Have champagne taste but a beer budget? In other words, this means you enjoy the finer things in life, but lack the economic means to support an extravagant lifestyle.
It’s ok; honestly, most college and high school students are living on a tight budget
. If not, they’re likely students getting themselves into a cycle of debt.
While neither is fun or easy, you can become smarter about the way you spend your money. In the long term, the key to financial success is being aware of how you’re spending your money.
This year establish savings goals for yourself. This list includes more than 30 days of easy ways to save. You’ll save thousands of dollars each year by putting a few of these financial goals into practice.
Stretch your dollar further with the following money-saving tips:
- Buy or rent used textbooks and sell last semester’s books back. Textbooks can be super expensive, and you may not need to keep them. Try renting textbooks from Amazon!
Also did you know there was an Amazon Prime student discount?!
- Don’t make impulse purchases. Instead, set goals to save each month for fun purchased for yourself. Or, put an item in your shopping cart and revisit it later. This will help you determine if you REALLY need to make that purchase.
- Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. If you decide to go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, before you know it, you’ll have spent way too much money on Twinkies and Hot Cheetos.
- Limit the number of times you eat out monthly. Truth be told, the pandemic has really helped us out with this one. Eating out can add up quick. Plan on ordering take out or using Uber Eats once a month...not a couple of times a week!
- Cut out the vices. Smoking, vaping and binge drinking are terrible for you and expensive.
- Always pay bills on time to avoid late fees. These late fees are not cheap; adding an extra $30 or so to your bill makes it a lot harder for you to lower the balance.
- If you have a credit card, pay it off as quickly as possible. Credit cards are a great way to establish credit, but a bad credit score will follow you everywhere. If you’re using more than 50% of your credit card limit, you’ll have a higher interest rate.
Try using an app like Credit Karma to help you stay aware of these limits!
- Walk, use public transportation or ride a bike instead of having a car. Vehicle Maintenance and gas can add up quick. The less you must use your car the more money you’ll save. Plus, it’s good for the environment!
- Live with others so you can split rent and utilities. Apps like PayPal allow you to schedule, divide costs and ask for money without the awkwardness.
- Cut out expensive cable packages you don’t need. Opt for one streaming service instead! Try Netflix or Hulu.
- Consider more basic phone packages. Be sure your plan includes unlimited texting and reasonable data fees.
- Don’t buy the most expensive college meal plans. Figure out what you consume and get the correlating package.
- Shop where they offer student discounts. There are so many places that offer discounts to students with a school ID. If you’re not just, ask! The worst they can say is no.
- Look into a campus gym versus a gym in town. Many colleges offer memberships for free or at a reduced rate for students—even high school students or even the children of alumni!
- When planning meals, make dinner with friends and split the cost of groceries. Often, you’ll be cooking too much for one person anyway!
- Sell what you no longer use or need. There are plenty of stores and web sites and apps where you can sell your used clothing, furniture or tech items. Here are some popular places to start making extra cash:
• Facebook Marketplace
- Don’t buy unnecessary school supplies. Why buy cumbersome notebooks when you can type on your laptop? It’s better for the earth anyway!
- Don’t buy books you will only need for a short period of time. If you’ll only need a book for a few weeks, check it out from the library instead. If you love the piece and will reference it again, consider buying a used version from an online, used bookstore like ThriftBooks.
- Take advantage of what your campus has to offer in terms of activities, rather than spending money on going out. Many campuses have an array of museums, offer movie nights and other social events for cheaper or, sometimes, for free.
If you’re a high school student that lives in or close to a college campus, most colleges will allow you to visit these places too. Plan and call ahead or get on a list to be sure you save your place. Most events have space limitations due to COVID-19.
- Skip expensive spring break and summer trips. Look into alternatives, like volulnteering instead. By doing this you’ll also enhance your chances of winning or landing a volunteer scholarship or internship.
- Wait to get a pet until after college. Pets can become very expensive. Not only do you have another mouth to feed, but veterinary bills are costly. If you love animals, there are plenty of shelters that need volunteers.
- Go to class. If you’re a college student, you’re paying for it. Skipping is like throwing money out the window!
- Drink water Water is free and better for you. Fill up a reusable water bottle and take it with you.
- Make your own coffee. While coffee shops are convenient, they charge hefty prices that really add up over time. Skipping Starbucks saves you at least $5 each visit.
- Open a savings account that earns interest. Many students are using larger, online banking networks like Chime as their primary checking account and a way to save money.
Chime also has an auto feature that allows you to round up purchases to the nearest dollar to build your savings account.
- Use free calculator tools. Resources like FinAid’s Student Budget Calculator or the one offered by Mint.com, to keep track of your finances. It’s harder to be frivolous when you see where your money is going.
- Never take out a loan for anything that's unrelated to your education. If It’s an emergency use your bank. Not a quick-cash lender! For student loans use a loan provider that specializes in this type of financing.
- Don’t buy music. Use the free services like Spotify or Pandora offer.
- Look into class requirements and the options for testing out of classes. Why pay for a class you could easily test out of?
- Consider becoming a resident advisor. Many get free room and board in college. If you’re in high school, be aware that this is an option!
- Avoid buying name brand items. Purchase generic items whenever possible. Use the Walmart or Target version of Windex or Lysol.
They are the same item, at a highly reduced price. You can even check the ingredients to make sure!