student money

How To Save Money As A Student – It’s Easier Than You Think

As a student in college, you need to save every penny so you can get by month after month. Depending on your class load, getting a part-time job may not be an option for you. So, therefore, it pays to learn how to be thrifty and save as much money as you can on monthly expenses. This list will teach you ways to save money on food, textbooks, clothing, laundry, transportation, entertainment, and more.

Now that you are a young adult, it’s time for a crash course in economics. There are many ways to save money as a student, you just have to get a little bit creative with how you do it. Getting a job is what most first-year students try to do but end up struggling because they don’t manage their time well and don’t set aside time to study because they are working extra shifts to make money.

 It is a better idea to set aside a monthly amount of money to use for your living expenses and don’t go overboard. If you applied for federal funding in the way of grants and loans, you can use a portion of the money for living expenses. The first step towards financial stability is to make a budget. There are many ways to do this but one method that is very popular is the envelope method.

Budgeting

This is part of being an adult, knowing how much money you need per month to live on. Make a list of all of your expenses. If you pay for housing and utilities write it down. How much do you spend per week at the grocery store? Do you get takeout food? How many times per month? Do you drive? You’ll have a gas expense.

Write down everything you pay for monthly. This will give you a starting point. You will know that you need to have $XX per month to pay your bills.  Then, at the first of every month, pull out enough cash to cover everything listed in your budget plus $20.

Separate the money into the proper amounts and place them in a separate envelope. Write the names of each expense (rent, food, insurance) on the envelopes. Whatever cash you have leftover after preparing your bills is spending money. This is for the whole month so make it last.

Use cash as often as possible

It is tempting to just pull out your credit card when you see something you want. But you are actually paying more in interest and processing fees by using your card. It is also easier to spend more than you intended. If you make it a habit to only pay with cash you will be more conscious of how you spend your money and you’ll save $$ by not paying all those fees. To save on ATM fees just pull out enough cash for the week to cover all of your needs. You will only pay the one withdrawal fee which is a lot less.

TIP! You could save on interest when you refinance a student loan, check out Earnest. They also offer private student loans if you’re looking to get funded for college.

Saving money on food

Grocery shopping: This is where it starts being fun. You can get really creative with this part and save a lot of money. Depending on your lifestyle and how you eat (meat-eater, vegetarian, vegan) your main dish is going to be the most expensive part of making meals. Check for sales on chicken, beef, and pork and stock up on canned tuna. A good routine is to look for sales and use coupons when you grocery shop.

 If you are vegetarian or vegan then you’ll be saving money by not buying meat. One tip that many shoppers use is to find out when the best times to shop are. Certain days and times of the day are better to shop. Buy items marked “clearance” or “sale” for the best saving. The store bakery marks down bread the closer it is to closing time. You can save a lot of money by buying rice, beans, and cornmeal in bulk and then put it in smaller containers.

Cook at home.  If you are not that great at cooking there are many good tutorials on YouTube for newbie cooks. You will find a multitude of recipes on how to make soups, stews, casseroles, tacos, desserts. Many are from professional chefs as well as home cooks so you will get a variety to choose from. Another popular option for saving money is to cook in batches and freeze a week’s worth of meals. The idea is to cook when you have the largest block of time, and then freeze the food to be reheated and eaten later.

Share meals: This is a great option if you have roommates or dorm buddies. Take turns buying the food and cooking the meals. Alternate weekly and find friends to do this with too. Pick one day per week and have a potluck dinner. Invite one or two friends to bring a side dish and something to drink. Next week they can host the potluck meal. This is a great way for everyone to save money and enjoy some good food.

Takeout meals: This one you will want to use sparingly and only occasionally. If you like to occasionally splurge on Chinese, Italian, or Indian food, you can save money on takeout food by ordering family-style meals and splitting them between 2 – 3 people. Appetizers are usually expensive and can be left out. If a dish includes rice or beans you can make these cheaper than the restaurant cost.

One suggestion is to order a main dish and choose low-cost sides or make these at home. You’ll still have a good meal and you’ll save a little money. Check ad circulars for coupons for your favorite restaurants. You may get a discount. Groupon is a good source for meal specials.

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Save money on housing

If you live in the dorm you most likely already have a roommate and your rent is paid ahead. But if you live off-campus, you can save money by getting a roommate and sharing expenses. A 3-bedroom apartment can house up to 6 adults and if each person pays a share, that adds up to savings in rent and utilities. The cheapest option is to keep living at home until you graduate. If your parent’s house has an attic or finished basement you could ask about turning it into a small apartment temporarily.

Save money on textbooks

This is probably one of the biggest expenses you will have next to rent and food. Textbooks can get really expensive and each semester it seems like they come out with a new edition. This is not a guarantee, but you can check with used bookstores to see if you can get a copy cheaper than the school bookstore. You may also be able to rent textbooks, or borrow a copy from the library for free. If you do end up paying full price for your textbooks you may be able to sell them back at half-price to the school or other bookstores at the end of the quarter.

Save on cable TV costs

There are so many good network shows on this season. If you don’t have cable or a subscription to Dish Network don’t get one. The average cost for cable tv is $50 – $60  per month for basic expanded cable. If you spend the majority of your time on campus or doing activities then it isn’t really cost-effective to have cable if you’re not home enough to watch it. A better and lower-cost alternative is to subscribe to Netflix or Hulu. You can watch video-on-demand much cheaper and they have a good variety of tv shows, movies, and special events. If you’re a sports fan that can’t live without Football, there are some streaming services that offer sports channels cheaper than cable.

Saving money on transportation

If you have been thinking of buying a car, don’t do it unless you need it for commuting from home to school. You’ll have to shell out money for gas, parking fees, and insurance just to have one. Cheaper alternatives include rideshare with a friend, ride a bicycle, or use public transportation. One reason people usually decide to buy a car is that buses are two slow or don’t go where they need to go. But you can combine transportation methods such as taking your bike on the bus and using it to get where you need to go that the bus doesn’t. You also won’t arrive late if you leave early enough. There are other options if you live in larger cities like Uber and Lyft but these can be costly if you use them often.

Save on clothing costs

Clothing is always a big part of a student’s budget. Shopping for clothes is always fun but not when you go overboard and spend your whole month’s food budget on the latest outfits to look good by the pool. It is possible to find second-hand or gently used clothing by browsing your local Goodwill or Salvation Army thrift stores, consignment shops, and online. ThredUP is one of the largest online consignment shops with clothes for men, women, and children. Poshmark is an online social shopping network where you can buy and sell name brand clothing. If you have never considered buying used clothing you should try it. The prices are much lower and you take it home and throw it in the wash and you would never know it didn’t just come straight from The Gap.

Saving money on laundry

Everyone has to do laundry. It is the one thing we cannot skip. When it comes to laundry expenses, you can reduce the amount you spend doing your laundry. If you have few clothes and only have a handful of items to wash on laundry day you could take it home and use your parents washing machine for free, or get a small portable tabletop washing machine/spinner for small loads. You will have to hang your items over the shower rod to dry but it will save you lots of quarters.

Save money on entertainment

If you love music and like to buy CD’s, you can save a lot of money by using a streaming service like Amazon Music or apps like Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes. You can create a playlist of favorite songs, artists, and genres. It’s great for listening to while working out, doing household chores, or while waiting in line at the bank.

$1 Movie Matinees

If you like going to the movies, you can skip the later show and go when it is less crowded like in the early afternoon. The prices are lower for matinees and the $1 movie theatres show the same movies that are playing now (just later on). If you don’t mind waiting a month to see the newest title you will enjoy it just as much when you pay less for it.

TIP! Sign up to Truebill. Their app makes it easy to optimize your spending, manage subscriptions, lower your bills, and stay on top of your financial life.

Saving money on furnishings

This one is kind of hard because when you move into a new place you are going to have to spend some money on home furnishings. Again, remember your budget and only buy what you need. A good practice to follow when it comes to impulse buying is the 30-day rule. If you find that object that you have to buy tell yourself that you will wait 30 days. After 30 days if you still want it then you can buy it. Most people will forget all about it and be on to something else. Another good reason to wait is that if you do buy it you may get it at a lower price than you would by buying it now.

There are many little tips and tricks to saving money on just about everything. As a student, if you find it difficult to make ends meet from week to week then try some of the suggestions listed here. Strategic shopping and buying things when they go on sale can help you keep some of that cash in your pocket where it belongs.

TIP! Follow this budgeting course and learn how to save money by taking control of your spending. Find and eliminate excess spending in your existing budgets.

We explain how you can make money, save money and grow money.

Make money: learn how to build wealth and how to earn money from the internet.

Save money: learn how to save money and how to make budget plans.

Grow money: learn how to invest and trade.

Please note that under no circumstances should any information from this blog be used as replacement for professional financial advice.

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