College is more than just a constant pressure of academics. It’s beyond figuring out how to write topnotch essays, and sleepless nights. If you’re a 21st century student and you are not from these countries, chances are you also constantly worry about student loans and the possibility of debts. You rack up stacks of bills for rent and utilities, on top of necessities like food. You’re burning time, and at the same time, money – that’s how college really is, and the idea of saving money for college students seems almost laughable. Despite this crippling reality, remember that silver linings exist. There are small changes you can make to retain a happy wallet. Spending can be done wisely, and saving money is, indeed, possible. Here’s how:
Instead of buying new textbooks, buy used ones.
While textbooks come in handy during your classes, after a semester you won’t be needing them anymore. You’ll just find them taking up precious space, eventually collecting dust. And to top it all, you've spent a fortune buying them. Your best option is to buy secondhand ones. They’re cheaper, and chances are you’ll be helping another student in need. Just so, once you’re done using them, pay it forward by selling them again for the next person to utilize.
Don’t make impulse purchases.
It’s easier said than done, yes, but remember this: before buying anything, wait for at least 24 hours. In this consumerist world, shopping is seen as a sport. The more you buy, the greater the chances of winning. And the price? Nothing, really - just worthless bragging rights, empty pockets, endless head scratching, and wasted space. While it’s tempting to stock up on the latest fashion trends, those shiny new gadgets, or that new music album set to be released tomorrow, think wisely. Reflect on wants and needs – needs are essential, wants can wait a little while. Do you really need that new iPhone, or would you rather use the money to pay off some of your loans? Saving money for college students isn’t easy, but getting rid of impulse purchases can help a lot.
Don’t do grocery shopping on an empty stomach.
The bane of your journey on saving money is food. You shouldn’t be dealing with hunger pangs, especially since you use most of your energy up on studying. Food is a basic human right, and this mentality can sometimes blur out practicality. One tip to save up is to never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Going to a place where food is everywhere will make you crave for things you don’t really need. It’s a terrible idea in all honesty, and you’ll simply just spend beyond your budget. Grocery shopping is best done after you have eaten a robust meal. That way, you are more level-headed because your cravings are significantly diminished. Thus, a full stomach will enable you to focus only on your needs.
Limit your monthly eat outs.
You deserve to reward yourself, yes, but if you’re truly focused on this journey of saving money for college students such as yourself, then you need to hold back. Eating out monthly is one thing, but the chances of your judgment getting impaired will be high, and that will quickly change monthly to weekly. Instead of eating out, opt to stay in with your friends, where you can cook dinner together.
Cut off your vices.
Smoking and binge drinking are not only expensive, they are also terrible for your health. Think of the cost of each bottle you’re chugging, only to puke it out the next hour. It’s like pouring money down the drain, and that goes the same for each pack of cigarettes you buy. As mentioned, saving money for college students seems almost impossible, but you’ll find that cutting off the literally toxic things in your life makes it easier.
Sell what you no longer use or need.
Look around your room. Perhaps your closet is overflowing with too many clothes now, or your shelves are piled up with random trinkets. If that’s the case, then it’s time to start sorting them out to sell. There are plenty of platforms to use, such as Depop and Craigslist. By doing this, you’ll be hitting two birds with one stone – clean your space and earn money!
Make your own coffee instead.
Okay, so the situation is this – to pump you up, you need caffeine in your system. And the only option you think you have is to run to your local Starbucks. Wrong - while coffee shops are indeed convenient, that $3 cup will add up over time. Let’s do a little math: if you buy a single cup of coffee per day, you will end up shelling out a total of $600 over the course of a year. That’s $600, which can already send you to a trip outside the country. If that isn’t enough to convince you, I’m not sure what will. Opt to buy coffee beans in bulk instead, and make it yourself. That’ll save you a ton, and make the dream of saving money for college students a reality!
Carry a water bottle around with you.
Plastic water bottles are #cancelled. The cost of buying bottled water adds up, plus they contribute to pollution. Carry a water bottle with you instead, and opt to stay hydrated with free water. Ditch other colored drinks and fill your water bottle up whenever you come across water fountains. Easy, right? Who knew that saving money for college students could be this healthy and sustainable?
Don’t leave them lying around – save your spare change.
Those coins are valuable. They add up over the years, thereby helping you save up! After your day, empty your wallet or pockets of coins and place them in a piggy bank or a jar. Should you find yourself in sticky financial situations, those coins will save your life. Otherwise, keep them for future expenses!
Keep track of your spending.
Last but not the least, keep track of your spending! If all else fails, seeing where your money actually goes will be enough to convince you to begin saving. This little method will gradually help you spend wisely, because you’ll have a clear picture of where your money goes. Does it mostly go to clothes? Coffee? Impulsive buying? If so, time to redirect it to necessities!
Contrary to popular belief, (and you should know by now) saving money for college students is entirely possible. If you are the average college student who just barely gets by, reassess your spending habits, because the notion of saving money is no longer just wishful thinking. With careful planning and discipline, coupled with our tips above, you’ll be well on your way to living a financially healthy student life!