Pinching pennies? Who isn’t? Welcome to college.
But just because extra cash isn’t pouring in doesn’t mean you absolutely have to dedicate yourself to a diet of only Ramen noodles.
Adjusting to a new budget can be difficult, but here’s a few steps to help make things a bit easier.
1. Set a budget
Know your monthly income and know how much money is needed to pay your bills. It’s a good thing to know how much each monthly bill is, and it doesn’t hurt to overestimate.
This may seem simple enough, but do you really know where your money is going at the end of the month? You may not count things like a few items off the dollar menu every now and then, but little expenses add up.
For example, if you’re only getting $3 of extra food from the dollar menu every week, that’s $12 a month and $144 a year. Instead, invest in some snacks from the supermarket and bring them around with you. Do the same for bottled water and sodas. If you’re getting something out of the vending machines everyday, one drink a day will add up to $30 a month. Buying in bulk can be much cheaper.
2. Have some will power
Shopping trips are fun, but so is bargain hunting. But even the cheapest shirts aren’t really a bargain if you don’t really like it to begin with and it sits in your closet unworn for the next year.
Shopping is actually an inexpensive fun activity that has no cover charge and can be cheap with some will power and good knowledge.
Always go for clearance racks and know what time of the year to shop for certain items. Warm weather is beginning, so it’s a great time to stock up on winter clothes.
3. Find cheap alternatives
Date nights and get-togethers don’t always have to be expensive. Instead of going to the movie theaters, try getting a redbox.
Also, instead of going an expensive restaurant or a bar with a cover charge, do a little grocery shopping, make a lunch and take it to the park. Relive your childhood and swing on the swings. Go for a walk. Swim in the lake.
There are numerous fun summer activities that won’t cost you anything.
4. Take care of your car
Cars are expensive, and probably the worst investment anyone could ever have. But the better they are taken care of the better off you are. Make sure your tires have adequate air, which will help with gas mileage.
Also, don’t overdo the air conditioning for hot summer days. When going low speeds, try rolling down your windows.
5. Check with your bank
Nowadays many banks will have ways to help you save. Check with your bank and see if you can set up automatic transfers online.
Each month, have some money transferred to a savings account.
Even if it’s only $5 a month, it’s a small amount of money that you won’t miss too much, however it will add up in a savings account over time.
Last but not least, don’t forget to live a little. Saving is important, but money isn’t everything.
After you’ve learned your budget, be sure to treat yourself every once in a while, too.
What tips do you have for saving money?