Saving money as a student can be hard. Here are six ultimate saving tips that will help you in saving money while studying - and during other college activities.
Saving money as a student can be hard. Life in a university can be expensive, and as a student, your budget is limited. You have certain liabilities that need to be paid off every month: rent, electricity, and internet, books, travel, food, and fun. Unless you work part-time for 20 hours a week, you need effective money management to keep your finances under control. Taking advantage of your student status and using the right money-saving plan, you can successfully trim expenses.
“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship” — Benjamin Franklin
Saving money while in college is a habit that as a student you should practice, even if you are working with a limited budget. This may require you to enforce certain rules for yourself and keep your expenditure in control.
To help you look for cost-saving options, here are 6 ultimate saving tips that will help you in saving money while studying.
1. Start by making a monthly budget
Use a simple spreadsheet to record how much money (on average) you have available every month. Write down your fixed expenses such as your monthly apartment rent, daily travel expenses, and phone and internet costs. Food expenses can vary but estimate your average daily expense — maybe even round up a little. Once you have noted all your basic expenses, see if there is any money left for saving.
You can also download budgeting apps to keep tabs on your money easily. Some digital wallets may also allow you to track your spending.
Although it may look like this monthly budget is not earning you any savings, it is helping you in capturing an overview of your financial plan. Look for places where you might be able to trim your spending, such as looking at a different cell phone plan. (Is this your first budget? Check out these common budgeting mistakes.)
2. Record and track your spending
Once you are through making your monthly budget, use your budget sheet (or your app) to record your reoccurring expenses. You will be able to track your expenses and income, and also able to estimate how much cash you are left with for shopping and other leisure activities. Using these records, you can figure out where to save money. Cut your spending on categories that aren't important to you or where you know you can spend less.
Tip: A student needs to stay away from credit cards. The idea of spending now and paying later may seem great. However, it can be difficult to deal with accumulated expenses, especially at a time when your budget has taken a hit. Keep this in mind when making BNPL purchasing decisions.
3. Utilize the power of money-saving incentives
Always look for a student discount when spending money on your daily needs. Many banks provide the option of money-saving accounts for students. Use student discounts around your school or online to your advantage. They are available at cinemas, theme parks, food courts, gyms, and public transportation. In fact, many companies want to provide student discounts because they can target a particular age group for their products.
4. Value buying is a golden habit
Cheap food items are not bad if they can be bought without compromising on quality. Value buying is a financial concept that refers to only buying your favorite goods or services only when they are available at a discount.
For example, buying a gadget after a month of its release or your favorite brand of coffee when it's BOGO. You can try a generic shampoo that offers similar quality but is available cheaper than its named brand. Value buying is a wealth-building factor for many rich investors in the financial sector. In a more simple form, it can also help you in saving a lot of money during college.
5. Cook meals at home
Cooking your own meals is definitely cheaper than eating out or buying food. Not only does it helps you in saving money, but it also allows you to spend quality time with your friends or roommates. The average cost of devouring a classic chicken meal in a restaurant can cost far more, especially once you add on drinks and maybe that decadent chocolate-chocolate-chocolate dessert. This excludes gas and other expenses you spend after the meal, before reaching home.
Meanwhile, the cost of cooking the same meal at your home can come down to a third as much. You can also pack a lunch or snacks to have on hand during the day if you cook enough for several meals. Plus, the cost of the meal can be shared with your friends.
6. Look for previously-owned options
It's tempting to jump and buy the newest edition of your favorite gadget, only to realize, that you could wait six months and get a remanufactured alternative. Also, look for copies of books in the library before buying any new ones. (There are a number of websites that offer great prices on used college books, too.)
This idea of finding the best prices by shopping for used products doesn't apply only to books. You can save big by searching for used clothing, furniture, and electronics. Find niche second-hand stores and share your finds with your friends. Everyone can stand to save a little during college.
Joshua Robinson is an author and a self-employed coach. For over five years, he has been dedicating his time to advising students and helping them in their studies and career. He writes about how students can manage their finances during their study abroad. Joshua is a voracious reader. He works with both state and national level institutes to encourage students in achieving their goals. When he is not helping students, you can find him either traveling or fishing in his hometown in Florida. Joshua strongly believes in teaching through online social media and blogs, which can help in reaching a vast audience