Don’t let your money slip away!
Do you have trouble keeping track of your money? Do you feel like you are always broke? It isn’t easy living on a student’s budget, but there are things you can do to stretch your dollars. Try these money-saving tips. If you stick to them, you will find it makes a difference!
1. Make a weekly budget and stick to it
A budget is simply a spending plan. It gives you a way to plan out how much money you will spend each week before you spend it. Writing it down helps you to understand how much money you have, how much you need to spend, and how to cut out items that are costing you too much. There are plenty of online resources for creating a budget. Try the U.S. Department of Education’s personal budgeting tool.
2. Lower your monthly bills
Monthly payments can add up quickly. Take a look at all of your monthly bills, and see what you can eliminate.
- Do you have cable? Considering canceling it until you finish school
- Adjust your thermostat by a few degrees to save on heat and AC
- Find a cheaper plan for your cell phone
- Cancel your landline (if you have one)
- Shop around for cheaper car insurance
- Find a roommate or two to share rent and utilities
- Join a carpool to save gas money
3. Focus on the “needs,” not the “wants”
Once you make a budget, you will see that some of the things you would like to buy simply don’t fit in your budget. Going out for dinner, for example, is far more expensive than eating in. Grabbing a soda at the soda machine every day adds up, when it’s far cheaper to bring a refillable water bottle from home. Even just $3 at the coffee shop every day can add up to over $750 per year. Save these fun expenditures for special occasions, and try to cut back on your everyday spending.
4. Find it second-hand
Reduce, reuse, recycle. It’s an environmental slogan, but it’s also good for the wallet. With online options such as Craigslist and Ebay, you can find used items that are much cheaper than new ones. Not everything can be bought used, but certain items like textbooks and clothing can definitely be reused. Try local consignment shops, thrift stores, and yard sales too. You can find great bargains!
5. Try to limit your vices
If you are a smoker, we don’t have to tell you that smoking and vaping are expensive. Smokers can spend $2,000-$3,000 per year on cigarettes. That’s a lot of money up in smoke! The American Lung Association has tips on quitting smoking. It’s not easy to quit, but your body will thank you!
6. Try a debit card instead of a credit card
You’ve all heard of credit card debt. Credit cards companies charge you interest if you do not pay off your full balance every month. Technically you are only required to pay the minimum amount each month, but if you do this, the interest can keep adding up until it’s impossible to catch up and you find yourself deep in debt. If you are concerned that you can’t handle a credit card, consider getting a debit card instead.
We hope these tips help you save money during your years as a student. Once you graduate and are able to find work, you will be able to spend a little more freely and start a savings plan for your future. But to make the most of what you have now, it’s best to follow these tips!
The Salter School provides advice and tips on its weekly blog. If you are interested in becoming a student at the Salter School, find out more about our career training programs in massage therapy, medical assisting, and medical billing and coding. Contact us for more info!