A College Girl’s Guide: 5 Tips for Saving Your Money!

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SaveYourMoneyToday’s topic is something that I have {and let’s be honest: continue to} struggled with for the past couple of years after starting to make my own money and having my own checking account. Like some girls, I LOVE to shop. Clothes, jewelry, shoes, electronics, etc… I love it all! However, it also makes it kind of hard for me to save a lot of my money because there’s always some really great piece that I’d love to get my hands on {think new Tory shoes or that Michael Kors watch}!

I often find myself justifying my spending habits by attributing them to school necessities: a new trendy pair of heels for a scholarship dinner or a classic white button down for frat events. BUT DON’T LET THAT FOOL YOU. I’m just trying to avoid the guilt trip that always comes around when I look at my significantly dented bank account. Now, if you want to see how I plan on saving my hard earned summer money for future trips, blogging investments, and great gifts for friends and family; keep reading!

1. Have a physical budgeting spreadsheet somewhere.

So, this is probably my favorite tip and something that I actually do on a daily and monthly basis. I make a digital spreadsheet using Excel on my computer when I have big spending events that I know I can’t/don’t want to avoid like apartment decorating, spring break, or Christmas shopping. I’ll take a predetermined lump sum of money and subtract my expenses from it as I see fit. This really just helps me see my budget and how I’m spending it in an organized fashion! I’ll go back in later and fill out how much I actually spent and make an envelope with my receipts and everything (in case of returns/exchanges) and store that away in a safe place!

I also find that making this kind of spreadsheet in your agenda/planner is a great way to keep track of the money that you plan on spending vs. what you’re actually spending it on! I showed you that I kept my budgeting on the first notes page of every month with goals and a quote in this post here. This just keeps track of monthly spending on Netflix, Spotify, Starbucks, and runs to McAllister’s for lunch. I find this super helpful when I’m trying to cut things out of my spending life and just overall very good for tracking where my money is going!

2. Enrolling in an automatic debit system with your bank.

Wells Fargo specifically allows you to do two things that I think can benefit you tremendously in saving a little bit of extra cash! The first is called a Way 2 Save account which withdraws $1 every time you swipe your debit card. Now, you would think one dollar wouldn’t really do much but let’s say I swipe my card 2x a day, every day, for an entire month. That’s $60 by the end. That’s a great way to start off in my book!

Secondly, I have automatic withdrawals scheduled for a certain day of the month that deposits a set amount of money and places it into my savings account. I don’t have to think about it, and I don’t have to be tempted to not save for that month! It’s usually on pay day so that I don’t really have to worry about not having the money there or anything else that would result in overdraft fees! Yikes. This is another great way to build up your savings!

3. Use free services/apps to build up rewards and or points.

I am an avid believer in rewards programs and savings apps. I swear by the Walmart, Kroger, and Target apps that give coupons and notifications on sales in departments I frequently shop in! The Walmart Savings Catcher App basically price matches against all the stores in your area and if it finds somewhere that had cheaper prices it’ll give you your money back on a Walmart gift card. I’ve saved over $50 dollars with this! I typically spend the saved cash that’s stored on a Walmart gift card on groceries or makeup essentials when I’m running low!

Ebates is also my favorite! We all do plenty of online shopping, and if you don’t, go you! You can shop on participating stores after visiting the Ebates platform and save tons of money! I usually do this on Amazon or Chegg when buying textbooks that give 5% discounts because the more you spend the more you get back. We all know how expensive those things can be! I’ve gotten over $100 dollars back on things that I had to buy anyway like textbooks, winter coats, shoes, and book bags!

4. Reading your spending reports.

I know what you’re all thinking… what the heck is a spending report? Well, even I didn’t know that this even existed even though I got the emails every couple of months saying that my spending report was ready. Let me tell you: If your bank, credit union, mattress, or whatever, sends you spending reports quarterly, do yourself a favor and read them!!!

You’d think 15 transactions saying you got your typical morning cup of joe from Starbucks wouldn’t really do much, but when you see how much you’ve spent in a month it will scare you right into wanting to stop spending so frivolously and saving some money! I promise. Works every time!

5. Let your friends/family know you’re trying to save!

So, this one is kind of weird, I’ll admit. But, it kind of makes sense at the same time. No one wants to be frugal Freddy (even though you definitely should want to be Frugal Freddy) because I feel like there’s a negative connotation with being the “cheap one” in the college atmosphere. Granted there’s a difference between being the “cheap one” and being “financially cautious”. Make sure the people in your life know that you’re trying to save money for the European extravaganza after graduation and that you don’t think ordering out 4 times a weekend is the best move for you. They’ll be aware and it’ll be totally less awkward than complaining about your money struggles in front of them later.

Don’t take this as an opportunity to accept hand outs. You’re not poor, just being aware of your spending habits. If everyone is going in equally on dinner, pay your part. However, don’t ever agree to split checks equally because you ordered a chicken Caesar salad, not the 12 oz prime rib for a reason. Ya feel? I also think that talking about it out loud to someone will help keep you accountable for actually trying to save. My mom taunts me whenever I’m trying to snatch up a $30 dollar Anthropologie candle, right after I complained about how much money I spend. Lol, try again Gabby. It’s helpful and I’m glad she’s always keeping me on my toes.

Hopefully, I inspired you to start saving and gave you some tips and resources to have you saving more and spending less as the semester picks up again. Break the broke college student stigma, and get fiscally responsible y’all! We’re gonna stretch our summer earnings to their full potential! Thanks for reading and check out all of our social media for more of the swirl girls! {Links in the side bar}



  • Ebates is seriously my favorite. I love getting cash back on whatever purchases I can. Every little bit adds up in the end! I also think that keeping a budget is super important – no matter how much or how little money you make, it’s important to be conscious of where your money is going and how it’s being used.

    • Ebates is a silent life saver. I have made quite a bit of money back from it, definitely a online shopping must! Thanks for reading 🙂

      xo, Gabby

  • What great tips! I’m becoming more independent this year (aka my parents aren’t paying for everything anymore) and I’m really having to learn how to budget. Granted I’m not a huge spender, but when you add groceries and gas into the mix, that money goes quick. I also think making your own food is a great option. Why not have friends over for a nacho night instead of going out. Way more fun plus you can stay in comfy clothes, haha

    • I rarely ever buy anything for myself anymore {like silly things}! Almost all of my money goes to food and stuff for school/blog. It’s still nice to keep myself in check and I think I love the Walmart app a little too much to be 20 years old lol! Thanks for reading! Love the nacho night idea!

      xo, Gabby

  • Shaina McGregor

    Great tips! I think saving money in college is very important, and it starts with a budget. I’ve written posts on both saving money and on college loans! It’s so easy to spend spend spend in college, but then after we graduate we are hit with loads of debt. Why wait to start tackling that when we can tackle it in school when we have less responsibility! I agree it’s good to let your friends know you are saving, but I also think it’s important to know its okay if everyone else is spending and you’re not. You should not feel like a cheapo or care if people call you cheap because you know the bigger picture.