Remember when you were four or five? When a dime or a quarter felt like a fortune? And maybe you had a piggy bank, and your parents would tell you to put your coins inside to save up for something special. I'm 20 now and the piggy bank habit hasn't left me. Believe it or not, the "piggy bank habit" has become one of my most successful approaches to saving.
When I started college, I bought a little glass jar to use for storing change. I thought "Hey, I'm an adult now. Glass jars are definite upgrades from Mr. Piggy." Then I made some goods habits.
Every time I would go out to make a purchase, I would pay in cash rather than using debit. Cash is much harder to part with than a quick swipe of a piece of plastic at the register. In fact, using cash rather than cards has probably saved me hundreds just because doing so makes me a more intentional spender! I can clearly see how much money I have left in my wallet and I've found that the awareness of what I have left makes me much more likely to conserve my funds.
The next habit I made was saving the change from every cash transaction -- just the coins. So if my total came to $18.50 and I got $1.50 back, I would save the 50 cents in my little glass jar and keep the buck for later. I found that the clear glass jar made me much more motivated to keep saving, because I could see the coins piling up. Furthermore, I really didn't miss having tons of change rattling around in my wallet. Then, when I had the time, I would take my little glass jar and exchange the change for dollars at the supermarket. I've made anywhere between $51-$96 bucks per trip. I now alternate between either putting that cash towards my savings account or personal spending.
Yes, the process can be slow, but those two cents every here and there really do add up. Besides, in college, every cent helps. Make a piggy bank habit!