When you think of university students, you automatically hear the crying of their bank accounts in the background; this is because it is the first time they ever have to learn to save money. As a student, whether you are earning your own income or still getting an allowance from your parents, either way, money will be tight as a consequence of extremely expensive tuition fees, the cost of textbooks, rent (in case of moving out), in addition to other daily expenses. For these reasons, we have compiled the top 10 most effective ways to save money as a student.
Creating a budget is the first step to saving money as a student. Often we find ourselves spending money mindlessly without giving ourselves a moment to think about how much we’re spending in contrast to what we’re making or our allowance, which is why it is important to sit down and start budgeting. Grab a pen and paper and write down your salary/ allowance on the top of the page, then start listing your monthly expenses; these are the fixed payments you have to make every month, such as water, gas, and electricity bills, installments, loans, etc… This will tell you exactly how much money you have left after paying all your monthly liabilities in order to help you plan how to budget with the remaining money.
Think of what you spend the most money on.
Shopping? Food? Decor? In order to avoid overspending, you must understand what is causing it in the first place. Think of everything you overspend on, then think of alternatives that will help you stick to your budget. For example, if the thing you overspend on is shopping, try thrift shopping, or try looking for cheaper shops that still offer great quality but for a much less cost. There is an alternative to every “want”, so sit down and think of how you can still enjoy the things you spend on, yet still stick to your budget.
Unsurprisingly, the number 1 thing we all spend money on is food. It is much easier to just order food or eat out with your friends instead of going through the hassle of cooking something yourself, especially if you are living alone. However, the consequences are that you will probably find yourself broke by the middle of the month, in addition to severely damaging your health with all the unhealthy food. A very simple solution to this is to set one day a week where you do meal preparations for the entire week. Get a notebook and think of meals for every day of the week, then get to cooking! Store all the food in your fridge or freezer, and that way, you will have ready meals for the entire week without having gone over your budget, nor gone through the hassle of thinking for hours about what you are gonna eat that day or the effort of cooking every single day.
Get a part time job
If you have some free time in your schedule, consider getting a part time job that can help loosen up your budget a little if you’re finding difficulty saving by the end of the month. However, make sure your job won’t negatively affect your studies of grades. It is also best that you do not work during your first semester at university, as you will still be getting used to university life and trying to adapt to the change of lifestyle, so adding a job on top of all that will probably overwhelm you.
Know your discounts.
Students have multiple discounts that they have no idea about. Ask your university about the discounts you have and make as much use of them as possible! These discounts will probably include flight tickets, train tickets, libraries, and maybe some shops too. When you are purchasing something, you can also ask in the store whether they have any student discounts that you can benefit from. Lastly, ask students older than you if they know about any discounts, if anyone knows, it is definitely them.
Do not add unnecessary costs.
Do not get a pet, do not get a car, do not add any unnecessary costs that you will not be able to afford. When making a purchase, ask yourself whether or not you will be able to commit to its expenses in the future, if the answer is not a definite yes, then do not make the purchase; if you cannot afford the item even if you lose your job or get less allowance from your parents, then do not buy it.
Watch what you spend on outings.
Ity is very easy to get tricked into going over your budget, especially when you are out with friends. Be careful of what you spend on outings, do not offer to pay for a friend if you cannot afford it, and do not go on a shopping spree that will cause you to overspend. You can still go out and enjoy your time without going way over your budget.
Have one “no spend” day a week.
You will be surprised how much you save with this method. A “no spend” day means that for 24 hours, you do not spend a penny. Instead of taking transportation, walk. Instead of eating out, eat all your meals at home, or pack them and take them with you wherever you need to go. Regardless of how much you will save with four “no spend” days a month, you also discover how easy it is to go a day without spending money, which will make it even easier for you to stick to your budget and maybe even have more than one “no spend” day a week!
Look out for offers.
Whether you are shopping for clothes, groceries, or going out to eat, always check for offers. Restaurants are constantly making offers, especially on their anniversaries, where offers can reach 50% off. If you are shopping for groceries, always look for “buy 2 get 2 free” offers or suchlike, these will save you a lot in the future and stocking up on groceries always comes in handy. Lastly, wait for national holidays or Black Friday to go out and shop, as that time frame is when most offers are crazy. You can also follow your favorite brands and restaurants online to get notified if there are any offers you can make use of.
Go easy on yourself.
Budgeting does not mean cutting out every source of joy in your life, it simply means you are enjoying everything for a cost you can afford. Do not hold back if there is something you really want to buy or a necessity that you think is too expensive and is above your budget, there is always a way to work through budgeting, as long as you are being mindful about your purchases.