Guest Post by Zuhair Shaath, Youth Director at Clear Lake Islamic Center
Over the course of the summer you will inevitably realize that you just aren’t making enough money to enjoy your break. I have compiled three short tips to help you utilize the money you have for optimal enjoyment; in other words, get the most bang for your buck. There’s nothing mysterious about spending money properly, you just have to be responsible enough to know when and where to spend (or save) it.
Three: Knowledge is power
Download your bank’s app and check your account constantly. Don’t be blindsided by low balances that seem to always creep up on people. Sticking your head in the sand won’t magically make things cost less.
Most banks offer low-balance notifications. If yours does then sign up for them as soon as possible. This not only helps you track your spending but is a great way to help catch identity theft quickly.
Two: Become financially independent
Make it a goal this summer to get a job and take ownership of your spending.
If you want to take this to the next level then I suggest you talk to your family and tell them you’re committing to paying a family bill for the summer (electric, phones, cable, etc). This will help you begin to understand what sacrificing for your family truly means when it comes to finances.
Food will undoubtedly be your #1 expense this summer. Having a game plan (and sticking to it) will more than pay off so that you can be stress free by the time fall comes around. Here are a few quick tips on eating out this summer.
Say no to charge
Come up with a weekly budget for spending food outside and withdraw that amount every Monday. If you have cash you can buy it, and if you don’t then don’t. Paying cash is the best way to become cognizant on just how much you actually spend on food items, and it’ll make you appreciate just how quickly $3-$5 items add up (cough starbucks cough).
Find quality alternatives
It’s possible to find alternatives to nice lunch and dinner spots without having to resort to dollar menus and Taco Bell. Instead of going out with your friends and paying $14 for pasta at Olive Garden head over to Chipotle instead and save $5-7. Did you know that you can spend $2.50 on an iced coffee at Starbucks and have them blend it instead of paying $4.50 for a frappuccino? Go to Redbox instead of paying going to the movies, you get the point.
Pack lunches to work (or eat meals via groceries instead of restaurants)
Got a nice new internship? Don’t waste all that money you just earned (hopefully it’s a paid internship) down the drain by going out to eat every day for lunch. Your co-workers are going out to lunch? Feel free to join them, you can either take your lunch with your or eat it at work and grab a snack/side while they’re eating entrees.
These tips can be great individually, but you’ll start to notice larger savings when you combine them together. Depending on your previous spending habits you should be able to save ~$3-4 a day. That doesn’t sound like a lot right now, but when you multiply that over a year that’s ~$1,300 a year. Sounds like a great way to spend on a nice vacation next summer.