Have you ever turned down plans with your friends because you wanted to save money? It’s never a good feeling to miss out on activities because of your financial situation. It’s no secret that most college students struggle with money. College is this weird time between childhood and adulthood. You have things to pay for, but no full-time job. Here are some easy tips you can start implementing into your life today that will help you save money and say yes when your friends want to make plans.
- Track Your Spending. The first step in managing your money is to track your spending. If you have no idea how much money you are spending each day, week, or month, money can get away from you quickly. Start keeping track of the money you spend, and your bank account will thank you.
- Budget Everything. After you begin to track what money you are spending, start to budget. Plan for school supplies, car or phone payment, rent, or any other bills you have. Then, decide an appropriate amount to set aside for fun spending. This could include dinner with friends or your coffee runs. Whatever it is, include the amount in your budget. The most crucial part of budgeting is sticking to it. Create a plan and follow through.
- Do Free Things. Get creative with your friends and make plans to do free activities. Go for a walk, play a sport, go stargazing, etc. You just might surprise yourself with the ideas you come up with.
- Use College Discounts. Most restaurants in your college town have a college discount, they just are not going to advertise it. When you go to places, ask if they have a student discount. It’s as simple as showing them your student ID and earning 10%, 15%, or sometimes even 20% off your purchase. There are also websites like this one that offers promo codes to various stores.
- Choose the Right Meal Plan and Use It. Not taking advantage of your meal plan can really hurt you. The thing about meal plans is that you pay for them in advance. Do your research, find the meal plan that best fits your budget and schedule, and then use it. It takes discipline to follow through on this one, but if you do, you’ll thank yourself later for not spending unnecessarily on food.
- Necessary vs. Unnecessary Purchases. It takes some practice to learn how to differentiate between necessities and wants. Of course, it is totally acceptable to buy something you want but don’t need every once in a while, but making a habit of buying things you don’t need could end poorly for you. Also, search for ways that you can get the same outcome for cheaper. For example, if you want an iced coffee every day, buy these coffee pitcher packs and make it yourself instead of going to Starbucks every day. Get in the habit of nixing unnecessary spending, and you will be set for success.
- Student or Odd Jobs. The most obvious tip is to get a job. Seek out on-campus opportunities or off-campus jobs. You can also find odd jobs like babysitting, dog walking, or lawn mowing for extra cash.
For more tips on managing money, check out this blog, highlighting ways to make college more affordable. Also, visit Greenville University’s website for information on financial aid. We want to make college possible.