Money-Saving Tips For The Young & Cash-Conscious

If you’re like me, sometimes you eat your feelings, but most of the time, you prefer to buy your feelings.

I think everyone struggles with this to one degree or another. It’s so easy to justify small purchases, like loading your cart up with “just a few things” from the Target dollar section, or picking up coffee “here and there”. But the reality is that all of these little things add up, and can be the most difficult to combat when you’re trying to save money and be smart about what you are spending.

I wanted to write a post talking about the tactics I’ve learned that help avoid “emotional spending” and wastefulness. I love to shop, and I have a strong weakness for Starbucks cappuccinos, but I recently realized that I needed to change the way I look at my money and how I choose to use it. Keep in mind – this post is written from the perspective of a twenty year old female that lives with her parents. I obviously don’t manage my money the same way that someone paying bills/a rent does, but I’ve found that these practices are what have helped me control my cash expenditure for my current stage of life.

Change your mindset…

When I was in high school, money that I made waitressing was used for binge-shopping at T.J.Maxx, late-night ice creams dates with friends, and lots of large Ulta purchases – always justified in my mind, of course.

Here’s a serious throwback I managed to scrounge up of baby Kate at her first serving job…I believe I was seventeen in this photo.

But now, things have changed for the better.

How did that happen?


I learned how to differentiate between things that I want and things that I need.

Of course, I also started my transition into adulthood in the last year, so being aware of my savings account, future “life” purchases such as my own car, and becoming a responsible young person have also played a large role in my shifted mindset, but the want vs. need concept is the most important thing that has altered the way I spend. If you want to know my most helpful tips on how to save money in everyday areas of your life, keep reading!

Wardrobe, Cosmetics, all the pretty things…


Most of the time, this is the category that I fail in, and that is why the want vs. need concept is so vital.

Do I really need another pair of boots? Is that extra bottle of nail polish totally necessary? Wow, face masks are on sale for 10% off, I’ll buy seven!

Because I recognize my tendency to impulsively buy clothing and makeup, here are the basic guidelines that I follow when purchasing all of those pretty things:

     ~ Identify key pieces that are most practical for your wardrobe. I tend to make a list of things, like jeans or a sturdy pair of shoes, that would be most beneficial and versatile in my closet. My personal preference is to spend more money on quality pieces that I need to last (a great jacket, well-made ankle boots, a simple party dress to accessorize), while spending a minimal amount of money on more basic articles of clothing. Speaking of basic…

     ~ Buy your basics from Target. They sell t-shirts cut in multiple different styles and colors, all for ridiculously cheap, especially when you land on those BOGO deals. My tip: buy a couple sizes up if you like that comfy, baggy-in-an-avant-garde-way, Free People look. I size up in all my basics to achieve that vibe. As much as I love Free People, I can’t spend $60 on a t-shirt! #sorrynotsorry

go-to top this summer? my cheap white Target v-neck!

BASIC V-NECKS here & here (I own these in multiple colors!)

     ~ Thrift stores! Thrifting is fantastic if you’re artsy and like to find cheap pieces to make your own. Search through the denim racks to find jeans to cuff, shred, or chop into shorts. I’ve bought my fair share of oversized sweaters at thrift shops as well. The men’s section is also great if you’re into that oversized button down look.

~ When it comes to cosmetics, I apply the same rule as I do for clothing: spend more money on the most important products, and buy the easy stuff cheap. For me, important products are primer, foundation, concealer, setting spray – stuff that is essential to a great makeup look. I do also recommend purchasing one quality shadow palette with colors that you can create multiple wearable looks with. On the other hand, the “easy” stuff in my book includes mascara, highlight, bronzer, powder – products that aren’t as essential for a fresh face. I can deal with slightly clumpy $6 mascara, but I cannot deal with chalky drugstore foundation. I will link all my favorites products, both high and low-end, below. 


Social Outings…  

Beautiful breakfast I had visiting friends the other weekend…worth every penny : )

Part of life is enjoying life. You’re allowed to be a social butterfly! However, sometimes it’s hard to balance a social life when the majority of things we do for fun have some sort of cost, whether it be food, movies, road trips, food, etc. Here’s what I usually do to avoid blowing all my cash while still having a good time:

~ If you are going to eat out, stick to once a week. Also pay attention to where you eat out. I myself rarely eat out at anywhere more expensive than a Panera type-of-place. I really try to limit myself to once a week, and I usually save those meals for plans with friends. Otherwise, I try to make myself eat at home as much as possible – if you have food at you house, do not waste it! 

~ Suggest coffee or ice cream dates with friends. Going along with my previous point, if you’re trying to only eat out once a week, but you have lots of things you want to do and people you want to see, suggesting cheap conversational outings, such as coffee or ice cream, allows for a fun get-together without costing more than a couple of bucks. Do this in addition to eating out once a week, or better yet, suggest this instead of a full meal to really save some cash!

~ Stay in. When you’re a twenty-something, I know this sounds lame, but trust me! Staying in to cook and watch movies is just as enjoyable as going out, in my opinion. I love to wear cute outfits and go to fun restaurants with friends, but I also like to stay casual and just hang out at someone’s house.

I know it may seem awkward to some people to talk about money, or lack thereof, but I promise that if you just tell your friends that you can’t spend a lot, they will absolutely understand. Most of us are in the same boat anyway!

And If You Want The Big Dough…

money giphy
via Giphy

Develop a weekly/monthly savings plan. I’ve recently adopted this, and it feels so good to see that number in my savings account going up, while still maintaining enough money for everyday living. I’ve still got a long way to go, but this is the first step in the right direction. There are tons of different savings plans on Pinterest that you can follow, or you can create your own based on your individual needs.

I hope this post was helpful! This is a daily struggle that I’ve had to adapt to, being a young adult, and I know that most everyone else my age can relate. Please let me know your favorite money-saving tip in the comments below! 

Happy spending, and saving!

Much love. 





© Kate Stedelbauer and AbundantlyKate, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kate Stedelbauer and AbundantlyKate with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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