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We’ve all been through the student phase at least once in our life. That’s why we know just how difficult it is to survive on a tight budget and to be constantly broke. It can also be super challenging to actually save money as a student, especially when you’re living away from home and have tons of bills to pay every month. Ugh! And y’know that cute jacket from Macy’s and that brand-new Italian restaurant that’s opened up just around the corner can make saving up even harder.
We get it and we got you!
You can still enjoy it all and save money with a few easy and practical techniques that we’ve listed below. Let’s get started!
1. Make a Weekly or Monthly Budget Plan
Creating a budget plan may sound tedious, but that’s the first baby step in your ‘money saving’ journey.
Each week or month, fix a spending amount for yourself. Say, $50/week. Now divide this $50 towards your weekly expenditures and keep track of it using a budgeting app or a spreadsheet. We’re not saying you need some elaborate budgeting software for this. That may be an unnecessary expense unless you’re a finance major who loves crunching numbers. Moving on, let us explain how the budgeting part works. Food is the most important(obviously), so you could perhaps keep $20 aside for that. Life would be super boring without that new MCU movie, so we can keep $10 aside for entertainment. Use the remaining $20 for commute or any other expenses. If you save money from your weekly budgets(woohoo), be wise and add it to your savings.
When you forecast and divide each expense mindfully, you will never overspend or buy things impulsively. While you can create monthly budgets in a similar way, it is better to start small(daily or weekly), track your purchases, and reward yourself for sticking to your budget. P.S. Small rewards for small wins and big rewards for big wins, but thou shall do it all keeping thy budget in mind.
2. Set Up a Savings Account
Imagine you’re dining at the food court with your phone on the table beside your food. Your friend accidentally spills her drink… all over your phone!
No point crying over spilled coke.
Replacing or getting a phone repaired can seriously shake your budget – at least two months’ worth of it. That’s why it’s always important to save money for ‘em rainy days.
Folks, you don’t need to open a literal saving account – a piggybank or a safe place in your closet will do! However, if you want to be more organized and really have a safe place where all your money goes, a savings account can prove to be a pretty wise decision. You don’t even need to throw in too much money in there. Just take out a small percentage of your allowance or paycheck and mark that as your savings. Try doing this with your budgeting plan and you’ll be surprised by just how much you can save every month.
3. Take Advantage of Student Discounts
A lot of you may not know it, but nearly every retail outlet offers student discounts. All you have to do is ask them for one!
Remember that phone you needed to replace? Well, you can get a much better model for an even better price. Apple, Samsung, and nearly all the big tech brands provide amazing discounts for students with no-cost EMI options.
And all it takes for you is to whip out your student ID!
Not only that, but you can also get scrumptious offers at most restaurants and retail stores. So how about finally checking out that new restaurant around the corner?
4. Get a Side-Hustle
Do you love painting? Commission it! Enjoy baking? Everyone’s got a sweet tooth – you may as well profit off of it. Now, this may not exactly be a way to save money as a student, but it’s sure a great one to earn some!
Nearly every college student has a side-hustle or a part-time job for that extra dough. That doesn’t mean it needs to be boring or irritating. If you really enjoy doing something and are great at it, you can use it to earn some cash on the side.
Now that could be waiting on diners in restaurants, babysitting, or even tutoring. But it can also be baking, painting, or whatever else you’d like it to be! Everyone’s got their own talents and preferences – you just need to figure out yours.
5. Buy Second-Hand
Starting a new school year? You know what would be a great way to save money as a student? Buying second-hand textbooks! Everyone knows how utterly expensive college textbooks can be, which is precisely why it hurts to blow our money on them.
One of the best financial tips for college students would be to thrift everything you can. With something reusable like textbooks, the best part is that you can re-sell them when the semester is over!
And not only books – there are so many things you can thrift, like clothes, decor, and accessories. Thrift stores are like a hidden treasure chest – you never know the gems you may find!
6. Use Cash Over Cards Whenever Possible
Credit or debit cards are little magic devices that seem to never run out until the day you check your bank statements. With cash, you literally see the money disappearing and the real transaction happening. Experts say that using cash over cards is perhaps the most underrated way of spending mindfully. Making it the best tip to save money as a student!
Carrying cash will always encourage you to count the money you have before any purchase. However, when you use cards, you may loosen your grip a little and end up spending more than needed. And the next thing you know, you’re living off instant noodles for the next four months. It may sound tasty, but it’s really not.
You know when you’re browsing through your favorite online stores and a really cozy jacket catches your eye? You want to buy it, but you can’t because you’re already all budgeted out for the month! So you add it to the cart and leave it there for when you have the money to buy it.
But has it ever happened to you that when you do want to shop, the website has poofed itself from your memory? It can happen to the best of us – but it doesn’t need to!
Carrot is a Google Chrome extension that automatically collects your carts as you shop. So whatever you ‘add to cart’ on any online store gets automatically saved on Carrot as a list that you can organize and share. What’s more? You can create grocery or shopping lists on Carrot and compare prices to find the best deal online because money saved is money earned.
Say goodbye to endlessly digging through screenshots, emails & bookmarks, and say hello to the future of organized plus mindful online shopping with Carrot!
The best part? It’s freeee!