For the average college student getting out on their own for the first time, budgeting is kind of hard to understand at first. So, if you’re still learning about how to manage your finances, Here are some great Budgeting and Money Saving Tips that might help!
Make A Weekly Budget
Worried that you might be spending too much? Set a weekly budget for yourself! Budget for what you need (groceries, gas, rent, utilities, etc) and set aside a small allowance (takeout, the movies, etc) for the little things. Try to spend only what you set out for yourself and try not to go over.
Use Cash, Not Card
If you can help it, use cash. Having physical money on hand helps to remind you that you have limited funds and prevents you from overspending (when you don’t have the money to). Treat Debit/Credit cards as a reserve and try to use cash to pay for your purchases when you can, when using a debit card keep an eye on your bank account, keep track of your purchases and ask your bank if they have a program available that declines your card if you do not have the funds to cover your purchase to avoid overdraft fees.
Cheap or Free Entertainment
Looking for something fun to do without spending a ton? Look for fun alternatives that won’t be as costly. Look at local event calendars, there’s usually some cool events hosted by the city that you and your friend can check out for free (or for a small admission fee), especially if you live close. And if there’s a beach or a park near where you live, even better. It’s possible to have a good time without emptying your wallet, you just need to get creative!
Eating out is great, when occasionally treating yourself, but eating out can become draining on your wallet very fast if frequented too much. Eating more at home can reduce the amount of what you would be spending on a meal at a restaurant. Try it, add up what you are spending per meal/per week at a restaurant or for fast food, not including having a grocery bill to have food at your apartment/house as well. Don’t be intimidated to look at sale ads, use discount cards, coupons, or coupon apps to get the most out of your money for grocery shopping to stock up your refrigerator and cabinets. And try to remember not to buy more produce than you can eat in a short amount of time, produce tends to go bad quickly. Buy a bunch of bananas and can’t eat them all? Peel half of them, put them in a freezer bag and freeze them for later to make delicious banana smoothies!
It might be tempting to buy that expensive new item, or something you saw that you find yourself really wanting, but chances are that if you do, you might be draining your wallet. Instead, hold off on buying it until there’s a discount or sale if it’s not really a necessary purchase, or think about the purchase a little more, weighing whether you actually need it or not. And if you shop with promo codes, coupons, and student discounts, you’ll save even more!
Spending $200-$300 for a textbook? No thank you! Many students already know that shopping for a brand-new textbook is expensive, even used textbooks. Shop around to see where you can get the best deal, check textbooks prices from online retailers like Amazon or Chegg.
If you and a friend are heading to the same destination, why take two cars when you can just take one? Enjoy the company and save some gas along the way. However, be courteous and don’t make your friend pay all the gas expenses if carpooling with them is a daily thing. If you carpool regularly to school or work with your friend and you split the cost, you both will be saving money on gas. If you live near campus and it’s a nice day, ride a bike, skateboard, or grab a friend and take a walk to class.
Keeping track of how you spend your money can be difficult (especially when you want to have a life but also pay your bills), but it is important if you’re planning to save up money, build credit, or wanting to keep a backup savings for emergencies. And don’t worry if you find it hard to adjust at first. Keep at it and you’ll find that managing your money will get easier.