College is already hard enough: having to go to class, entertaining friends, studying for tests, working on homework, trying to get enough sleep. Something always falls to the wayside. Letting your finances go and thinking, “I’m fine,” every time you’re out and about will only add onto the stress you’re dealing with. Being frugal in college demands desire, a plan, and accountability. Get a handle on your finances, and over time, it will only be natural to say, “No, I don’t actually need those tacos.”
Tips for Handling Finances
By writing down a clear budget that focuses solely on your necessities, you can determine the level of frugality you need to reach. Along with this, you can physically view what money is flowing in and out of your accounts. This can help you gain a sense of urgency, kickstarting your personalized process.
When creating your budget, track through your bank account, and take note of your bills and major purchases. Lay everything out on a spreadsheet. After documenting your budget, make lists: one for essentials, one for non-essentials, and one where items can be cut. Deeply evaluate the latter two. Your personal spending habits will be visible, enabling you to identify and rewire bad habits.
Remember Student discounts
By venturing into your new school community, not only do you find out what goes on around you, but you get to know it, experience it, and find possible discounts. Some online stores will even honor your student discount if you can electronically send proof.
When exploring discounts, remember
Don’t be afraid to ask.
Have proof. Bring your student ID with you everywhere you go.
Google “student discounts” and frugally buy to your budget’s desire.
Transportation: Carpool, walk, jog, ride a bike, or take a bus. Some people survive college without a car. It is possible.
Textbooks: Share with a friend, visit your school’s library, or see if the book is available to borrow.
Clothes: Strategically purchase items that can mix and match or share with a friend.
Job: If you can work the hours into your schedule, do. Look for a paid internship in the field you are studying.
Food: Start couponing; make lists before you go and urge yourself to stick to them.
Online: Be sure to look up coupons when getting ready to check out.
Coffee: A college staple doesn’t need to be fancy. Buy a coffee maker.
Health: Utilize your school’s gym and intramural programs. Play ping-pong or racquetball and use the track, the basketball courts, the free weights, etc. Add to your health and keep to your budget.
Document, analyze, and make a hobby out of finding new ways to save. Innovate processes that help you reach the same desire in a cheaper manner. Sustain this new lifestyle change by making it your lifestyle norm. Maintaining college frugality is possible and beneficial.