Money is a big issue for college students, and anyone in general, because we have to split our time and money between school, food, and our own personal expenses. Not to mention with the pressure to go out and have fun and eating at new cool places, money holds our world together. Let’s face it, money is a big substantial part of life but one of the resources that seem to slip away so easily through our fingers.
I’m definitely one of those people who tries to save but fails miserably. However, I’ve kicked it into high gear and have learned some things that have helped me focus and actually has shown me results.
1. Analyze Your Budget & Check Your Bank Account Regularly
If you have a job or an unpaid internship, always make sure you are counting what money comes in and what comes out. I usually schedule all my bill payments the day I get my paycheck so I don’t have to scramble to get things in order at the last minute when I have already made miscellaneous purchases. As much as it sucks, check your bank account often that way you know where you are at exactly and have no surprises later on.
2. Try Budget Managing Sites
I use Mint.com to keep track of bill payments, how much I’m saving, and many things that deal with my bank account. If you want to pay off a credit card or loans, they show you how and keep track of it so you know a projected time you will be done with it. Plus, it organizes your purchases so you get to see what you have been spending more on, that way you can see what you’re overspending on. It’s really interactive and simple to use. Plus, it’s free to use!
3. Keep Credit Card Use to a Minimum
It’s really tempting to use credit cards because you purchase things and don’t have to think about it for the next month. However, that’s where the problem lies. We start racking up debt and then get in a deeper hole than we were before. Credit cards are useful when trying to build up credit but using it to buy small things is just a waste and can hurt you economically if you don’t use it correctly.
4. Learn to Have Fun/Do Things That Don’t Require Spending
This is where you can get crafty. Look up stuff on Pinterest to do DIY things with stuff you already own to beat the urge to go out and buy something new. Instead of always going out to places, trying walking around and exploring or even do simple things like a game night at home, that way you are in the clear.
5. Learn to Say No
Probably the hardest thing because peer pressure and coffee addictions require a lot of our wallet but it’s time to say no. Do you really need a new pair of shorts when you already have 10+ pairs? Do you really need another snack when you just ate lunch? Most of the time the answer is no but we often get caught up in the moment and just go for it. I have gotten in the habit of holding an item and just put it in the shopping bag as I continue shopping, at the end I look through all my things and start weeding stuff out and it helps because I usually just get everything but seeing everything together gives me a better idea of what I don’t want. Just say no, fight the urge, and think long and hard if whatever you are buying is truly necessary.
Shopping has become something of a sport to me and I am seeing the negative benefits now that my closet is overflowing and I have so many things that I have not used. It makes me wonder how much money I have wasted on nonsense that I could have been saving up. It’s definitely hard because there’s so much temptation everywhere and working hard gives you a feeling that you need to reward yourself by spending your hard-earned cash.
Saving can turn into a motivating activity and gives you important managing skills. I really hope my tips get you started in the right direction and if you have other tips please share them!