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.
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.