There a lot of lessons you will learn as a university student! One of the most important is money saving! Discover our ultimate money saving plan here!
Tell me if this sounds familiar: University student, broke because the money ran out before the next payday from your job in the tutoring center, and you haven’t got any food in.
University is one of the first times young adults find themselves truly on their own.
The freedom and new adulthood can make an intoxicating combination.
Unfortunately, it can also lead to a bank account very much in the red.
So how can you make sure to keep yourself fed and taken care of while also having an amazing time at university?
You need a money saving plan, and we have just the one. Read on for the ultimate in money saving tips.
The Ultimate Money Saving plan: Big vs Little
First, let’s get this out of the way. We are taking a look at the ways to really do some power-house saving.
That said, there are a million little things you can do to save money.
Tiny differences in your lifestyle are easy to make, and the pennies they save do stack up.
However, we want to talk to you about the big ways to save, so let’s get those little things out of the way.
Want to save a dime here and there? Try these:
- Do your nails at home
- Learn to cut your own hair (you can even make money with this one if you get good enough.)
- Walk wherever possible, and invest in a bike.
- Buy generic instead of name-brand
- Get a small coffee maker and brew your own
There are tons of these money saving tips that will save you a bit. But the big tips? Those are ahead.
Use Student Discounts
Being a university student can pay off in more than just career training.
Businesses from cinemas to bars to tattoo parlours offer student discounts.
Most will accept your student ID, but for the biggest savings, look into student discount cards.
There are a few of these to choose from, and most of them offer hundreds of discounts especially for students.
Granted, a discount card is probably going to come with an up-front fee, usually about $20, but the savings will pay for the card in no time.
This may seem to go against what we said above, but this truly is a way to save big money.
With the variety of discounts available, there is no reason you should be spending retail on anything you don’t have to.
Combine that with in-store sales and promotions, and it’s practically money in your wallet.
Make a Budget
Alright, listen. You need a budget.
Yes, the Excel spreadsheet with the categories and the numbers.
You need it. Say it with me.
You. Need. A. Budget.
It sounds very “Morris from Accounting”, but the truth is, having a budget will slash how much you spend and super-charge your money saving plan.
For a month, keep a record of every dollar you spend, from once term expenses like schoolbooks to everyday ones like food.
At the end of the month, sit down with a very strong drink and take a look at where your money is going.
Decide what absolutely must stay and what can be sacrificed or relegated to a “once in awhile” luxury.
Having a budget is going to slash your unnecessary spending, and also help you avoid nasty end-of-the-month financial surprises.
There are always solutions to those sorts of situations, like short term loans or the dreaded call home to the folks asking for cash, but we like to avoid those if possible.
Even if your income is tiny, building and sticking to a budget will set you up for financial success after university. So get cracking on those numbers!
This one is simple. Instead of a bank card or credit card, use cash.
You can even put this step hand in hand with your budget and have an envelope for each budget category.
Put cash for each category in its respective envelope, and your budget is set.
Transitioning from cards to cash may seem strange. It’s going to feel very odd to be carrying cash for quite a bit, but here’s the benefit:
When you can physically see the money and watch it dwindle, you are more likely to be thoughtful about your purchases.
Using cash forces you to really see how much you are spending, and how much you have to last you until the end of the week or month.
You can take this part of the money saving plan further and try to carry only large bills.
You are less likely to spend money to break a large bill than you are to spend smaller ones. Carrying larger notes will help save you from impulse buys and save you big money.
Turn Trash into Treasure
Yes, the local shops have the absolute cutest dorm furniture, and the bedsheets you saw last week simply have to be on your bed.
If you can teach yourself to shop savvy by purchasing second-hand, you can save a bundle.
Many people scoff at buying second hand, and their worries are valid. Is the item clean? Is it functional? Was the previous owner a slob?
The truth is, is easier than ever in the days of online swap sites and social media based rummage sales. You can get a look at what you’re buying online before you ever bring it home.
Watch How You Eat
Flexitarian is the new word du jour in the meal-plan world, and it’s on our money-saving plan for a reason: It’s going to help you save like crazy.
The idea is exactly what it sounds like: being flexible with how you eat.
Meat is expensive, so while you don’t need to cut it out entirely, you don’t need it all the time.
Same thing with sugar. Cutting your consumption of sugar forces you to eat more mindfully, saving you money.
Even in a small dorm, you can cook from scratch to a point, and you can save even more if you live off-campus by growing your own balcony vegetable garden.
An effective money saving plan boils down to one word” mindfulness. Once you know where your money is going, you can take control of your financial future.
What other tips have you found for saving money? Let us know in the comments below!