Simple ways to not break the bank
By Maddie Smith
College expenses add up quickly—from tuition to housing to entertainment and everything in between. It can be tough to manage your money, especially when you’re at a time in your life when it’s socially acceptable to order pizza multiple nights a week. While you should definitely live out your college experience and treat yourself every now and then, you should also start developing smart money habits that will ultimately prepare you for life after Loras. You’ll thank yourself later. Here are just a handful of simple ways you can responsibly manage your funds…because it just makes cents!
- Create a budget
Creating and sticking to your budget holds you accountable for your spending habits. Start by determining your fixed expenses, like tuition and rent. Then figure out an estimation of what you want to spend on groceries and other necessary items. Whatever is left can go towards entertainment, eating out, etc. It is essential to keep track of all your expenses, no matter how small, in order to avoid overspending. To help stay within your budget, you can download apps such as Mint or BudgetBoss.
- Open a free checking and savings account
If you don’t already have one, Caprino with Forbes suggests opening a checking account because “using a debit card allows you to only spend what you have.” Unlike with a credit card, debit cards make it easier to stay within your budget as they won’t allow you to go deep in debt. It also helps keep you on track because the bank will likely apply an overdraft fee, among other charges.
- Check out student discounts
Many shops and companies provide student discounts…take advantage of them! They may not seem like a lot, but saving is saving, especially if you’re already going to purchase something. This goes for any and all coupons, too. Before you’re about to buy anything, check online to see if that store offers a discount because as college students, every little bit helps! Go to www.myunidays.com to check out student discounts for popular brands and download Honey on your laptop to automatically apply the best coupons for your online shopping needs!
- Save your spare change
After paying with cash, what do you do with the spare change? Most people think it’s a nuisance, so they’ll throw it to the bottom of their bag or somewhere in their car and forget about it. But hey, change is still money and it can add up quickly! If you come across change, pick it up and toss it into a big jar. When the jar is full, take it to the bank and you’ve got some money to spend (or save).
- Make your own coffee
For a lot of college students and adults, coffee is a must in the morning. Instead of paying up to $4 every day, simply make it yourself at home. In fact, CollegeScholarships.org calculated that “By the time you graduate from a four-year degree, you’ve saved over $2000 in coffee beverages,” as stated in “118 Ways to Save Money in College.” Once you make this change, you’ll realize just how much money you’ve been unnecessarily spending. This will not only save you time and money, but it is also environmentally friendly!
- Don’t be afraid of hand-me-downs
If you’re in search of a particular item, think about whether or not it could be already used. If so, ask your family and friends if they’ve got any extra lying around. Otherwise, head out to Goodwill, Plato’s Closet, The Salvation Army, or similar stores to find what you need. These options are great for saving money because they’ll sell you what you need at a much cheaper price. If you do need something brand new, go back to #3.
118 Ways to Save Money in College. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2019, from http://www.collegescholarships.org/student-living/save-money.htm
Caprino, K. (n.d.). 7 Simple Steps College Students Should Take To Build Financial Literacy And Responsibility. Retrieved November 3, 2019, from Forbes website: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2014/08/21/7-simple-steps-college-students-should-take-to-build-financial-literacy-and-responsibility/