College is all about freedom and with freedom comes responsibility. Once we go off to college, we are expected to do everything on our own including taking care of money issues. Usually, when we enter in college, we get so distracted by everything that goes on around us that we lose track of our expenses. With so many new things to see and be a part of, before you know it, your monthly allowance is over. This is where the responsibility that follows freedom comes into play. How you spend your money will ultimately affect you so it’s important to spend money wisely and if possible, to save some money every month. Here are a couple of tips that can help you to spend your money more wisely:
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1. Make a budget and stick to it
Planning in advance is the key to success. If you make a list of your expenses at the beginning of the month, you will know exactly where you stand financially. This estimation can be very helpful when it comes to spending on entertainment because you will know your limit. Following a plan will also ensure that you do not have to compromise on the essential things like books and stationary because of overspending.
Prioritizing is very important when it comes to spending money wisely. Priorities are always on the basis of ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ so the first step is to be able to distinguish clearly between the two. Any expense related to your course is a necessity, a ‘need’ and should not be avoided or delayed.
3. Look for theatres that give a student discount
Being a student and using money wisely is not synonymous with a boring life. It just means that you should consider the alternatives before you spend on something. A lot of theatres in and around the campus give student discounts. In fact some of the theatres are really affordable and they cater especially to students. Look for such an option if you want to watch a movie in a theatre.
4. Look around the campus to find affordable entertainment options
If movies don’t interest you that much, every campus offers other entertainment options like concerts and festival which are very affordable. In fact, some of them don’t even charge any entry fee so be on the lookout for something like that.
5. Look for clearance sales/student discounts when you shop
An important part of being a college student is wearing the right clothes to portray the right image. When shopping for clothes in college, keep your eyes open for clearance sales. You can also ask around for a student discount because some shops in and around the campus provide that option as well.
6. Choose your cell phone rental wisely
Cellphones are a massive expense in college. A lot of college students choose rental plans that don’t work with their usage and they end up paying extra unnecessarily. So, when you choose your rental plan, don’t jump for the first plan you get. Look through all the options to find something that agrees with your usage. A pay per minute plan usually works the best.
7. Plan before you enter the grocery store
Trips to the grocery store can become very expensive if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for. Make a list of all the groceries you will need before you go to a store and avoid spending on things you won’t need.
8. Cook in your room
Food accounts for a huge part in an average college student’s life. Therefore, spending wisely on food can really help you to save. Cooking on your own or with your flatmates is always money well spent and it costs lesser than getting a home delivery everyday or going to a restaurant.
9. Get a flatmate/roommate
Lodging is another aspect of college life where you can save some money. Instead of staying alone and paying the entire rent, getting a roommate or some flatmates can cut your share of the rent in half or lesser so you will have more money to cover other expenses.
10. Use cash instead of card
Credit cards are very important for building a strong credit history so try to pay off your balance before the due date every month so as to avoid paying the interest. However, credit cards can also become a huge debt for college students so whenever possible, use cash instead of card. In fact, when you spend physical money for purchases, you automatically become careful of where you spend it.
11. Don’t invest in a brand new car
Opt for a second hand car when you are in college. Better yet, try to walk the distance when you are inside the campus to save some money on gas and if you are planning to go outside the campus, check out your options for arranging a carpool.
12. Use second hand textbooks and furniture
Second hand goods can be just as good as the new ones if chosen wisely. Things like books and furniture can be a big expense during college so if you get good quality second hand products at a discount, buy them instead of spending more for meeting the same purpose.
13. Instead of buying DVDs and additional books, borrow them from the library
Your library is an untapped resource of knowledge and entertainment. The next time you want some extra reading material or if you want to watch a movie, go to your library and borrow books/DVDs from there without having to pay a single penny.
14. Open a student checking account/student savings account
It will give you a place to store all your savings (if any) so that you don’t end up spending everything. This is not an expense or a saving but it will help you to better understand where you stand financially so that you can make wise decisions.
15. Be around people who spend wisely
The kind of people you spend your time with really makes a difference when it comes to spending money. Students who have a lot of money will not care about where they spend it and having them as friends will pressurize you to spend money beyond your comfort zone at some point. Associate with those who understand the value of money and spend it with care.