.
Friends come to me for help when they need something because I always know which stores have the best sales, where to get the most bang for your buck, which codes to get free shipping and which stores have the best rewards programs.
Like all other college kids, I'm also an expert at finding the best drink deals. On a weekly basis, my friends and I hit up half-off at Rick's on Tuesdays, half-off at Dublin or Harper's on Wednesdays and $3 pitchers at The Riv on Thursdays.
By going where the deals are, the only days we have to pay full price at the bar are Friday and Saturday, saving us a huge chunk of cash.
Find small solutions to save money: more than 50 percent
Bringing a lunch to work or eating on campus in between classes; investing in a reusable water bottle; bringing my own to-go cup to Starbucks to get a discount; unplugging electronics when I'm not using them; watching Netflix instead of paying for cable; returning cans and bottles; sharing clothes with friends; avoiding ATM fees and buying the generic version of food and medicine are all easy ways to save money.
These changes may seem like they won't make a difference, but it adds up quicker than you probably think.
Cut corners by buying in bulk: 61 percent
I live in a house with nine girls, so we tend to go through things very quickly. By tagging along with our parents to Costco or Sam's Club on weekends at home, we've saved a ton of money by buying in bulk.
Toilet paper, cleaning supplies, snacks, frozen foods, vitamins and personal hygiene products are all things I regularly purchase at the wholesale stores. Not only does it save money, it also saves trips to the store since I don't run out as quickly.
Zero credit card debt: Only 32 percent*
Credit card companies target young adults because of our lack of immediate funds and understanding of the dangers of racking up credit card debt. But, if you focus on the facts, credit cards are not as attractive as they seem.
Opening up a credit card is a great opportunity to build your credit, but if you'd like to be a savvy saver, make sure you have the funds to pay off the bill. If you've got some time, check out this Elite Daily article on credit card debt.
As scary as it sounds, it's never too early to think about buying a house, having kids and retirement. You may feel young and invincible now, but I promise you, the future is closer than it seems.
If you're part of the 67 percent of Millennials who worry about savings, try changing your daily habits to become more fiscally responsible and set yourself up for a successful future. If you're part of the 33 percent who aren't worried, maybe you should be.
*According to a national study of college students and parents by student loan provider Sallie Mae.