For most college (university) students, it is a truth universally acknowledged, that the art of stretching one’s monetary allowance to its utmost limit must of necessity be acquired, mostly by hook (and not discounting by crook either). Unless by some gift of the gods, a student happens to fall within the top 1%, chances are that one is just managing (and trying to get by), the limited allowance afforded them by their sponsors.
Consequently, this list of 7 tricks, compiled by the editors at getrichslowly.org is quite handy for not only students but for anyone aiming for financial independence. They are quite easy to follow and I dare say that most of us must have tried at least one of the tricks at one point. Ready?
1. Avoid cafeterias at all costs
I know that sometimes a slice of pizza is almost too good to resist. But, when I checked my expenses after a week in college, I realised I was losing $20-$30 a week simply by eating in at college. A great way to save a few bucks here or there is to prepack lunch or take a walk to a nice eatery nearby.
Takeaway meals both healthy and greasy are often far cheaper and offer food that in most cases is more enjoyable than the usual college offerings.
2. Hunt down discount
It is well known that if you’re on a budget as a college student, you need to take advantage of every student discount and coupon at your disposal. But I didn’t just stop at student discounts.
Take a look in the newspaper, both local and otherwise, and hunt out as many coupons and discounts you can find. You’ll be amazed at the deals you can snag, and how much money you’ll save from this venture.
3. Create a budget plan
I’m not talking about making an extreme budget plan that only allows you to spend $5 on Wednesdays. I’m talking about a budget plan that leaves you room to spend a little but still allows you to save a few bucks here or there. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s up to you to decide how much you want to put away in savings accounts, and how much you want to spend.
My typical save to spend ratio is $200 put away every fortnight, and $100 of what I like to call “play money.” Often than not, I don’t spend my play money so that adds up, too.
4. Manage your time
It does sound like a weird tip, telling someone they need to manage their time in order to save money. But, it really does work. The more I organised myself and allotted time for completing tedious tasks and essays – even giving myself a moment or two to brush up on some of my “Game of Thrones” knowledge – the more time I had to apply for freelance jobs and casual work.
5. Look for work on the side
With good time management and a strict study schedule, any student can find a few hours in their week to spend job hunting or freelancing. There are so many neat ways you can make money in college, and you don’t even have to work a part-time job if you don’t want to.
All you need is a bit of tenacity, and to do your research. The more you try, the more successful you’ll be. For instance, I’m a freelance writer so I apply to job boards every chance I get. Writing a blog post or an article here or there doesn’t hinder grades, nor does it take much time out of my day. If I can get steady work doing odd writing jobs, you can do the same with your own personal set of skills, be that writing or otherwise.
6. Try selling old stuff or starting up a business
There are so many success stories out there talking about college students who have made an absolute killing with start-up businesses and selling old junk. Sure, that’s a goal most of us are too afraid to reach for, but it’s always worth a shot. As the old adage goes, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
I did fairly well for myself selling old Xbox games when I was strapped for cash one month — I ended up making a hundred dollars simply registering items on eBay and selling locally.
7. Stay positive
I know all too well that gut-wrenching feeling nearly every college student faces. There’s no money for food, and all your money has been used to pay rent or board. When everything starts to get super tough and overwhelm you, remember to chill out and breathe. There’s always a way to get out of the hole you’re stuck in. And there will always be a guardian angel round the corner, waiting to lend you a hand.
Never be afraid to ask for help, and never be afraid to tackle mighty monetary goals.
Good luck everyone in their financial endeavours!