Tips for Saving Your Tips
There's no doubt that having a job that includes gratuity is great. After all, there's nothing more satisfying than knowing that all of the hard work you put in is being acknowledged and appreciated. But with all of that money readily available before payday it can be extremely difficult to not immediately spend it on clothes, makeup, music, etc. Trust me, I know the struggle. So how can you save AND spend your hard earned tips? Keep on reading to learn about the solution I've found, and utilized over the past three years, to answer this question.
For the last three years I've worked at the same business every summer. It's important for you to know before I continue that the restaurant I work at is a mix between fast food and restaurant, so it doesn't really have waitstaff. Instead, all of the employees are either cashiers or prepare the food to be handed out, so all of the tips I make are made at the register counter in a little tip cup rather than on a bill. For this reason, most of the tips I make are change, so these tips may not necessarily be as applicable to those who make gratuity on a food bill.
Tip 1) Change Jars - Honestly, coins are super annoying to me because they take up so much space and fall all over the place. So change jars originally started out as somewhere to simply keep all of the spare change I was making. But I soon realized that the jars were an easy way for me to save up money for the things I care about such as traveling. So I took some tape, a marker, and labeled the jars so that I could alternate between saving money for the things I enjoy. Soon I was saving anywhere between $30-$45/jar/two weeks from the coins alone.
Tip 2) Bills - If I'm lucky during a shift, I'll make a few dollar bills on top of all of the change. Obviously you could put the bills into the change chars as well, but I personally wanted the jars to strictly be for coins. So, I just kept the bills off to the side in a neat pile out of sight where I wouldn't be tempted to grab them and go on a shopping spree.
Tip 3) Cash not Checking Account - When one jar fills up, which usually takes around two weeks, I'll put the change and the bills in a bag and head over to the bank. The trick for cashing in coins is to simply exchange them for bigger bills rather than throwing it all into your checking account right away. By doing so, you'll be able to physically see your stash depleting, along with how much you're really spending which will encourage you to be more frugal with your money. Of course you could also put the money into your savings right away, but I personally feel like my savings account is still too accessible. I know that if it really came down to it I'd probably take money out of my savings to spend. I know, I'm horrible.
Tip 4) Use Your Cash - If you're planning to go out shopping, have a nice dinner, visit the Farmer's Market, etc. plan to bring plenty of cash. By spending your tip money via cash you'll register in your mind exactly how much you're spending, and you'll have peace of mind that your entire paycheck is safe in your checking/savings account where it's earning interest.
Obviously there a TON of ways to save money that I could mention, but I figured it'd be more helpful if I simply shared the way that I personally save my own money. If you don't work a job that includes earning gratuity then you could try other methods such as budgeting, or using popular apps such as Daily Budget Original, Tip Yourself, or Mint: Personal Finance, Budget, Bills & Money. Whether you're looking to save or budget there are plenty of options for reaching your financial goals as long as you put your head to it and get a little creative. Happy savings!