Living on a budget: 10 Saving options for college students

When we get to college, we live on a tight budget. Many students get in the habit of buying now and paying later. Unfortunately such spending habits can and do come back to bite you. Little do we realize how frivolous spending on non-essentials increases dept and depletes your disposable income. So here are 10 easy ways on living on a student budget and saving money:

1. Hide your credit cards
Uncontrolled credit cards contribute to excessive debts. How about paying straight cash instead? In that case you will not have any obligations to continue months of payments after the purchase. Many eventually block their credit cards after paying off acquired depts, but this is not the solution. You need to have control over your credit cards and learn how to use them cautiously as this will prepare you for managing your finances easier at an older age when you have more needs and responsibilities.

2. Give up bad habits
Things like smoking, excessive drinking, gambling, shopaholic tendencies and spending too much money on takeaways tend to contribute as costly expenses as time progresses. Spending too much on these habits and guilty pleasures can cost one dearly in a short and long term period. Calculate how much you spend on these items every month and year and start thinking about cutting down or quitting to use that money for other things that will do you better for.

3. Rely on Bargains
When shopping for clothes, groceries, and other items, look for sales and "last off the shelve" items when considering making a purchase. Prescribed textbooks are also an expense but you can save on that too; by buying second hand textbooks in good condition. When you go treat yourself at a restaurant with friends, order a special instead of something off the menu. This low cost spending strategy can help you end up saving money you have never imagined.

4. Forget the cinema, stay at home
Watching the movies on a screen  20 times the size of the one in your living room is undoubtedly incredible, but you get the same experience at a cheaper cost. Spending more time entertaining yourself at home with friends not only keeps your social life active but you save a lot of money from the refreshments and ticket sales. You can have the same experience at a cheaper cost at home with rented DVD's and movies. Also instead of spending time at an expensive restaurant with friends, you can opt for an occasional barbecue or indoor outing, which can be much cheaper and more fun.

5. Do a priority list
Having a list with all the things you need for a 30 day or 6 month period and things you wish to attain in a 12 month period is helpful. It assists with making sure that you do not make impulse decisions and save well in advance for your next purchase. Such a list helps you identify needs and wants, which you can save a lot of money on. This goes for grocery lists, general shopping list, cosmetics for the ladies, holiday vacations and other activities.

6. Live within your means, stay true to your allowance
As students, we do face peer pressure and try to live up with certain trends, knowing very well that "keeping up with the College-dashians" does not complement the given allowance. Usually overspending on trends results in acquiring dept which takes a while to clear out. This dept can lead to depression and anxiety at a later stage when it builds up. Live within your means and set a budget for yourself. The savings rule is to: Spend what is left after saving and not Save what is left after spending.

7. Take the Gym home
Gym costs can be a bit expensive - depending on the option chosen - however instead of spending on the gym fees, cancel your monthly gym membership fee and workout at home. You can shed the same amount of weight at twice the amount of time and save thrice of money. Looking at exersize plans is also helpful, getting your trainers on and jogging in the morning and doing stretching exercises in the afternoon with a complementary low-cost diet. Buy cheap gym equipment too if you need to and fitness DVD's instead of paying for own personal trainer.

8. Recycle
Opt for recycling options and try to recycle reusable items when ever you can. Reuse aluminum foil, sandwich and freezer bags ect. To guard against germs and bacteria, sanitize and clean items thoroughly with water and soap before reusing. This also goes for being a "Do-it-Yourself" pro; If you need new jars to store your sugar, brown rice and flower, Why not use cleansed used glass jars instead? This will save on buying things that you don't need and utilizing alternative & substitute products to your benefit.

9. Invest in low-energy bulbs.
Students either live at residences on-campus or rented apartments off-campus. Therefore spend a lot on an electricity bill every month. To cut down on such costs, turn off  appliances and electronics when unused and Invest in low-energy and environmentally friendly light bulbs. In this technology and renewable energy regeneration era, one can use solar powered lighting sources as means to electricity. This can save a lot of money from your budget and get you used to low-cost, reliable and renewable energy life style.

10. Turn your passion into a money-making business
Besides all the saving, one does tend to want to MAKE money TO save. The best way to keep cash-flow injecting into your savings account whilst you study is to turn your hobby and interest into a money making business. Enjoy singing?  Render your services at a cost, Love to dance? Teach lessons and earn for the classes taught. In that way you have access cash flowing to invest in various saving options for the items on your priority list and the next financial years as a college student or post varsity.

10 things I aspire to live by in 2014

1. Everything is useful.

Making sure that I make the best out of all opportunities that I find Interesting. Be daring and do thing I enjoy doing to avoid having any regrets. 2 things on my agenda, which I have to do at some point, (non-business related) is: Bungee Jumping and Sky Diving, two activities i would make millions of excuses for - because - I'm terrified of heights!

I'm sure my experience there will come in handy and useful in the long run.
Besides that, the more experiences i encounter and challenges i over come; I will have had the ability to transform my way of thinking, doing and living after I decide to retire from University.

2. Creating a balance between passion and public value.

Looking forward to creating a stable balance between my personal passions which includes : interests, hobbies, activities and public value. Revaluation of how my work will positively contribute to the development of others and sustainable public growth.

Shying away from aspects that drain my energy and don't fully enjoy doing. "If you don't enjoy doing it - don't do it!" That's my motto.

3. Set Priorities and focus.

Focus is one of those things which i have always had. Ensuring that I am focused, and give every aspect of my personal and professional development and growth is met with the greater of all efforts. Paying much needed and deserved attention to priorities.

Listening skills have improved in the past 3 years. That is a milestone reached which has to continue being practiced till mastered.

4. Finding my niche.

This is all about finding my niche and different styles to fully major in. Minding what is already there and being innovative, unique and completely original.

5. Only way to make it is by working for it.

Either you will make a living by working for somebody else, or by starting something, and getting somebody to collectively assist you to make it work. I already ow what I enjoy doing and the future I want to have. However, it could all change, interests change and so do hobbies and passions. Which is why one has to have a vision and dream that is their main driver of working harder to accomplish futuristic goals. That's exactly what I'm going to do!

6. Mentorship.

Finding guidance and being mentored is one of the things that will strongly contribute to my development and growth both personally (mentally, physically and spiritually) and professionally. Asking for directions, suggestions and asking relevant questions to get over hurdles by getting assistance from people who have overcome them.

7. Do what you love doing.

Its as simple as that, if I enjoy it... I will do it. If not - I won't.

8. Encouraging others.

This year could be the year of sharing information, adding value to other peoples lives who need it most, inspiration, motivation and helping where I possibly can. Which I have been doing for the past 8 years, however willing to change my approach, focus and level of interest in engaging others

9. There is no 'rest of your life' -- only a best next step.

Hunter Styles would not have said it better. Best way to be on the top of your game is to know what game you're playing, how to play it and whether you playing for a win or just for fun. Feeling stuck? I'll have to get myself out of any challenge I foresee because indeed as @HunterSt7les mentioned: There is no 'rest of your life' --only a best next step.' If you can change it today, why not do it? Than live the rest of your life with regret!

10. Stay abreast of change!

Best thing anyone can ever do for themselves is to stay abreast of change by being informed of what is happening in other regions and around the world. I liaise to read ore newspapers, follow more updates , be informed and make progressing contributions to the development of what ever we are working on.

Article inspired by @HunterSt7les on his Article posted on Huffington Post College, titled: "28 year old's Ten Tips for Life after College"

My Twitter handle: @zanelemabaso23,
My Instagram       : zanelemabaso23

Washington DC: Young Women's International Leadership Summit

The I live to Lead International organisation  hosted the 8th Young Women's International Leadership Summit in Washington DC held at Georgetown University. Georgetown University is one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions, offering a unique educational experience that prepares the next generation of global citizens to lead and make a difference in the world. She talks about her experience and what she learnt.
 Through a vigorous selection process and thousands of applications, was selected as one of 26 young women from around the world to attend the Summit. Apart from receiving top leadership training from powerful women leaders in the United States,  which was focused on various aspects that pertain to the development and growth of our social or business  enterprises. She got the chance to engage in an interactive open discussion with a panel of business and media leaders such as the president and founder of Women Presidents Organisation Dr Marsha Firestone, Warren Thompson the president and chairman of Thompson Hospitality Cooperation, Anna Sarnoff of BBC Worldwide and Catherine Cook a 23 year old Graduate from Georgetown University to be listed under Forbes as one of the Most successful people under the age of 30.

"Towards the end of the first week I was amongst one of 5 women to represent young women from around the world in a round table discussion that was led by  Hilary Clinton's closest advisers, Ambassador Melanne Verveer, together with the women ambassadors to the United States and senior representatives of organizations involved in the development of young women at the  Senate of the United States of America.

Followed by a Reception honoring women leaders held at the U.S Capitol Building. Where I then had the privilege of meeting with Mrs Lwazi Mbongo the 3rd Secretary of Socio Economic Development from the South African Embassy in Washington DC, Mpule Kwelagobe the CEO of Mpule Institute of Endogenous Development and Executive Producer and Managing Editor of Women in the World, Kyle Gibson, Teshea Brodgins from  the US Department of State to name a few."

"The experience from being exposed to such phenomenal women, resulted in a realization that regardless of the challenges  you might come across  along your towards the journey of achieving your goals, it is important to have a vision ad goals and never to part away from that vision, in other words, to eliminate fear and  never give up.  What I learnt from Mpule Kwelagobe that I want to share with al young peopl,e is that: "As a young person, you are capable of achieving what you set your self to do" she also advised:  You will have people that will be negative about you , however whatever the situation you find yourself, be empowered"

Also learnt that you can get support for very influential people for support if you need it, it all comes with the notion of being an effective leader and believing that you have more potential than you actually think and imagine. The most elevating session for me was the "Leaders Dream" session held at Georgetown University. Where we had to close our eyes and through a guided meditation like process on dreaming what your future looks like, took a few minutes to visualize our future, and dream without any boundaries and limits, then open our eyes and share our dreams. To realize that  dreaming is quite fascinating and as unbelievable as the results of dreams are...they are attainable. Which taught me the power of dreaming without limits and though we dream big, have to act small to create impact and expand from that. My dream consisted of me being in the company of Oprah Winfrey and being asked to share my journey to success, not to mention the trip to the moon in a yellow space craft amongst  any a things, of which I depicted meant "there is a whole universe and undiscovered life out in this world, why stick to the saying The sky is the limit", when really, "The sky is NOT the limit" which are now words I use to motivate myself and others.

Having experienced a great lot from the young women delegates who attended the summit and women leaders who flew from around the USA to meet and share knowledge with us and we build our social or business enterprise was a major success, the last day was the Graduation with certification of recognition from ILivetoLead International and the Georgetown University McDough Business School  

Back in South Africa after representing young women from my country and voicing the challenges we face and concerns that need to be addressed as well as listing possible ways to empower our generation of woman leaders in developing and developed countries. Looking forward to the official launch of The Young Social Entrepreneurs Academy with collaboration with Young Women Social Entrepreneurs, an International organisation based in Washington DC with chapters around the world of which I am the Board chairperson for the South African Branch that aims to empower young women through leadership seminars, conferences and talks ensuring that they are motivated and inspired to lead their social enterprises to the next level in November 2013.  

The summit has opened new doors of opportunities for me and has exposed me to a number of business leaders and representatives of multi-national companies of which I foresee collaboration with in the future and knowing that they are there to support the uprising of young women in business and social development with their projects in their respective countries, has made me feel more empowered to be a catalyst for change and motivate  more young people to fully engage in leadership development initiatives, workshops, conferences and summits aimed at personal and professional development.

To follow on The Young Social Entrepreneurs Academies proceedings: 
LIKE Facebook page
Twitter : @YSEAcademy
Email   : info (at) 

 Read about the Summit articles on : 
1. Daily diary on the Summit
2. Young Social Entrepreneurs Academy  featured by I Live 2 Lead International    
3. Ilive2Lead on Georgetown University 

To watch a series of videos i have been featured on during the I live to Lead international Young Womens Leadership Summit :
1. Day 1
2. Day 2
3. Day 3
4. Day 4

23 things to BE DONE instead of getting engaged before you’re 23

Below is a list of 23 things that was drawn up by a professional wanderer, Venessa, and i thought I'd do the ticking off and see what I still need to do. It's an exciting small challenge to begin the year with. As for the "Dating side of things" I'll have to skip.. "Sorry I'm not sorry" - ain't nobody got time for that!

Please enjoy these "23 things to do instead of getting engaged before you’re 23." list drawn up by Venessa, Checked on-out by myself.

1. Get a passport.

2. Find your “thing.” 

3. Make out with a stranger.

4. Adopt a pet.

5. Start a band.

6. Make a cake. Make a second cake. Have your cake and eat it too.

7. Get a tattoo. It’s more permanent than a marriage.

8. Explore a new religion.

9. Start a small business.

10.Cut your hair.

11. Date two people at once and see how long it takes to blow up in your face.

12. Build something with your hands.

13. Accomplish a Pinterest project.

14. Join the Peace Corps.

15. Disappoint your parents.

16. Watch GIRLS, over and over again.

17. Eat a jar of Nutella in one sitting.

18. Make strangers feel uncomfortable in public places.

19. Sign up for CrossFit.

20. Hangout naked in front of a window.

21. Write your feelings down in a blog.

22. Be selfish.

23. Come with me to the Philippines for Chinese New Year.

Credits to Venessa @wanderonwards for drawing up the list

Okay a few random things not ticked off, but - those i'll definitely pass . Good to know I've done 12/23 from somebody else's  to-do-list, not too shabby at all.

Will be sharing my ultimate bucket list for 2014 soon! @zanelemabaso23