You’re a college junior, smack in the middle of Week 5. That latte you downed in your Uber to class didn’t really work. You walk out of class around noon with a loud yawn and a growling stomach. You ask yourself the most important question of the day (so far): What to eat for lunch?
You gave up your meal plan when you moved to your cramped, overpriced and shared apartment, so there’s no dining hall to save you. Desperate, your mind jumps to your fridge. Crap, only got Eggos. You sigh and head towards your campus food court. With a quick swipe of your debit card, you spend $10 for a burger, fries, soda and an apple pie.
It didn’t hurt in the moment, but when you check your account balance later that night, the pain hits you hard. You have a part-time job and just got paid a week ago… so how the hell did you end up with only $11? You promised your friends you’d go to Electric Daisy Carnival ’17 with them… oh dear.
Sound familiar? Well…
Here's the truth.
You unintentionally choose to be broke, by spending recklessly and not saving. And this definitely doesn’t just apply to college students. But we can hardly fault you for your behavior. As Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary says:
"No matter how much money you make, the world is designed to take it away."
Here’s a few reasons why the world makes it so damn hard for you to control your spending.
- Tapping a button (ahem Uber) or having your phone scanned (ahem Starbucks) is all it takes to spend today. In today’s world, swiping cards has become inconvenient, and using cash has become painful. Spending has become painless, instant and addictive ⚡️.
- Netflix. Spotify. Munchery. Dollar Shave Club. Subscription services have taken over. It now takes under a minute to start automatically billing yourself on a recurring basis. And it’s usually accidental… because you forgot your free trial had ended 😭.
- Your bank likely doesn’t care about your financial wellness. And so they don’t really try to help you manage your money. How else do you explain the $6 BILLION made from ATM and overdraft fees by the 3 largest banks in 2015? 😠 That doesn’t even include countless hidden fees.
Not to mention alluring credit card rewards, scarily relevant ads that follow you everywhere… you get the point. But despite everything designed to make you go broke, there are many ways for you to fight back and win.
In today's world, swiping cards has become inconvenient, and using cash has become painful. Spending has become painless, instant and addictive.
How You Can Win
Have saving goals you truly care about
Without knowing the “why”, it’ll be crazy hard for you to build better money habits and afford the lifestyle you desire. Without intrinsic motivation and a sense of purpose, you won’t even know where to start.
Your goals should be tangible and specific. “I don’t wanna go broke” isn’t a very motivating goal. No defined success=no excitement. What about saving $500 in 3 months, so you can fly to Cancun for spring break? ☀️🍺
Focus on short or medium term goals. Would you rather save for that Southeast Asia backpacking trip next year 🐘 , or for that comfy retirement nearly half a century later? Acting on long-term goals early is great. But later in life, you don’t want to regret not spending more happy money. If anything, break them down into smaller milestones.
Make your goals achievable. If you’re still in college, you probably won’t be able to buy a Ferrari within a year. Don’t set yourself up for repeated failure and disappointment. Goals like Coachella 2017 👯 or the new Macbook Pro 💻 could be more realistic.
There can be serious ones too. What about paying off your student loan month by month? Saving up for trading stocks? The possibilities are endless. Treat your goals as “rewards” for making good choices with your money.
Understand the state of your money and habits
Knowing what you need and want tomorrow is only the first step. You also gotta be aware of where you are today.
Where does all your money go? Do you spend too much on Chipotle burritos or paying for unused subscriptions? Where can you realistically cut down on without sacrificing too much from the things you enjoy?
In order to know what steps to take to spend less on excess stuff and more on the things that matter, you need to know what’s hurting your finances.
Take simple, bite-sized steps
As famed behavioral scientist BJ Fogg preaches, taking baby steps and achieving small wins is the key to creating long-term behavior change. Wanna finish a marathon one day? Jog for 15 minutes every day for a week, and you’ll already feel awesome about your progress when you stick to that tiny habit for the entire week!
So how does this tie to your saving goals? Let’s say you want to save $200 for a ski trip in a few months. Saving $25 each week is a hell lot easier than trying to save $200 at once. Think eating out just one less time and taking just one less Uber this week. Each small win not only boosts your confidence and makes that tiny habit stickier, but also adds up to huge results. 🎉
Taking baby steps and achieving small wins is the key to creating long-term behavior change.
Okay, I get it. But is there an easy way to do this?
We feel you. The experience of managing your money can be boring, painful, complicated… you name it.
We hate the transaction gibberish we see on our useless bank statements. What does “CMSVEND*CV” even mean???
We hate staring at charts and graphs, and especially at spreadsheets.
We hate abstract personal finance terms and concepts like cash flow, liquid assets, net worth, budgeting... Plus, what happens when we go under our budget? We usually end up wasting that saved money.
We hate how it’s so hard to translate all these info into actions we can take. I spent $150 on Amazon purchases this month. Okay, now what?
We hate how we can’t easily save money with our ancient banking portals and organize our funds in intuitive ways. I have $2,000 saved up... for what?
That’s why we created Pluto — to make all of this a whole lot easier for you. Pluto is the mobile app where you can achieve your saving goals by doing simple challenges tailored for your unique finances. You can get useful insights about your money in ways you can actually understand, and you can even compare your spending anoymously with similar peers. We've redesigned your money management experience into one without the BS.
With Pluto, you’ll realize that you have more money than you think.
Try Pluto now, available for free on the App Store!