Every student will understand the struggle that comes with money. That isn’t to say that all students are careless with money or don’t understand the value of money – the simple fact is that on such a restricted budget, it can be very hard to save money and pay their own way through college. Since the vast majority of a student’s time will be spent on studies (which isn’t a bad thing!) it does mean that the limited budget they have will often not get any greater over time – here are a few simple ways that students can save some cash.
1. Your Car Costs You a Fortune
Quite simply having a car is a luxury at college, and a luxury that you should look at restricting. The more you think about it, the more apparent it will become that you don’t necessarily need a car, but simply want one for the sake of convenience. In a lot of cases you can take the bus to the mall or walk to school instead of driving. The cost of keeping a car while in college is enormous, and so if you are struggling with your finances it might be a nice way to cut back on some unnecessary expenditure. It won’t be easy, but it’s definitely worthwhile in the long-run.
2. Frequently Buying Perishable Foods
The reasons for not wanting to buy foods that will easily go out of date are two-fold. The first reason is simply that you are much more likely to waste food that you haven’t gotten around to eating before it’s gone bad and no longer safe to eat. This is especially true of meats and dairy products, which don’t have a very long shelf life. However the other reason is that frequently going to the grocery store is going to cost you much more money in transport costs, so that you are spending more to eat less food. Canned foods are not always as appealing as their fresh alternatives, but it is an easy way for students to save some money.
3. Purchasing Things Spontaneously
Let it not be said that spontaneity is fundamentally a bad thing. However when it comes to spending money, it certainly can be a bad thing. A good rule of thumb is to wait three whole days before you make a purchase after seeing an item. This is especially true when making online purchases, as studies have shown that people are unlikely to associate spending “virtual cash” (i.e. digits in a bank account) with “real cash” (dollar notes). By waiting a whole three days, you may forget about the item that you wanted, or find a cheaper alternative in the time being.
4. Being Drunk with a Credit Card
Possibly the worst way that students, especially male students frequenting strip clubs, will annihilate their budget in a matter of hours. Clubs and bars rely on you to use your credit card to make purchases, and you will have disengaged yourself with the principle of spending only what you can afford to. Being drunk and having a card is even worse than being sober and having one (although even sobriety does not stop excessive expenditure) because you are more likely to spend more on things that you do not need, such as a few extra beers at the club. If you have a credit card, make sure to take it out of your wallet before a night out; take only the cash you can afford to spend.
5. Not Willing to Limit Your Expenditure
One of the things that adults have to learn very quickly in the real world is that if they want to save, they have to reduce the amount they are spending on unnecessary items. Budget your income and limit your outgoings: if you want to save money, think about setting up a direct plan to split your paycheck into two bank accounts: one for everyday expenses and the other for a savings fund.
6. Treating Your Friends
Everyone at college is in the same boat, with limited funds while wanting to have a great time. However it is all too easy to become the go-to guy for extra cash for a night out. It’s great to keep your friends close and to occasionally treat them, but make sure that they reciprocate the favor instead of taking you for granted. If you want to save your money, you need to stop splashing out on your friends. Friends should not expect you to spend money on them; if they do, talk to them about your need to save money.
7. Lack of Real Priorities
Being able to set some priorities for your expenditure is one of the most mature things a college student can do. It’s not easy, and you will always want to be able to spend what you want, when you want to. However in college, on such a limited budget, it just isn’t an option that you can have: make sure that you prioritize paying rent and for car insurance (if you still need a car!) over partying and alcohol expenses. Once again it won’t be easy to do, and you might hate the feeling of having to limit the number of times a month you go out and party, but it will be worth it financially.