Photo Credit: John McArthur (via unsplash)
As students, most of our time is consumed by unpaid work. Unfortunately, most of us are also clueless when it comes to saving the money we do make. If your bank account is dwindling near empty, it’s probably time that you made some changes to your routine. It’s time to learn how to live within your means.
It is good practice as a student to find the cheapest way to acquire your course materials. In most cases, this means purchasing an eBook of your textbook instead of a paper copy. I know it’s a sacrifice – falling asleep on an eBook is not nearly as comfortable as having your cheek caressed by the soft, sensual pages of a printed textbook. Try a pillow next time.
If you want to save money, plan out your meals for the week and get in the habit of auditing your shopping cart before you go to the checkout. Pick up each item that wasn’t on your list and ask yourself, “Do I need this?” If the answer is no, then put it back.
You should also plan your grocery trips for student discount days and use websites like studentbeans.com for discounts when you need something. However, avoid going off on a shopping spree just because you get 10% off.
The next logical step should be to unsubscribe from the mailing lists of your favourite clothing, game, or book stores. You know how they get you. You see the email headline that says “50% OFF TODAY ONLY,” and you’re putty in their hands. Take back your self-respect and your money. You deserve it.
Cancel your credit card if you have one. It is an easy way to stop spending money that you don’t have. A credit card holds the promise of riches untold. Spend now, pay later. Now it’s later and those credit card bills are coming due. That little piece of plastic has fooled you once again.
Buy off-brand and used items. I know you want what’s hot and trendy – you want those new boots or that coat that everyone has. The reality is that you can’t afford it. You need to save money. Visit a local thrift store or buy a knock-off version if your pride can take it.
Differentiating between your needs and wants is crucial. Buy what you need first and make accommodations for the money that you plan to save. Then, and only then, buy things that you want. Buying things you don’t need should only occur after much conscious deliberation on your part.
Another way to save money is to avoid replacing things unless you have to. If it’s not broken, don’t buy a new one. The temptation to upgrade to a new phone is strong, but we all know your old phone still has a few years left in it. Let it live to old age in your care, and buy a new phone only when the old one is truly a goner.
The most glaring opportunity to save money is the weekend. During the week, we’re all slouched over our textbooks and laptops. For many of us, Saturday night is our only break. The way things are right now, it’s not as easy as it once was to spend hundreds of dollars on alcohol as you stumble around downtown. Use mandatory quarantine time as a chance to change your habits! Instead of partying it up on the weekend, consider staying at home and watching a movie or playing a board game with your bubble or with friends online. Even better, go to bed early and catch up on your sleep! Practice healthy ways of winding down after a long week of school and work.
Finally, get rid of all unnecessary expenses. Any subscriptions or bills that you are paying that you do not need. Limit your TV subscription services to one and perhaps become willing to listen to ads on your playlists.
It’s time to take control of your life and your bank account! Try out a few of these tips; I’m certain that the sacrifices you make for the sake of your financial wellbeing will pay off in spades. The reduced amount of stress you will feel when it comes time to pay your bills will make it all worth it!