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Save your wallet some stress

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In this month’s edition of “Do It Anyway,” my goal is to make you like saving money. Well, maybe not like, but you definitely won’t hate it.

Money seems to be a huge issue these days. Someone’s always either complaining about not having enough or hating people who do.

Although money isn’t the most important thing in the world, nor does it buy you happiness, having enough money to live securely is nice. You never see anyone complaining that they were able to pay their bills or go out to dinner with their friends, do you? So, I’m here to spill some tips on how to save and spend money wisely. I’m no expert, but I think I’ve learned some important things (and some hard lessons) that are too good not to share.

If I’m being completely honest, I’m not the best with my money. If there’s $5 in my wallet, you better bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be driving myself down to Dairy Queen. Or how about some new leggings? Or maybe a new lanyard for my keys I’ll end up hating in a week? Due to my inconsistent spending patterns, I feel like I’m always scrambling for money during the school year. Due to my busy schedule, I can’t hold a job and thus, my only steady cash flow comes from my summer job. From May to September, I never have to worry about my bank account, but from October to April, my wallet always seems to be crying along with my eyes (occasionally). That brings me to my first tip: get a job. Whether it’s babysitting, mowing lawns, or working in retail, you can’t save money unless you make money, and you won’t be asking for money from your parents for the rest of your life, so start earning your own as soon as possible.

Once you start making money, you’ll need somewhere to put it. Your best, most reliable, and most self-explanatory option is a bank account. I was lucky enough to start up an account at a young age and every week, my parents or my grandfather would take me to deposit whatever money I could at the time. Whether it’s a checking account or a savings account, either one will protect money better than a wallet can and will also make you a little more money due to interest. Plus, simply having an account will drive your instincts to keep something in it at all times. I cringe when I see less than $10 in my checking account. But let’s face it, I’m always cringing.

That’s where my next tip comes in: put a small percentage of your earnings into your account every so often. For example, I put 20% of all my paychecks into my savings account. Despite the fact that I whimper a little bit every time I do, I know it’ll be good for me in the long run. Even now, I’m proud when I look at my savings account and see all the money I’ve saved for my future self. But sometimes, saving for your future self while trying to supply for your present self is a struggle and a half. You want to spend all this money on new summer clothes and concerts and dinner with friends, but at the same time, you need to be wary of how much cash you’re really dishing out.

One of my final tips is to be a responsible spender. How you spend your money usually directly correlates to how well you save your money. I credit my good saving habits and my sub-par spending habits to my parents. I never received a ton of money from them, and when I did get a few dollars here and there, they always cautioned me to spend it wisely. “No, you can’t buy $200 shoes, Taylor.”

So forgive me if I sound like my mother, but don’t spend your money on useless gadgets that cost an arm and a leg and that you’ll only end up using twice. Don’t spend your money on an $80 shirt you’ll only wear once and please, for the love of God, don’t spend your money on Dunkin Donuts or Aroma Joes every single day.  Don’t get me wrong, treating yourself and splurging once-in-awhile is essential, but don’t make a habit of spending $3 or more a day on something you could most likely go without.

My last and final tip is to have fun. The topic of saving money can be boring and the act of doing so can be dreadful, but it should be all in good faith. I’m not saying don’t enjoy yourself with the money you have now, but I’m saying to put some away so you can still enjoy yourself down the road. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself (and maybe me). Happy saving!

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Save your wallet some stress