10 simple money-saving tricks for millennials

Yoav Vilner, Contributor
Thomas Barwick | Getty Images

If you're a millennial, you've probably heard that we have sub-par savings rates. We don't save enough for retirement, we don't save up enough to live on our own so we stay with our parents longer, and we're just all-around bad spenders.

Luckily, most of these stereotypes aren't actually true. Or, if they are, there's a good reason why.

But, for those millennials who do have a hard time saving, and don't worry, we've all been there, here are 10 tips to help you out.

1. Pick the right student credit card

Many students make the mistake of waiting until after college to get their first credit card. This mean that, when it's time for them to get an apartment, they have no credit history to back them up.

The moral of the story: Don't be afraid of getting a credit card in college! In fact, credit card companies make cards just for students that make it almost impossible to overspend, and you build credit while you're at it.

Most student credit cards are secured cards, meaning they're backed up by a one-time deposit that will go towards any late payments.

Here's how this college grad saved $47,000
Here's how this college grad saved $47,000

2. Track your credit

Knowing your credit is the first step towards improving, or just understanding, your finances. If you start paying attention sooner rather than later, you'll be better off.

Luckily, there are a ton of tools to help you track your credit. There are apps, like Credit Wise from Capital One, that can show you your credit for free whether you're a Capital One customer or not. There are also Credit Karma and Credit Sesame, which are more free tracking services.

3. Open an online savings account

Since nearly everything we do is online, why shouldn't your bank account (or at least one of them) be online too?

Online savings accounts are just as safe as traditional banks, and they often offer higher rates of return than the measly few cents you earn a year from your credit union.

Discover and Capital One are two of the more well-known banks that offer simple savings accounts. You can have money directly deposited into the account each month, so you don't even have to think about saving — it's done for you.

Suze Orman shares the one thing you should do right now to retire a millionaire
Suze Orman shares the one thing you should do right now to retire a millionaire

4. Buy a used car, if you have to buy a car at all

If you have to buy a car, don't go for the high-lease or the newest model, as much as you may want it!

Many people swear by buying only used cars. After all, you don't have the hassle of car loan payments. Plus, you can settle for catastrophic car insurance, instead of a more comprehensive insurance that lenders require.

5. Get a side hustle

The best way to save money? Earn more of it. Side hustles can go from a second, part-time job at Starbucks to selling your art on Etsy.

Or you could drive part-time for a ride-share company like Uber or Lyft. Note that, if you have an older car, that might eliminate you, since Uber likes their drivers to have newer cars. You may also not make as much as you'd think driving for a ride share company.

This 33-year-old CEO offers an unusual but much needed perk
This 33-year-old CEO offers an unusual but much needed perk

6. Open a Roth IRA, or any retirement account … seriously, just do it

We've given you this piece of advice dozens of times before, so pardon the repetition, but it's important!

Saving anything, even an amount you think might be negligible, is a great place to start.

Roth IRAs are our favorite retirement accounts because of one very important feature: Your contributions and interest earnings grow tax-free and, at retirement, withdrawals are 100 percent tax-free. Roth IRAs also simply offer more freedom than an employer-sponsored 401(k).

7. Automate your bills

Forgetting to pay your bills reflects badly on your credit. Maybe not if you miss just one bill after religiously paying on time, but eventually. The point is, we all forget to write a check once in a while. Our lives are hectic and we'd rather not think about all the bills we have to pay.

Good news: You don't have to think about it. If you automate your bills, they'll be paid on time every month — and you might even get a discount. Cell phone companies and auto insurance companies often offer a few dollars off your bill each month if you automate.

8. Get rid of some of your subscriptions

Long gone are the days where Netflix and Hulu were the only subscription services. Now, Amazon alone offers half a dozen different subscriptions. With automatic payments, it's easy to forget about the many services you've signed up for.

Luckily, there are easy ways to cut down on your subscriptions. Trim is just one example of the many personal finance assistant apps on the market — it lets you cancel your old subscriptions and much more.

You can also set up spending alerts for various categories and have Trim, or another app, negotiate some of your bills, so you can say goodbye to spending an hour arguing with the cable company.

This is how millennials can catch up to the boomer generation
This is how millennials can catch up to the boomer generation

9. Don't shop at high-end grocery stores

Especially now that Amazon has bought Whole Foods, you might be thinking of hopping on the Whole Foods bandwagon. I have nothing against high-end grocery stores like Whole Foods or Andronico's, but they're still expensive when you consider the alternatives.

If you really want organic foods, check out your local farmer's market. They're actually cheaper than buying from high-end grocery stores and you'll get to meet the farmers in your community!

Also, "rescue" ugly or deformed fruit and veggies at your grocery store. They taste the same and they're a little cheaper.

Finally, try small, specialty neighborhood shops. You may have to go to the store a little more frequently, since there aren't any preservatives in some of the food, but it'll taste a lot better and you'll be supporting local businesses, and maybe getting better prices, too.

10. Get a budgeting app or journal

"Make a budget" is probably even more annoying advice than "contribute to your retirement plan." But they're both important.

Making a budget isn't hard, but sticking to one is. Luckily, budgeting isn't done by hand or those boring Excel spreadsheets anymore. They can actually be fun!

There are hundreds of apps for budgeting now. Or if you're the kind of millennial who is into old fashioned things, you can try bullet journaling, which involves keeping track of your finances the old fashioned way, with pen and paper.

You'd be amazed how entertaining drawing pictures and using a bunch of different sharpies to record expenses can be.

Closing thoughts

It's not actually true that millennials suck at saving, but if you need a boost anyway, these simple tricks can help. From choosing the right credit card to avoiding pricey grocery stores, there's a tip here that should work for you!

Yoav Vilner is a tech blogger, growth hacker, and start-up marketer. He's also the co-founder of Ranky, a start-up marketing agency. Follow him @YoavVilner.

Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook!

Don't miss: If you have debt, one credit card trick can save you thousands

How to ace your phone interview
How to ace your phone interview