I don’t know about you, but I’m almost 22 and I’m slowly learning that the key to being a college student is that you need to spend your money wisely. This is a lesson that I have to keep teaching myself until I get it right (thankfully, I have awesome parents who help me along the way!). But if you’re not as lucky or your parents are giving you that final ultimatum to get your ish together, you can follow these tips to staying on a budget and hopefully you can save some money in the process!
1. Thrifting: If you want to pop some tags because you only have $20 in your pocket than like the title of the song you need to visit a thrift shop! There are plenty of thrift shops or the similar consignment shops where you can make someone else’s trash into your treasure. Be warned that thrifting does take time, obviously it’s not like a normal store where they have multiples of each item so you just have to keep in mind that if you have some patience you can find something great. Also with the new trend of up-cycling you can take something drab and turn it into something fabulous. We can all thank the likes of Pinterest for that. With so much to offer why wouldn’t you want to visit a thrift shop to add new pieces to your wardrobe? Give it the good old college try, I promise you won’t be sorry!
2. Couponing: Thanks to the likes of shows like Extreme Couponing we now know that it is possible to buy groceries for less than $20 (sometimes they even get down to less than $10, it’s crazy!). Couponing is something you have to be committed to, if you’ve ever watched an episode of the show you know that some couponers spend literally HOURS clipping coupons. But since most of us don’t have that much time to dedicate to couponing here is my advice, if you know you’re going to go buy your groceries do a little research before hand. This could include just buying a Sunday paper and looking through all the weekly ads for the best deals. Some places have awesome buy one get one free deals so always keep an eye out for those because that’s where you get most bang for your buck. But if you don’t feel like buying a paper you can always look on your favorite stores website to see what deals they have for the week. Maybe you won’t be on the extreme level of couponing but at least you can save a little money in the process.
3. Dine-in: One of the biggest ways you can over spend money is by going out to eat a lot. As a college student I know it’s so much more appealing to go out to eat sometimes than to stay in but if you can stay in to eat do it. Plus you spend money on buying food to keep at home so why would you want to waste it? If you just want the company of going to hang out with friends than you could eat dinner before hand and just order desert. Or if they’re running a special where you can share with a friend do it! (sharing is caring right?) You all can save money that way. If going out to eat is something you don’t want to give up completely, try and have a designated night where you and your friends go out to a restaurant. Or if you’re a little more on the broke side you can even plan nights where all of your friends stay in and make a potluck style dinner. No matter what you decide cutting back on going out to eat will help you save more money than you realize, and on top of that it’s healthier as well.
4. Actually plan a budget!: Okay. This is the rule I tend not to follow and what gets me in trouble the most (sorry mom!). If you can find a way to look at your spending history or figure out how much you’re spending on certain things you’ll probably be better off. Once you get paid or you have more money you can figure out how much money you can spend on what, this is where you’ll figure out how much you need to cut out things like going out to eat or frivolous spending. You don’t have to have a set budget, just keep in mind how much you can spend when you’re out and about. Also you should always try and put a little of what you earn into savings, it’s up to you to decide how much of each paycheck will contribute to that but from what I’ve heard it can be helpful in the long run. Especially if you have some form of an emergency where you need extra cash that savings money will be what can save you from going into mini-debt.
Now that you have some tips on how to live on a budget hopefully you can feel more comfortable saving some money. Tell us what some of your tips are for living on a budget if we didn’t mention them above! Happy saving!
Ariel Schiller/ CW44 Tampa Bay