You’ll be surprised at how much you can save!
Your student years are an exciting time of life because you are learning new things, meeting new people, and expanding your horizons. The one down-side is that most students need to live on a tight budget, and it can be hard to make ends meet. If you are a student who is looking for ways to save a few pennies, try these tips.
Keep a log of your expenses for one month
If you keep a running tally of what you’ve spent for one month, you will see where your money is going. This helps you to decide if you are making good decisions with your money or not. If you find you’re spending $5 at the Dunkin’ every morning, maybe you can cut back on that by bringing your own coffee to work or school.
Separate your wants from your needs
As a student, you are on a limited budget, and some of your “wants” are simply going to have to wait until you are earning an income. And who knows, by the time you get there, you may find that you didn’t really want it that badly after all.
Beware of credit cards
Credit cards have their pluses and minuses. Credit cards can help you build your credit rating, but if you are someone who can’t control your spending, you may spend yourself into credit card debt that takes years to escape. If you can’t trust yourself, consider a debit card instead, or better yet, use only cash to make purchases.
The 24-hour rule
When you are about to make a purchase, use the 24-hour rule. This means that you don’t buy it today. You wait 24 hours, and see if you still think it’s a good idea to purchase it. This helps you avoid impulse purchases.
Pay bills on time
Getting behind on your bills is a slippery slope. Not only do the unpaid bills pile up, but you are also charged interest, which you wouldn’t have owed if you had paid on time.
Choose free activities whenever possible
Your school may have student activities that are free or low-cost. Choose these activities over higher-priced activities, and you will save money. If you do other activities outside of the school, see if there’s a student discount.
Find small ways to earn money
Depending on your school schedule and how well you are able to manage your workload, you may want to find a way to earn a little money on the side. This could be a part-time job, or possibly an internet-based job. Or maybe you can sell a few things on E-bay or Craigslist. Maybe you know a family who needs a babysitter now and then. All of these small payments can add up and help ease your financial situation.
Buy used items
Buying second-hand items is almost always less expensive than buying new items. Shop at thrift stores for your clothes and household goods. See if you can find used books at your school or online. Shop for your food at discount stores and use coupons if you can.
Save your change
What do you do with your nickels, dimes, and quarters? Try keeping them in a large jar, and not spending the money until the jar is full. You’ll be surprised how much money accumulates. It will feel like a gift once you cash it all in. (Or better yet, tally it up and put it in a savings account!)
By following these tips, you should end up with a little extra money in your pocket each month. When you’re a student, every little bit helps! Best of luck!
This article is courtesy of the Harris School of Business. We offer career-focused training for medical assisting, massage therapy, dental assisting, and health claims specialist (medical billing and coding). Find out more about becoming a student at the Harris School!