Millennial Money: An experiment in money-saving hacks

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As both a student and a millennial, my eyes are always peeled for helpful tips and advice on how to manage my finances. I recently came across this article from refinery 29 about “10 Bizarre Money Habits Making Millennials Richer.”

While I usually try and avoid this ‘listicle’ format, I was intrigued enough to look into it. The list surprised me in that it actually did include some new tips I hadn’t heard about before, like literally freezing your credit card (See image to the left).

I decided to run a little experiment based on this article, and I’m sharing the results with you now. I didn’t think it would be feasible to try and implement all ten of the habits. Besides, some of them don’t apply to me (I no longer have a car or any recurring payments coming out of my bank account), so I decided to focus on just a few of the tips to see how easy they really were to put into action.

Tip 1: Pick a denomination and save it

The first tip I implemented was to pick a denomination and save it, always. Unlike the article, I don’t get paid in cash (or at all really, apart from payment for blogs like this), so the only time I come into contact with physical cash is when I take it out of an ATM or get cash back at the grocery store.

I thought I’d start small: I would save all my £2 coins [the UK pound is the currency where I currently live, in Scotland] in a jar on my desk. This actually turned out to work quite well for me, as my current wallet is a card carrier without any space for coins. Every time I received change I separated out the £2 coins,  then made sure to move them into the jar every couple of days. After three weeks of this method, though, I had only saved around £12. Turns out, £2 coins aren’t given out that frequently as change.

I decided to up the ante and continue to save my £2 coins, but to start saving my £1 coins as well. This is where it gets really exciting. After another two weeks, and including the original £12, I was able to save £38 with this trick! Brilliant. I will definitely continue to do this whenever I get change back.

Tip 2: Skip the coffee, save the cash

Another tip the article suggests is to skip the coffee; save the cash. While I don’t actually drink coffee, I have been known to frequent Starbucks for a chai latte or the coffee bar in my university library for a hot chocolate, often with the excuse that ‘I deserve this.’ This is one of the hardest lessons I’ve learnt in the course of this experiment:  just because I really feel like having a hot chocolate doesn’t actually mean I deserve one. Big difference there.

Now, though, every time I feel the craving emerge, I fight it, and instead wait until I get home to make myself a special treat. The best part, I then move the amount of money I would have spent on my drink into another savings jar. How clever is that?!

I’ve always been told to consider the amount of money each of those Starbucks drinks costs and to think about what I could buy with the money instead, but it never occurred to me to actually take the money and save it to spend elsewhere.

The internet these days seems to be swarming with tips, tricks, and hacks about how millennials can better save our money and learn to appreciate the value of each dollar, but many of them are repetitive or common sense.

It was refreshing to read an article where I, as someone who has been brought up with a heightened awareness of the importance of saving (to see why, check my bio below!) was able to read something new and put some of its ideas into practice, though I wasn’t quite brave enough to stick my credit card in the freezer.

Maybe one day!

Helen Chevreau is a student teacher, blogger and global adventurer. She also happens to be the daughter of Hub CFO Jonathan Chevreau. She has a B.A. in English and has been blogging for five years. She is currently in Scotland for postgraduate studies in education. 

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