Being a student is financially exciting and frustrating. You get a first taste of how to manage money as you try to balance wants and needs on a small budget – you may make mistakes along the way. Buying everything you want can quickly empty your wallet, leaving you broke until your next paycheck or loan disbursement. If you don’t learn, it can turn into a cycle of spending excessively then worrying because you no longer have money left.
Budgeting, however, is not an impossible task, even if you are a student without a stable income. Apply these tips to your daily routine to make you more conscious of your spending habits:
- Opt for budget meals – You have to budget if you want to eat out and save money.
- Don’t shop for groceries when you’re hungry – Chances are you will be spending more than what was initially planned if you’re food shopping while your stomach is growling. There are numerous coupons for food and groceries. Take advantage of these coupons and save even more when you buy.
- Organize the way you allocate your money – Try the 50/30/20 rule if you have no idea how to start. Using this budget, 50 percent of your money should go to the essentials like food, rent, and daily expenses. 30 percent goes to your savings or emergency fund, and you can do whatever you want with the remaining 20 percent.
- Seal your piggy bank – If you still use one, cover them with tape until you can’t open the cap easily. An even better the idea is to use a pretty glass bottle and glue the cap on, only leaving a slit to put in the money. This way, whenever you have the urge to get the money, you’ll have to think about the decision since you’ll need to break the bottle.
- Coupons are your best friend – Those coupons at the back of that planner you got from a coffee shop are not just there to be on display. Use them.
- Deals are your best friends too – While those buy-one-get-one offers can drain your wallet, finding deals is your best bet if you can’t restrain yourself or if you really need to buy something.
- Shop online – There are times when the items online are cheaper than the ones in stores. Sometimes, online shops even offer deals that are not available in stores.
- Unless you get free bus access, if you can walk to your school, do it.
- Borrow textbooks, or use the reserve copies at your school’s library. If you need your own copy, ask students in higher levels if you can buy their used books. Some bookstores have deals available for students and some websites let you rent textbooks for a school term.
- Take advantage of student discounts – Take the time to try and find coupons and deals.
- Invest your money – You can expect your money to grow more if you invest it. The earlier you start the more time compound interest has to work its magic.
In the end, it’s better to have a goal in mind. Why are you saving? Is it because you need to buy something, build an emergency fund, or have to afford day-to-day expenses? Keep this in mind the next time you have the urge to buy something that you want, but don’t need.