If you were ever in need of financial advice but did not know where to get it from, this is your opportunity to grow. Being a college student is not only demanding but also exhausting from many perspectives; however, one of the toughest things to do is keep yourself financially secure while going to school. If you are not financially savvy when in college, you will have a hard time accommodating your needs and wants and balancing them out in the long term. Thus, you need a type of financial system that works for you as a student — because, as challenging as organizing your funds might get, it teaches you important life lessons. This is the moment when you have to learn and grow. If you don’t do it now, when will you?
To prepare you for the real world and help you expand your financial knowledge, we came up with a list of quick advice that you can use to save money. Check it out and let us know what you think!
Budget it out!
The first thing you might want to do as a student is budget. I know this sounds like challenging work, but I can promise you — budgeting is easier than ever! All you have to do is map out a plan and stick to it as well as you can. However, there are certain rules that might help you set it up.
- Establish the income that you have coming — how much and how often do you get paid?
- What are your outgoing expenses? What will you be spending money on? Write down everything that you think you might spend money on every week.
- After you come up with your total income and figure out your expenses, it’s time to see how much money extra you have left. Subtract the second from the first and check out the result. Then, divide that into savings and luxury costs (like going out for an expensive dinner or buying yourself your favorite pair of shoes).
Prep your meals, stop the cravings
Food is another important expense that might cause you some trouble — if you can’t afford to eat out, you must prep and cook your meals. To stop the big expenses, make sure you come up with your favorite meal list every day and set up your cooking plans for the week. If you are not sure what you want to eat, you can always check out various online recipes. Another tip is to prepare your meals on the weekend. Then, they’ll be in the fridge, ready for you to grab during your busy week. By preparing your own food, you won’t have to spend extra time or money on eating out.
Have fun but don’t overspend
Going out in college is normal, and you should definitely do it. If you don’t have fun now, when will you be able to make up for it? Probably never, since college is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any college student. Thus, make sure you make enough friends and have enough fun before it is over. Even if you are hanging out with your friends, there are ways in which you can spend less. You don’t have to have lunch at Chipotle every day — you can get creative with your activities and not overspend!
So, for instance — instead of going to Chipotle, you could pick up groceries and cook a nice dinner at home while watching Netflix (and chilling!). Instead of paying to see a movie at the theater, you and your roommates could chip in to buy a projector together; this way, you will always have movies in your house — all you’ll need is popcorn! Instead of walking through the mall, you could go hiking! There are so many cool inexpensive ways to have fun, aren’t there?
Consider all of your subscriptions
Sometimes we don’t realize how much we spend on subscriptions unless we take an objective view on it. Are you subscribed to Netflix, Showtime, and Hulu? If the answer is yes to all three of these, you should consider giving up on at least one of these channels. They all offer the same services, so you could save real money by cutting down your needs to using only one service (most people would choose Netflix!).
Then consider all of your music apps — Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Google Play, what else are you subscribed to? Make sure you figure it out as soon as possible and remain with minimalist options.
Sell unnecessary items
If you have items that you are no longer using, stop hanging on to them around for no reason! Either donate them or sell them. If you choose the latter, you will have a better chance of making some extra money on the side. You could post pictures of your items on your school’s business platform or on eBay. You could also sell some old books on Amazon. There are many people out there, so finding a buyer won’t be that hard as long as you put in the effort!
Setting goals is also important to do. If you can follow the self-imposed guidelines and stick to your plan, you will be able to save an impressive amount of money in a relatively short time. Thus, try to stick with the plan that you made to boost your savings record. Also, look for jobs that pay well and don’t settle for less if you know that you are valuable. Check out paid internships and make sure you stay updated on the latest job postings on campus — it would save you serious commuting time!
Keep track of your records
Last but not least, keep track of your expenses. If you are not entirely sure how to do that, here is a list of questions you might want to ask yourself:
- How dependent are you on your family now, after you have started budgeting? Did you make any progress?
- Are you keeping any journals or notes on your weekly spending?
- How much have you saved up until now, and can you save some more?
- Is your system working well for you or should you restructure it?
- Are your goals motivating you to save? If not, find your passions and save for those (e.g. traveling)!
Setting up a budget and sticking to your long-time goals will teach you how to be responsible. Make sure you practice this while you are in college and not later; this is the time for you to learn how to hold yourself accountable and give out the best results. So, maximize your potential while minimizing the costs! This is the secret.