Exam season is right around the corner and you are a stressed-out student with the world at your doorstep but spare change in your pockets. Financial frugality in school can be difficult, if not impossible. Devouring ramen noodles and reusing underwear is no way to spend these cherished years. But worry not, my friends, all hope is not lost. Here are 3 tips for sticking to that budget you created way back in September when you first started classes.
1. Keep spare change in a jar
This idea may sound silly, but you'll be amazed by how fast it can add up. Whether it’s leftover change from your morning coffee, or those lonely couple of coins jingling for your attention at the bottom of a purse or wallet, at the end of the day it's more money for your savings. Plus, by keeping it in a jar and out of your hands, you'll notice you’re less tempted to spend it.
BONUS TIP: Raid every crevice of every couch you find yourself on. I strongly recommend you wear gloves when executing this bonus tip.
2. Get a part-time job
Ok, before you skip right to tip number 3, hear me out. Having a part-time job during your college experience is an awesome way to earn some extra spending money and meet amazing people. However there is always that temptation to go blow your entire paycheque on something completely unnecessary. Rather than spending it all, put at least 10% into your savings account. Over time you'll notice your bank balance filling up!
3. Schedule time to check in with your budget
For some, university can be the first time you’re making your own decisions about how to spend your money, and just like learning a new skill, you might end up making some choices you regret. Once a month, book some time to go over the budget you made before going back to school (yes, we’re suggesting you actually put this in your calendar). Review the purchases you have made over the past 30 days and identify where you may have overspent.
Need to get back on track? First off, separate your “wants” from your “needs.” Now that you’ve settled into a spending groove at school, this should be easier to do. Make a list of every expense you can’t live without and set aside a weekly budget to cover these costs. Whatever’s left over at the end of the week can go towards your “wants,” such as concert tickets and non-meal plan food.
Download a budgeting app, or go old-school and keep a physical colour-coded budget of your monthly spending. Budgeting and recording your transactions can give you keen insights into your monthly spending. You’ll quickly start to notice some areas of frivolous spending that can be tightened, meaning more cash in your pocket!
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