Financial constraints are inherent in the life of a student. Even when you are combining your studies with a part-time job, making ends meet might not necessarily be straightforward. This becomes even more challenging if your institution lies within an urban setting.
The most practical approach to financial predicaments is having a budget to check and curtail your spending. Living on a budget can also be a challenge in itself, especially if you are studying abroad. Nevertheless, it forces you to be smart and creative with where your money comes from and where it goes. It is about time you started to brew your own coffee.
This article seeks to highlight a few practical budgeting tips to help you live within your means while in school.
Make a Budget
This is one of the simplest ways to track how you are spending your money, weekly, or monthly. On one side, you have your income and your savings. On the other hand, you have your expenditure, which includes rent, groceries, and utilities. You can then distribute some of the money remaining to spend on different aspects of your life, such as traveling, outings, or entertainment.
Some of the budgeting apps that can come in handy include, but not limited to:
- Clarity Money – for comprehensive budgeting;
- Personal Capital – to track your income and spending;
- PocketGuard – for simple and straightforward budgeting;
- Mint – to reduce your spending and increase savings.
Streamline Your Spending on Food
If you are really looking to save up money, you will have to cook in for yourself. This includes resisting the urge to order that quick-fix meal. The objective is to save up a lot of money in the long-term. You, therefore, will look out for specials and offers from your local supermarket.
When your grocery plans align with the store sales, the aim is to stock up on house supplies and non-perishable foods. From there, you can easily integrate these specials into your weekly meals. However, it would be best if you also refrained from buying items that you might not need.
Vis-à-vis saving money on your meals, you should also consider bringing your own lunch to school. This might be dinner leftovers from the previous night or perhaps a sandwich. You can also incorporate meal planning into your schedule. You will, then, prepare meals in advance for days that school might be overwhelming.
Take Full Advantage of Your Student Card
Whenever the chance arises, you should take maximum advantage of student discounts wherever possible. It might be on public transport, events, restaurants, stores, movies, etcetera. If you are reaching out to a custom essays service and the option to get a discount on your student card presents itself, grab it.
The margins might be a few dollars on each occasion. Ultimately, nonetheless, it will all add up!
Second Hand Options Might Be as Good as New
If you are open to buying some items from the second-hand stores, you might end saving lots of money. Second-hand options will offer just as wide a range of items – from clothes, textbooks, and furniture, to electronics and appliances.
You, then, will take full advantage of second-hand stores, garage sales, and flea markets. You can also buy these items from online stores, such as eBay. Where you might be eligible for some students’ discounts.
Get Different Streams of Income
As a student, just one part-time job might not be enough to cover all your needs. However, there are always plenty of small things that you can do to earn a little bit more money. It all depends on your willingness to seize opportunities when they come your way.
For instance, on your less hectic evenings, you might consider babysitting for a few hours. You can also tutor other students at a small fee. Such opportunities will always be available. The onus is on you to fish and find them.
This requires to assess where most of your money is spent. If you spend a lot of mobility, then it might be time to either take up walking or ride a bike over short commutes. In this particular case, you not only save some money but also get to exercise regularly. Having to leave early then becomes less of an inconvenience.
It also extends to your university social life. If you are always going out throughout the week, this is likely to end up being too expensive. You do not need to watch every movie at the cinema. A movie night in your room might suffice just as well.
Financial constraints do not have to hamper your way for a full college experience. The money will typically be limited at this phase of your life. However, if you remain realistic and are willing to make sacrifices, you stand to save money and still enjoy your uni life fully.