It's never too late to adjust your spending to save money
If you are a student, chances are you are focusing on your studies and most likely aren't working a full-time job. You have life expenses and those associated with school, such as books, materials, and lab fees. How can you make the money you have stretch to cover your monthly expenses?
At Salter College, we understand that money can be tight for students. We've done some research and compiled these tips that might help get you moving down a path of saving money. They might also make you think of additional ways as well!
Create a budget
If the idea of a budget causes you to break out in hives more than an upcoming final exam, you aren't alone. But, it doesn't have to be hard. Some quick online research will lead you to articles on how to create a budget. While we don't endorse one particular method or web site, a good place to begin might be this article on nerdwallet that includes links to helpful tools to guide your budget-building.
Once you look at your monthly income and expenses and get into the habit of tracking them, stick to a budget that will keep you living within your means (a.k.a. - not spending more in a month than you bring in). Living this way can definitely reduce daily stress!
Cook at home
Cooking your meals at home rather than eating out can add up to huge savings over the course of time. It can also help you control what you are eating more easily and lead to healthier food choices.
Make a meal plan for the week, and then create your grocery shopping list according to the ingredients you'll need. Stick to it when you are walking the aisles of the store. And remember to avoid shopping when you're hungry. It usually leads to grabbing things off the shelves you really don't need. Trust us, we've learned from experience!
Pack snacks and beverages
If you are heading out for a busy day of classes, pack your lunch and/or snacks in a cooler bag to take with you. It will help you to avoid eating out too much, which is more expensive. The same goes for your coffee or tea. Invest in a good travel mug that keeps items cold or hot for hours. It's easier on the wallet than stopping at a cafe every morning for your daily dose of caffeine.
If you plan ahead, you can potentially save a good amount of money (and time!) when you do head out to the store. Here are some suggestion for cost cutting and painless shopping trips:
- Shop in bulk
- Shop for supplies such as pens, notebooks, paper products, and household cleaning items, etc. at discount or dollar stores.
- Cut coupons for items you frequently buy
- Always keep an eye out for sales
- Consider buying generic over name brand. When you do that with several items, the savings really adds up.
Buy used, borrow, or rent
Textbooks can be expensive. If you can borrow from a friend who previously took the course, do that. Or, consider renting the book or buying it used rather than new.
Many places such as retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and museums offer discounts. It never hurts to ask, and always carry your student ID with you because you'll need it to prove your student status!
You study hard, so there are times you want to relax and do something fun. But everything has a ticket price, right? Not necessarily. Free shows, events, festivals, museums, and more can usually be found if you look. Check out the calendar of events in your local newspaper or the web site of your local visitor's bureau to see what free things might be happening near you.
Toss your change
At the end of each day, throw your loose change from your bag or pocket into a bowl or jar. You'll be surprised how quickly it fills up. You can then roll the change to take to the bank and exchange for cash (or deposit it in your savings account!).
With a little planning, you can save money while you are still in school. Practicing it now as a student can lead to it becoming a habit once you are in the work world, which can lead to you making smart money decisions that will enable you to save for retirement, buying a house, a vacation or other major expense.
We know that being a student can be stressful enough without adding money worries to it. We hope these tips have been helpful and that you can start putting some of them to use immediately!
This post is part of the Salter College weekly blog. Contact us today to learn more about applying to our various career training programs, or to request more information. We look forward to hearing from you.