1. Consider Community College
It’s not the number one thing parents want to hear, but this works for a lot of people. Shoveling out $50,000 or more, trying to figure out what you want to do with your life, and still graduating with no clue is a disaster. Instead…
a) Pick your college…
b) Talk to an adviser, and ask what community colleges will transfer over credits.
c) Go to your community college, study hard, don’t take it any less serious because it’s not a 4-year school.
d) Save $20,000 or so on the two years that you spend taking general requirements.
e) Transfer to the university, and continue as normal.
2. When in Doubt, Get a Cab
You’ve heard it a million times before, but it’s worth repeating: a cab ride is a lot cheaper than a DUI. Do the math: a $20 cab ride or a minimum of $10,000 in legal fees and a huge red X on your record? Now with the simplicity of Lyft and Uber, you have no excuses.
3. Put Off Buying it for Another Week
Do you have your eye on a cool little gadget or a great pair of shoes you know will change your life? Hold off on the purchase — don’t buy it right now, buy it next week. Chances are very good that you’ll forget about this spur-of-the-moment item and other items you use this technique on.
4. Brown Bag It
Buy a cool reusable (insulated if possible) lunch bag, and make lunch the night before work. If possible, make your lunches assembly-line style for the entire week. Mary Dacuma, eHow’s money editor and my cubicle neighbor at the office, wrote a great article on Mason jar salads for lunch—follow her advice! It’s all inexpensive and way healthier.
5. Quit Smoking
Again, this one’s obvious, but it saves you loads of money. How much money? Well, if you live in New York and smoke a pack a week, that’s $754 a year.
6. Pay Yourself First
When you get paid, systematically put a chunk of money into savings—a lot of people like to use the 10 percent rule of thumb. Just make this an automatic deposit to yourself.
7. Make Your Money Work for You
This tip goes hand in hand with tip #6. If you’re going to save it, don’t put it in a savings account. There are much better types of accounts that will appreciate your savings. Your money depreciates faster than the ridiculously low interest rate. If you’re saving for long-term, consider Roth IRAs.
8. Buy in Bulk
If you use an item often and it’s not perishable, buy it in bulk, and capitalize on bulk sales. You’ll go poor buying paper towels, two at a time. Same with razor blades, toiletries—probably 90 percent of everything at your grocery store.
9. Try Amazon Prime
You know that thing you want? It might be way cheaper on Amazon. And if you have Amazon Prime, free shipping. I’ll change your life.
10. Brew Your Own Coffee
Do not buy an $8 cup of coffee every morning. Buy a big, good Thermos, and brew your own. Bonus points: Keep a few extra mugs at your desk and share with coworkers.
11. Avoid Pay Day Loan Offers
Unless you’re 100 percent certain you can pay off a very, very small loan within a week or two, avoid these methods of loans at all costs. Look at the screen cap up above. The APR on that loan is 89.68 percent!
12. Never Send Money to an African Prince
If an kindly African Prince emails you out of the blue and asks for a small loan so he can transfer large sums of money out of the country, then reward your generosity with a few hundred thousand dollars, just delete said email.
Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall via Flickr, Wikipedia