What’s up Wild Child?
Your resident broke grad student here.
I’m going to be honest, since starting grad school money has been tight. Like I’m experimenting with the weird things in my pantry because I only have $2 in my bank account and can’t afford to buy groceries tight. Or becoming a recluse because those $3 wells are just a bit too pricey, and my friends can’t support me forever – right?
Ya’ feel me?
So, I’ve had a bit of adapting to do. And I’m thankful for it.
I view money so differently than I used to, and am much more careful with how I spend it now. (Probably how I should have always been – but live and learn.) I’ve discovered some pretty basic broke girl hacks that I think are good practice whether you are broke or just won the lottery.
Since starting these mindful money practices, I have saved HUNDREDS every month.
Here are my top 10 favorite broke girl/student hacks!
#1 Make. A. List.
For all you non-list-making people out there, writing down what you actually need when going shopping really does help you avoid buying the things that you don’t.( I suggest starting off at your local grocery store and then moving up to Target if you are looking for a real challenge.)
#2 Don’t just shop at one place.
Convenience may be nice, but paying premium prices for the things you need isn’t! Search for the best deals, and don’t settle! You can most always find a better price at other stores. I suggest going to the cheapest places first and then moving onto higher-priced stores to find the things the first store didn’t offer.
#3 Stop buying bottled water!!!
Really, stop. Save yourself, save the planet, and save your damn bank account by not buying bottled water anymore. If you are over the age of 18, do yourself a favor and invest in a water purifier and a sturdy, reusable water bottle – you’ll thank me later.
#4 Don’t be afraid to thrift!
This is my favorite one! (& the most fun!) You will never know what you will find at the thrift store (or a consignment boutique) if you don’t go! I’ve found brands like J. Crew, Lily Pulitzer, and Kate Spade all for fractions of the price and in excellent condition at thrift stores. I suggest finding the thrift stores in the nicest areas in town and hitting those up (bonus: they have sales going on all week long on different items!)
If you aren’t down to dig through the jungle of clothes found at thrift stores, a nicer alternative would be to hit up your local consignment shops. These usually have nicer brands, and are more on trend. Be careful – the prices are still cheap but add up quickly!
# 5 Sell your stuff!
Okay, okay, okay. Listen up, ladies and gents! Poshmark is your best friend. I sold my clothes (and some of my mom’s) on the Poshmark app and made over $1,000. Seriously. Do yourself a favor when you spring clean this year and sell the things you want to get rid of on Poshmark! (It takes time and effort to be a good seller – but is also so fun!)
#6 Identify your top 3 bills/expenses and find ways to reduce them.
Sit ya’ booty down. Open you back account. Take a look at what your top three expenses are other than rent & bills. How can you reduce these expenses every month? Let’s get creative about saving money!
#7 Only eat at home.
I’m not saying you should be anti-social – it’s just that two drinkies, queso, and steak fajitas are going to be out of your price-range for awhile. BUT, you can always make them at home and invite your friends over. #MakingMemories #GradSchool #BrokeForever #RIPQueso
Let’s take eating at home a step further. Never be left in a situation where your only option is to buy food and screw your bank account over even more. Nay, nay. Take the extra time out of your week to prep your meals before your week starts. If you buy your food somewhat in bulk (at the cheap stores) it is easy to spend 1 – 2 hours making your meals for the next 3 – 4 days! (Plus, you might just eat a little healthier, aka lose weight, aka skinny legend, BOOM. )
#9 Don’t buy all of your books before class! (Don’t buy them from bookstore!!)
When it comes to school (AKA the reason why you’re broke and reading my blog), simply do not (DO NOT) purchase your books before school starts unless your professor explicitly tells you to do so. Wait until your classes have started to see if you really need it, and then go buy it on Amazon. If it is an online book, ask a couple of friends if they want to split the cost and share log-in info. $$ This will save you hundreds! $$
#10 Cancel all of your subscriptions.
You know when you are about to post a pic to Insta and then you realize you need FaceTune to literally smooth out your entire body? Same. These types of purchases are killing you. Okay, maybe not literally, but let’s be real, you probably don’t even know all of the crazy things you are subscribed to. Take a few minutes to figure it out. Make a list, and determine what subscriptions you really need in your life. (Don’t touch Netflix tho.)
11. Identify your non-negotiables.
You might notice that most of these hacks have to do with food and groceries. When I practiced #6 I identified that food was my largest expense and often times most of the food I bought would go bad before I could eat it (so I was really wasting money!).
These may seem like small, simple changes, but they really can make a huge difference!
In fact, I saved so much money on my last grocery trip that I splurged and bought a Target candle.
Let me know if you are interested in more content like this! I love helping people!
What is one thing YOU need to cut back your spending on? Let me know in the comments!
This article was originally written in Januar2017 and edited and published in April 2019.