Find creative ways to give your wallet a break
Getting an education is an investment in your future. But as many students know, living on a student budget can be difficult. You simply don’t have the money to purchase as many things as you would like. How can you make your limited funds stretch further? Try this advice:
Know your needs from your wants
When you are a student, you simply can’t buy everything you want. That’s why it’s important to know the difference between a want and a need. Try hard to purchase only what you need, and save the wants for later down the road when you begin a career.
Make a budget and stick to it
Budgets are a way of planning your expenditures ahead of time. Think about what you will need and set aside the money for it, so that you are not surprised when the expense comes around. Try not to buy any items that you hadn’t included in your budget.
Get a roommate
If you are living by yourself in an apartment, you are probably spending a lot of money on rent and utilities. See if you can find a roommate to share the expenses. You’ll be amazed at how much less expensive it is to live with a roommate.
Watch the impulse buys
Buying something on impulse can be a mistake. By the next day, you may look at the item and regret spending the money on it. To prevent this, try the 24-hour rule. This means you wait 24 hours before deciding to purchase something. Many times, you’ll find that you didn’t really need that item in the first place.
Look for the small expenses that add up
A dollar here and a dollar there doesn’t seem like a lot of money to spend, but when you start adding up your small expenditures over the year—like that cup of coffee and a bagel every morning—you see how much you could save if you cut back on these expenses. Try to make your own coffee and bring a refillable water bottle with you. It’s not as convenient, but will give you more cash flow.
Buy it used
Of the items you need to buy, which ones of them can be bought used? Books, clothing, cars, household items…many of these are easy to find used. Try eBay, Craigslist, and neighborhood yard sales. This is a great way to get a good price and recycle items that might otherwise end up in a landfill.
Watch your habits
Unhealthy habits like smoking, vaping, and drinking are not only bad for your health but can also be very expensive over time. The more you cut back on these, the better you will feel and the more money you will have to spend on other things.
If you have the facilities to prepare your own food, you can save money by eating in rather than eating out. Eating in is often healthier too. To liven things up, try your hand at preparing a new recipe or trying a new food.
Wait on getting a pet
Some students who are living on their own for the first time may be excited to get a pet. Pets can be great companions, but they are another mouth to feed. Expenses for cats and dogs can be as high as $1000 for the first year, and $500 per year after that.
Pay off your credit cards each month
Credit cards let you spend money that you don’t have. Don’t fall into the trap of overspending, only to find that you don’t have enough money to pay off your balance. Each month you fail to pay off your full balance, you will be charged interest. Before you know it, you could have monthly interest payments that are more than you can afford. If you don’t think you have the discipline for a credit card, a debit card may be a better option until you can manage a credit card.
Look for a part-time job
Most part-time jobs that you can have while you are a student will not pay a high wage, but every little bit helps! Working a part-time job can help you make ends meet during your student years.
Talk to your financial aid office
Did you submit your FAFSA? Have you done everything you can to seek out financial aid? Are there scholarships in your community that you can apply for? Make an appointment with your financial aid office and see if there is anything else you can do to get more aid.
We hope these tips help you find ways to save money while you are student. With a little effort and discipline, you can make your money go further!