If you’re a student, it may seem that no matter how responsible you act, money disappears faster than ice cream during finals week. Weekly grocery shopping, morning coffee, drinks out with friends – they all contribute to evaporating your cash in seconds.
Everyone wants to spend their money wisely, but sometimes that doesn’t mean refraining from spending any money ever. So instead of turning down a night out with your friends, just follow these tips and tricks. You won’t let your empty wallet control you ever again.
ALWAYS SEEK DISCOUNTS
Don’t let your fears of talking to people prohibit you from pulling out your student ID. They’ve all been there. See if you can get a buck or two knocked off an entrance fee or an extra round of appetizers for the table. Also, try branching out. Grab the weird on-sale wheat bread the next time you grocery shop instead of your usual classic baguette. Why not? You might just find a new favorite!
BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR CREDIT CARD
Just because you got paid yesterday doesn’t mean you should go all out tonight and splurge. When you go out, bring cash. If you leave your credit card at home, you can’t overspend.
PLAN IT OUT
During the age of online banking and apps for literally everything, you don’t need to be an accountant to make yourself a budget. You can easily join programs to set aside money for different aspects of your life. Set goals for your month. If you’re not sure how to start budgeting and what numbers will work for you, take a look at what you currently spend (ie: groceries, fixed bills etc). What’s left over is either savings or money to spend on that night out with friends.
TRACK YOUR SPENDING
Although tedious, this will help you get a feel for where your money goes. When you see it all written out it’s much easier to tell how you’re doing.
ASK YOURSELF: WOULD I USE THIS?
Before you commit to a purchase, make sure you don’t just want or “need” it, but that you’ll use it. You might not need that new purse, but will you use it tomorrow? What about the day after? Next week? If you’ll use or wear the item equal to or more than every dollar you spent on it you’ll not only save money, but you’ll feel good about what you bought.
Once familiar with your budget, it’s easier to see where you spend the most money. Ask yourself, can you live without what you’re spending the most on? Instead of eating out or meeting friends out, invite them to your place for a cooking party. Even making your own drinks at home can save tons. While this may not be the option for you, renting a bike for a month or walking to class instead of driving can cut down on gas and monthly metro card costs.
HOLD ONTO YOUR COINS
Yes, that beautiful vase full of pennies is actually worth something. Even if at the end of all your collecting it’s only $5, that’s $5 you can guiltlessly spend on that amazing bakery you salivate past on your way home every day. Quarters seem like nothing, but they add up so fast. By using your change to leave yourself with dollars instead of random coins, you also feel richer.