Moving away from home for the first time is a key moment in anyone's life. It is the beginning of being responsible for yourself. Whether it is in a dorm room or an apartment with roommates, when you move away from home you become independent, which means taking care of what you eat, what you spend, where you live and how your bills get paid.
It can be a rude awakening if you are not ready for the financial responsibility. Here's some help: Start by determining how much money you need a month for all of your living expenses.
One of my favorite websites is Mint.com for budgeting. This website automatically organizes your spending into categories by linking your credit card and bank statements to your account. This will visually help you know where your money goes each month.
One function I use at my bank is that I get a text message when my accounts go below $500. This feature stops me from getting any additional bank fees and makes sure I have enough money in my accounts to cover all my checks or bills.
Upfront costs from moving into a new place can put a dent in your budget. Damage deposit or first/last month's rent might be required before you move in. It's a good idea to start stocking away funds to be ready for this expense.
When you are getting ready to move, start purchasing or gathering items like silverware, dishes, glasses, towels etc. before you leave your parents' house. Ask your family if there are any pieces you could take, check out yard sales or consignment stores. Be realistic about your surroundings. You would probably like to have really nice things in your new place, but do not use credit to purchase these items because in the long run it will cost you much more.
Now that you are in your new place, how else can you save money? Do not buy anything that is not on sale. Be prepared by having a backup of the items that you use every day. Cook your own meals. Stores today have many simple ways to prepare meals in your home. Take your lunch with you to work or school; do anything you can to stop from frequenting restaurants.
You may have to cut back from certain activities, but keep an open mind and find stuff to do that's free. Meeting the challenges of adulthood on your own will demonstrate what you can accomplish once you put your mind to it. This knowledge will help you succeed for the rest of your life.
Other ways to save
■ Return this special coloring page to Leslie's Pool Supplies, 130 W. Tiverton Way on or before Aug. 9th to receive a free pool noodle.
■ National Yoga Month starts on Sept. 1. Check out free classes in your area. http://bit.ly/1klf4FU
■ Earn a free Scholastic book with participating Kellogg purchases. Scholastic.com/kelloggs.
■ Like Cara Mia on their Facebook page to receive a free recipe book with coupons.
■ Request a free mini natural beauty magazine with healthy living tips and samples. http://bit.ly/1o9GGZr
■ Through Sept. 7, enter the JCPenney Express Yourselfie Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of 540 $25 JCP.com eGift cards or one of 1,350 $10 JCP.com e-gift cards. Just take a picture of yourself and send it. If you are not a winner, you will receive a coupon good for 20 percent off your select original, regular, sale, and clearance-priced apparel, shoes, accessories, fine jewelry and home purchase at JCPenney, valid through Sept. 13. Jcpexpressyourselfie.com
■ Purchase five participating NESTLE or WONKA singles to earn $5 off your next movie ticket from Fandango. http://bit.ly/1bMgLYq
■ Try Lanacane Anti-Itch Cream or Lanacane First Aid Spray and receive a refund of your purchase price. http://bit.ly/1oHuDaD
■ Text SCHOOL to 827438 to get a Target mobile coupon for $5 off $25 worth of back-to-school supplies. Also, Target.com is offering $10 on your online order of $40 or more when you opt for free in-store pickup. Score a $10 Target gift card when you purchase four select household items. Expires Aug. 2nd. Item deal scenarios include: buy two Charmin 24-pk double roll or 12-pk mega roll @ $12.99; buy two Bounty 12-pk basic roll or 5-pk giant roll @ $8.99; get $10 off online order of $40 (choose in-store pickup); pay $33.96 and get back $10 Target gift card. Final price is $23.96 for all four (or $5.99 each).
Deborah Morris' weekly column, The Fru-Gal, can help you get through these economic hard times a little more easily. If you know of a way to save some money, feel free to share it on The Fru-Gal blog on BluegrassMoms.com and visit her Web site, Fru-gal-friends.com.