If there’s one phase in my life that made me question my money-saving skills, it’s got to be college. Good education doesn’t come for free nor it is in anyway cheap. I had to use my wits in order to survive in that place and pay my bills at the same time! You might be on this very boat right now and so, I have decided to share four easy to apply pointers on how to save those precious dollars when you’re still studying.
The following are four tips that I personally applied when I was still college in order to financially survive. Use them well and you might be able to get that diploma of yours without starving yourself to death or sinking your way into loan-oblivion.
College is the perfect place to test your independence! Get a taste of whats it likes to be in the work force by looking for a job or two that you could squeeze in AFTER your class (trust me on this one because some employers love abusing their student employees to the point that the latter comes in class late). Just remember not to let work interfere with your studies. Otherwise it’s going to be counterproductive to your overall goal.
Keep in mind to find an employment that can utilize your talents as a student. For example, some people are looking for subject tutors while others are in need of best essay writing services. Do this and you get to earn some much needed cash while practicing what they teach you in school. It’s basically hitting two birds with one stone when you think about it.
Use Your Money Only on Things That Matter
One of my biggest gripes with college is that it revels on social statuses and the stuff that symbolizes one’s position in the hierarchy of “life”. In turn, students try to keep up with the trends, buy branded clothes and support overpriced coffee just to fit in. Here’s the thing and you better memorize it to the best of your abilities, following the footsteps of those hypocrites will only do you more harm than good! Don’t cave in! Instead, use your money where it truly counts.
Invest on things that really matter. For starters, books never go out of style and you can even trade them with other bookworms. Also, good food doesn’t necessarily come with a heavy price tag. Use your street smarts and find shops that offer discounts on daily necessities.
Booze, music and the company of beautiful people can really devoid you of self-reason and that’s the moment when you “magically” lose cash. It’s not bad to party every now and then but always remain yourself that everything must come in moderation. Don’t let your emotions get the best of your. Use your common sense and decline invitations, especially if you’re lacking in the financial department.
There’s nothing wrong with saying no to events that will get you into trouble. Weigh things first and think about the consequences of your decisions. Are you willing to endure a month of suffering just to enjoy a night of partying?
Know Your Way Around Town
Cab fares can really put a hole in your pocket. If you can, seek alternative modes of transportation. Subway ridess will surely save you a lot of dollars. Just keep in mind that your patience will be tested when rush hour kicks in and so, you’d best plan your day ahead.
Furthermore, try to walk whenever you can. Aside from being a great way to save what little money you have, it can also serve as your everyday exercise.
Saving money while you’re in college is easier said than done. However, it is very doable with these tips and the right amount of determination and patience. Do you also have some money-saving tips of your own regarding this topic? Feel free to share them on the comment section below.
You know times are tough when many of us can’t find enough money in our budgets to buy a freaking sandwich during our work lunch hour when it gets close to payday. I definitely know what it’s like to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a few days before collecting my paycheck. It happened regularly in my mid-twenties after I left home and struck out on my own.
I’ve never been one to consciously save a lot of money throughout the year; I’m definitely one of those who has lived and played hard, and this has included sparing no expense at times. Don’t get me wrong; I still have my 401k going as well as a few other investments including a modest one in real estate. However, I always feel as if there is never enough money at the end of the year for Christmas and I constantly struggle every year to save a measly $1000 a year to help pay for part of a summer vacation for the entire family. I end up paying a couple of bills a little late just so we can all get away every summer for at least a week. Although it works, it’s obviously not the best scenario for me. When we get back from vacation, it takes us about two months to recover and we have to sacrifice a little too much.
Making Enough Money is Not An Option For Many
I had been procrastinating for years when it came to opening up a holiday or vacation fund because , once again; it didn’t seem as if my wife and I were making enough money to cover our family expenses.
This past year was different. I decided to try an experiment and it worked! I want to show you how to save $1000 a year easily like I did, just in time for the holidays:
1. Get yourself a piggy bank. I know this sounds quite silly for an adult but when times are hard, why not get back to the basics? Stick with me, it gets better!
2. Pay with cash and pocket the change. Instead of plunking downyour credit or debit card, make a conscious effort to give yourself a weekly budget and pull out the cash on payday. As an example, I used to burn at least $100 dollars every week while at work and I would eat breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts and I would have lunch at places such as Applebees and Fuddrucker’s. These days, I can still get my egg white sandwich and delicious coffee at DD and even though I have cut down on lunch expenses considerably, I can still go wherever I want, most of the time without having to worry.
Now, I limit myself to 60 bucks a week, so I pull out $120 dollars bi-weekly for my personal needs during the work week. When I buy a pack of gum, a cup of coffee, a lunch, or whatever else I need, I collect the change. When I get home, my piggy bank is waiting for me! It’s not unusual for me to place at least $1.75 a day in change into my piggy bank. Assuming you can simply place $1.75 in change into your own piggy bank for only 290 days out of the year (this is doable), you will save $507.50! If you have a significant other in the household, you can probably encourage that person to do the same thing and you may end up with a figure closer to $700 a year.
O.K., so now we are at $507.50 and we need to come up with another $492.50. Remember how I told you to consider budgeting how much money you allow yourself to spend throughout the work week? Now, all you have to do is shave off 20 bucks a pay period and place that money in your piggy bank. This should be extremely easy to do for most people. So, if you get paid bi-weekly, 20 X 26 weeks = $520! Alright, we went over! The total you can save using this easy plan is $1027,50.
To make this work for you, be flexible. If you can only save an average of .80 cents 290 days out of the year, increase the amount you put away every two weeks from $20 to $30 dollars. You’ll get just about the same figure,
Keep in mind if you have a spouse or significant other, you can come very close to doubling this figure without much effort at all. The key is to just do it!
Attending college is usually the students’ first experience of watching their cash flow as well as gaining their independence in life. It is so easy for a first year college student to get so deep in debt they don’t know which way to turn within a few short months.
By the time adolescents are in their late teens, they want nothing more than to be a grown-up and to be treated like one. This is understandable, but it’s important for them to proceed cautiously and to know the types of pitfalls they can plunge into if they are not careful.
Money for college students always seems to be on the short end and one of the first big temptations college students will face is the dreaded credit card offer. Most students see this as a chance to put an extra few thousands of dollars in their pockets so they can live the good life for a while; that is, until the money runs out and reality sets!
For parents, it’s extremely important to let your children know there will be many credit card offers. The trick is to find the ones with the lowest rates and never take out more than two credit cards, period!
The best way to approach credit cards for college students is for them to pretend they don’t even have them. They should be used only for emergencies and for those special occasions when they simply have no choice but to use them.
There’s no doubt that as a college student it will be difficult to refrain from overspending. After all, these are supposed to be the greatest times of your life, aren’t they? You will see plenty of people around you blowing money left and right, having the greatest time of their lives, but think about this; in the end, most of those people will be drowning in debt while you are at the top of the hill shouting ‘victory.’
It’s very difficult to eat healthy foods and to keep your expenses down while you’re attending College. Some students find they have no choice but to find a part-time job. This puts a lot of strain on your health and even though you’re young and your body can probably withstand it, there is a risk of having it affect your academics negatively. Regardless, if you can find a way to get a mini fridge in your dorm, that would be a great opportunity for you to save big
on food. Try your best not to make it a habit of eating out and only do so on special rare occasions.
Taking Out or Avoiding College Loans
On one hand, you probably want the best education possible and spare no expense. On the other hand, there are plenty of successful people who have taken their core classes at a local community college and finished up their imported classes at a major college. Guess what? These people graduated with that major college degree to their name. They paid much less because they made use of their local resources.
College students who take out loans routinely end up paying off their loans well into their 40s. Imagine paying $700-$800 a month and to risk not being able to buy your own home because you’ve defaulted on your college loan payments and/or you’ve declared bankruptcy. This happens to former college students all the time.
The start of your college education brings forth many financial challenges. Only you can decide what’s best for yourself but it’s important to educate yourself with all the knowledge possible so that there are no big surprises down the road.
How many of us don’t welcome the new year and wonder what happened to our finances during the previous one? Where did the money go? You take a look at your savings account and you wonder how it can be so depleted!
With the current economic state and many workers falling victim to stagnant wages, it’s easy to see how many of us can be living paycheck to paycheck without having anything at all in our savings account. It’s time to change that, right now!
What are your ideas and plans for the new year when it comes to good ways to save money? Are you going to fall into your old habits or are you going to look for new ways to get out of that hole?
Here are a few tips to get you going in the right direction:
1. Start with your credit cards. If you have more than $3000 in credit card debt, you’re probably paying far too much interest every single month and this is draining your account. Start by setting aside money, however small the amount, to start paying off one credit card at a time. If you have to get a part time job or work overtime hours to do so, then so be it. You need to get the ball rolling or you’re never going to get out of this mess!
To build a sense of accomplishment and to get some momentum going in your favor,
start paying off the credit card that has the smallest balance. I know this seems
contrary to everything else you have heard, but it works. The moment you see one
credit card with a zero balance, it’s going to inspire and motivate you to continue paying off your others.
2. Save money on electricity. For most people, their electricity bill is way too high. This is a result of people not turning the lights off when they leave the room, leaving low circuit appliances continuously plugged in, and turning down the thermostat far too low.
If you don’t have an electronic thermostat with a timer on it, you’re missing out on plenty of savings. With this system, for example, you can set the thermostat to 76°once everybody leaves the house, and return it back to 72 automatically once the first person returns home. Your home will still be nice and comfortable and by
allowing your air conditioner to work less, your electricity bill will show substantial savings over the course of one month.
During the winter months, it’s a no-brainer to simply open up the windows and let the fresh air in. Your wallet or pocketbook will love you for it.
3. Plan your meals. Instead of visiting the grocery store and getting this or that and just continuously filling up your shopping cart with items you will probably not even eat, make a plan and stick with it. Shopping lists are extremely underrated and under-utilized but if you want to save tons of money on groceries, a good list can become your best friend. While we’re at it, cut back on eating out and you will almost immediately see some relief in your bank account. This is one of the most creative ways to save money because you can also add using your weekly flyer and manufacturer coupons into the mix.
4. Optimize your cell phone plan for savings. Take a look at your cell phone account and find out if there are any ways you can cut back on your expenses. For example, if you have a certain plan with “X” amount of allowed data and you can switch to a different plan with less data capacity with the same company for $30 less a month, you need to consider it. Most people can save big money with their cell phone plans if they take the time to research the plans that are available. By saving $30 a month, you will save $360 a year. Hint – I know many people who have switched from Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T to MetroPCS and they are saving more than $100 a month.
Most people I know are continually trying to find more and more ways to save money in the face of this global economic mess we are going through. I know a few people who work for the local government who haven’t had a raise within the last five years. You can imagine with expenses skyrocketing the way quality-of-life has taken a turn for the worst for many.
You will find that it is possible to cut back on certain expenses if you keep a record of what you spend your money on throughout one month. Without a doubt, some fixed expenses cannot be cut back at all but you will probably be able to find a few ways to trim the fat.
How to Save Money on Electric Bills
Make it a household habit and remind yourself and other family members, if necessary, to turn off the lights whenever they exit a room. This one is so easy yet we take it for granted that we’re not wasting that much electricity. The truth is, everything adds up after a while.
You should also unplug some of the appliances which are raining low levels of current continuously.
If you’re used to sleeping with the thermostat set on 65, why not turn it up a few notches and see if you can accustom yourself to sleeping comfortably in temperature that is 3° higher at night? Also, why not consider buying an electric thermostat if you don’t have one already, so that you can time the way your thermostat operates. If all of the houses’ occupants leave at 8 o’clock in the morning and your AC is still running at 70° when it can easily be set to 76 or 77, then you are wasting tons of electricity throughout the month.
How to Save Money on Grocery Bills
Make sure you take advantage of your supermarket’s discount cards; most grocery stores offer these. When you are buying non-perishable items, don’t be afraid to stock up on those items if they are on sale. Join coupon clubs for free and check out some websites that offer purchases of discounted coupons which can help you save anywhere between 25 to 75% off the regular price of an item.
You can also use your supermarket’s weekly ads to find buy one get one free items and buy those products in bulk.
Batteries are a necessity for the vast majority of households and if you’re not careful, they can be another in a long list of things that can drain your finances. You can easily save money using recharcheable batteries and you don’t have to break the bank to get them.
The need for batteries usually begins at the beginning of the year after the holidays when kids are more likely to play with their new battery powered toys and continues throughout the year at inopportune moments when you need a battery to power some type of gadget.
Throughout the year, you can save money using recharcheable batteries for your cameras, your remotes, radios, and a few other items. The average family spends between $100-$250 a year on them, depending on how often they use batteries and how many different types of products they have that require them. This may not seem like a huge amount of money, but when combined with other ways to save on household expenses, they fit perfectly into the picture of trying to cut back on certain expenses to save a little more money throughout the year.
It’s interesting to note that many families actually spend over $200 a year due to the incessant manner in which their children play video games such as the Wii by Nintendo. My 7 year-old used to go through a 12-pack of Duracell AA batteries a month until I turned to rechargeable batteries earlier this year.
How is it possible to save money using recharcheable batteries and make a huge difference in battery expenses? Do we have to continue buying those excellent but not very long-lasting Duracell batteries forever?
Many people think alkaline batteries are the way to go and take it for granted that there is no other alternative. This is a misconception probably due to the fact that rechargeable batteries were not really all that efficient just a few years ago and they would lose their charge rather quickly.
These days, even Duracell offers a rechargeable battery that outperforms their regular batteries by wide margin. One of the best types of rechargeables are the Sanyo Eneloop batteries which hold their charge for many months straight out-of-the-box.
How much can you really save throughout the year by using rechargeable batteries?
Sanyo Eneloop Batteries to the Rescue
You can get the Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable AA 4-pack batteries for about $10 on Amazon.com. You can compare this to a Duracell AA 12-pack on sale at Walgreens for approximately $10. If your children play video games you can best believe the regular Duracell alkaline 12 pack will run out quickly within a month and you’ll have to buy new batteries whereas if you have rechargeables you have already spent $10 and they last you 5 to 10 years. So, depending on your activity at home with products that require batteries, I would say you would save money using recharcheable batteries in the neighborhood of $80 – $250 a year by switching to rechargeable batteries. This is definitely worth the investment.