Young & Broke Girl: How I Saved $3000 in 3 Months

Updated on March 5, 2019
Catherine Stolfi profile image

Catherine is an independent research consultant at NASA Langley with degrees in English, Biology, and Environmental Science (M.S.).


When it came to saving money on my income, it was a tough hill to climb but with some changes of habit and some discipline I was able to save over $3,000 in just three months.

I’ll share some of my money-saving tips and how I threw out habitual spending and focused back on living on necessities.

Get Organized With a Spreadsheet of Your Expenses

I think the first rule of saving is organization. This mainly means two things: 1) knowing what bills you have each month and each week and 2) knowing how much you spend a month outside of your bills.

Open up an excel spreadsheet and start your budget list. Try to create it starting from the 1st of the month. Include these expenses:

  • Rent
  • Credit cards
  • School loans
  • Car payments
  • Electric
  • Cable
  • Health insurance

Payment Due Date

Automatic Payments

This list should be all of the things that you can set up an automatic payment if you haven’t done so already. Many of these utilities and card companies will have penalties if you miss payments, so set up auto pay directly from your checking account for the withdrawals. Then organize by week and try to spread out your payments where possible.

For example, most rent is paid on the 1st or the 15th of every month. Depending on that date, create credit card payments accordingly so it is evenly spread out. You can usually do this easily online at the card companies’ website or by giving them a call. Then, you will have extra money each paycheck rather than having to roll over that amount to the next week to pay the big bills.

Once this is complete, sum up the total of these bills and see how much is left over. Most people are surprised by what they find and are thinking, where did all of my money go this month?

Identify How You're Spending Your Money

This brings me to the next step of serious saving. I use my debit card for practically every purchase, which most people do nowadays, so a perfect history of my spending habits are right on my bank statements.

Print out the bank statements for your debit card for the last 3 to 6 months, and add up the following categories for each month:

  • Gas
  • Eating out
  • Personal hygiene purchases
  • Shopping for luxuries

I was shocked to find out that one month I spent a staggering $350 on eating out alone. I couldn’t understand how my account wasn’t in the negative hundreds of dollars.

That money could have been in my savings account. It was time for a big change, so I opened an online savings account where I could deposit money directly from my checking into my savings.

Cut Out Luxuries

Very few people think of the word “luxuries” when they think of “young” and “broke,” but it’s important to identify this category if you’re serious about filling that savings account. I would even place eating out under the luxury category. Basically, I recommend purchasing only what you need to survive.

Luckily for me, I started my money saving experiment the 1st of January, right after the holiday season. This is the time when you’ll have gifts (that can be returned) and gift cards (that can be traded for cash or spent). I sold most of my gift cards on Gift Card Granny for cash or saved them to spend over the year. Again, this is where the organization comes into play. Create a list of your gift cards and trade-in the luxury ones and keep the ones you can spend on necessities.

For example, sell the cards for stores that just sell clothing but keep the big department store cards so you can still buy the socks, underwear, etc. you might need throughout the year. Sell any items you don’t need at the moment on eBay. You can always use the money later when you break a plate, need shampoo, etc.

Use Up Everything, Ask Yourself: Do I Really Need This?

Another great tip is seeing how long you can go without buying personal hygiene items. Use your eyeliner to the nub. Use all your blushes until the bristles are coming out and basically don’t buy anything you already have in your closet. Resist all urges!

I was also able to save a large chunk of money because tax season came and went. A lot of people use their tax return to pay off some bills or book a great vacation.

The vacation is a luxury and, sorry to tell you, most of your credit card bills will still be there by next tax season. The trick is to take every penny from your tax return and put it into your savings account.

Then set up payments on your credit cards throughout the year a little above the minimum so you can pay them off sooner. Every credit card statement will tell you the amount you need to pay in order to pay off your balance in 3 years. Just go with that amount.

Go Grocery Shopping

As I said before, eating out is a luxury so avoid it at all costs and eat at home. This is why your grocery shopping needs to be organized and rigid. I don’t suggest clipping coupons, at all!

Coupons are usually only for expensive brand name items where the generic or store brand version is even cheaper than the discounted amount. My huge tip for shopping is to not make a list of items but rather make a grocery list with the days of the week.

Let’s say you go food shopping every Monday night, you will write on your list:

Sample Shopping List
4 Weekday Dinners
4 Lunches at Work
7 Breakfasts
1 Snack for Work
2 Snacks for Home

This way you can shop optimally to reduce the amount of expired foods in your home and know you will have enough food until the next shopping trip. Also, become a member at your local grocery store and use any coupons they may give you at the register there (again, no clipping).

So, how much was I up to so far? Well, by the end of February I was already at $2,000, but I still had $1,000 more to go. I stuck to the plan and stayed on top of my excel spreadsheet with all of my bills and avoided luxury spending, even if it was a $1 cone from the ice cream truck.

It adds up. When you feel the urge to go shopping take a look in your pantry, clothing closet and bathroom cabinets and say instead, how much money can I put in my savings account today?

Questions & Answers

  • How much did you save per week being young and broke?

    It varied because when I was near the 1st of the month, the amount I could save was significantly less due to needing to pay my monthly bills. Other than that, it was consistently from 200-400 a week.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Amazing Article. I will definitely work on this. I do need to save for my medical bills and house and also a lil loan for to pay my friend back. Thank you.

    • Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

      Kierstin Gunsberg 

      2 years ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Great tips! We're saving a down payment for our first home and the two things that have been the most helpful for us is grocery shopping and using up everything we have. I used to buy things before we ran out and something they would expire before I could even get to them. Yikes!

      I also find shopping online to be an easy way to pinch pennies. At the store I'm prone to whip items into the cart so I can get out of there but shopping from home, it's easy to stick to a list, especially as I look around and see all that I already have.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Yup. Me too. I will follow what you said. I need a holiday,

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Good article. Thanks for sharing

    • RichFatCat profile image

      Alan Lehmann 

      3 years ago from Texas

      Great advice

    • profile image

      acounting 101 

      4 years ago

      Spreadsheets helped me in accounting class and in saving money.

    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 

      5 years ago from Iowa, USA

      It's amazing how much those small extra purchases can add up throughout the month.

    • truthfornow profile image

      Marie Hurt 

      5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Very impressive. It does take discipline to save. I definitely need to follow your example. Voted up and useful.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)