5 Saving Tips to Help You Survive College
Living away from home when you are in college is daunting and challenging. Without financial support readily available, you really need to be creative to survive. One way of having some form of financial stability is to have a part-time job. But there are other means by which you can make it on your own.
1. Full awareness of your expenses
Write down your expenses daily for a month then review how much you spend on what. Knowing where your money goes will help you cut down unnecessary expenses. It will also give you a clear idea how on much you really need in order to live "normally".
Each day for a week, keep a journal of the following things:
- Everything you eat. This includes breakfast, your daily cup of coffee, morning tea, and even the random pack of chewing gum, all the way to your midnight supper.
- Travel expenses. If you are purchasing weekly train or bus tickets, add them to your journal as well. If you are not catching public transport, take note of how many miles you drive per week. Times this number with the average price of gas in your area. Don't forget to include parking costs too.
- Membership and fees. Colleges and universities are usually littered with periodic payments, including gyms, libraries, and even to hire a locker. Internet and phone bills also fall under this category.
- Clothing and personal hygiene products. This doesn't mean you are constantly buying new clothes, but that you are keeping them and yourself clean. Record the amount you spend on detergent, soap, tissues, and beauty products.
2. Discount stores
Look for establishments that offer discounts to students. Many education intuitions offer student memberships that can give you access to many great deals. You may also frequent thrift shops or used item stores. While you're at it, hone your negotiation skills by haggling for a better deal. If you are unable to get a discount, ask if you can get anything for free.
3. Be conscious of your electricity usage
Turn off everything before you leave your apartment or lodge. This includes switching off your TV, computers, charging docks and any appliances that are on standby. They still consume electricity even if you're not using them.
If you are living alone, sharing appliances with a friend is also a good idea. Your friend can have half the fridge while you have the other. This way you will be able to share the electricity usage and use it more efficiently.
4. Swap items
Look for other students who might like to swap items instead of buying them. This way, you'll be able to de-clutter your living space while getting some other much-needed items. Use your school's announcement boards to advertise items that you want to swap. There are also many websites that offers this service. Remember that swapping does not necessary mean one-for-one. It is possible to trade one item for several items, depending on the value and the condition it is in.
5. Reduce Socializing Expenses
It's not that you need to avoid being with your peers, but you must cut back on going out often. Look for other creative ways to interact with your friends without breaking the bank. Biking around the city on a weekend is one way of doing it.
Budgeting and saving are both conscious efforts. Before you part ways with money, always think first. There are things that you plan on buying that you really don't need. Before you pull out your wallet, sleep over the idea first.