Nothing can quite prepare you for independent life as much as the time you spend as a student when you’re the one in charge of making sure all your needs are met and bills are paid on time. While managing finances and different aspects of your social life with a limited budget is not always the easiest thing, there are ways to go around it. Know that this is the perfect time to acquire habits and learn tricks to navigate life while on a budget. Student life prepares you to transition into full-fledged adulthood, wherein managing finances successfully is of utmost importance.
To be able to make the most of your money-tight student days and even later, stretch your dollar by following some of these money-saving tips for students:
1. Opt For Prepaid Cards That Earn You Rewards
A rather effortless way to manage your money and save money along the way is by using prepaid cards that earn rewards. Different apps and financial institutions give incentives in the form of rewards, cash backs, points and other discounts to take advantage of when buying certain products and services.
2. Make a List and Shop in the Evening
Make a list of carefully chosen items you need to get, and schedule a trip to the grocery store in the evening. A well-thought-out list will save you from any impulsive purchases and unplanned expenses. Once you have a list with all the essential items, it’s best to wait until evening. That’s usually when prices of short-lived goods such as greens get reduced. The store needs to get rid of them to bring new, fresh produce and prepare the shelves for the next day. By shopping in the evening, you’ll save both money and time with fewer or no lines to wait in too.
3. Always Have Your Student ID on You
A student ID unlocks a whole new world of discounts available to students, on- and off-campus. It helps you save money on drinks, bus rides, movie tickets, recreation, books and much more. You’ll find soon enough how a student ID is a prized piece of plastic you want to have on you at all times.
4. Cook, Prepare Meals and Eat at Home
If you eat out every day expenses can quickly add up and heavily burden your student budget, but not if you know how to be smart about your grocery shopping and if you put time aside to cook, eat at home, take leftovers or prepare separate meals and snacks to have while you’re on-the-go. You’ll be surprised how much you can save this way.
5. Set Up a Savings Challenge
Challenge yourself to one day a week when you’ll not spend a dime. Or set up a savings challenge wherein, every day, you have to put aside fifty-cents or a dollar. After 365 days, you’ll have saved up a nice sum of around $182 or $365. Wouldn’t it be great to use that money on something nice that your student budget otherwise doesn’t allow?
6. Save Money on Books
You need textbooks when you study. But, you don’t necessarily need to buy and spend a lot of money on books if you consider:
- Avoiding shopping at the college bookstore
By shopping at the college bookstore, you shop for convenience, which usually comes with a higher price tag.
- Buying used books online or at second-hand shops
To find the specific book and edition your class uses, use the book’s ISBN and try free online research tools to compare prices from many different online stores.
- Contribute to save and share
If you can come up with a study schedule that suits everyone and if your professors don’t require books during the class, you can contribute to buy and share books with your colleagues.
- Check your school library
Although school libraries often don’t have a copy of all textbooks, they likely have copies of some of them. If they do, order a book ahead of time with the interlibrary loan system.
- Use e-books
If you have an e-reader or you’re ready to invest in one, you may want to use textbooks available in the e-book format. You can buy or rent them at a much cheaper price than printed books. Keep in mind that historical texts, poetry and essays, biographies and fiction are the most common texts in e-book format.
- Buy older editions
You can find older editions at half the price of the new editions. You can use the former given there are no significant differences in content with the new ones.
7. Save On Electricity Bills
Electricity bills make up another important part of the monthly expenses you need to think about and manage thoughtfully. There are many ways, tips and tricks you can apply to cut down on electricity bills.
8. Opt For Free Entertainment
You’d be surprised by activities and amenities such as movie nights or fitness classes that might be offered free of charge on campus. If that’s not enough, it’s worth checking out the community centers for free events. You can also always opt for some free outdoor activities to check out and rejuvenate in nature. Who says that the only way to have fun is to go out and spend money on drinks, club entrance tickets, cabs and late-night snacks on the way back home? If your roommates don’t object, you can always organize a small dinner party or quiz night with guests who bring food and drinks.
9. Search for Online Bargains
If you know how and where to look, you can save money on clothes, gadgets and everything else you need to have your money-tight student life run its course with more ease and pleasure. Consider:
- Checking Amazon’s secret warehouse deals
- Browsing eBay outlets
- Completing online surveys in exchange for vouchers and rewards
10. Swap and Save
There are many websites where you can swap things you don’t need or want any more for something you like and would like to have. Your trash can be somebody’s treasure and vice versa.
It’s Useful To Master Money-Saving Tips and Tricks
No one said it’s going to be easy. Still, no one said it can’t be a fun and rewarding life experience to independently take care of yourself, your finances and needs in a way that won’t break the budget. Through a little bit of hardship and discomfort now, you’ll learn lessons that’ll help you deal better with greater responsibilities and bills later in life.