Life as a student has a lot of perks like schedule flexibility and free time. However, having lots of disposable income is usually not a part of student life. So this is the ideal time for learning how to manage your money. You’ve probably already gotten the advice to start a budget, so here are a few suggestions for areas of a typical student’s budget that could stand a little cutting.
Food and Drink
When it comes to saving money as a student, there are two big ways you can cut spending. Learn to cook a few simple meals, and cut back on the nights out. Cooking at home is infinitely cheaper than paying for your school’s exorbitant meal plan or eating take-out. Shop the outsides of your grocery store for fresh fruits, veggies and meats. Avoid the stuff that comes in boxes. Since you’re cooking in your dorm or your apartment, invite your friends over to eat with you instead of going out. Have them bring the beer. Problem solved.
It is easy to spend a lot of money on entertainment without realizing it, especially if you live in an urban area. Conversely, in cities, there are also usually an abundance of free events to keep you busy if you know where to look. Start looking on campus where there are frequently free movie nights and other events put on for students. Expanding your social life off campus gives you a taste of the city you live in, and there are often cheap and free events out there in the community. Check the local entertainment weekly papers for events listings.
Your fixed expenses are your monthly bills like your cell phone bill, your car insurance premium, and things of that nature. To cut expenses and save money, try shopping around for new service providers. It is easy to get a few different car insurance quotes online through insurance company websites, and adjusting your cell phone bill with your current provider or switching to a new cell phone service altogether can save you hundreds of dollars a year. It’s well worth the trouble to spend an hour between classes doing some research.
Increase Your Income
The other way to save some money is to increase your income. Taking a part-time job gives you valuable work experience, builds your resume, and forces you to learn to manage your time more efficiently. Look on campus for work-study jobs or in the local community for something that interests you. If you are an upperclassman, think about tutoring for classes you’ve already taken. You can tutor on campus or online, and you can earn significant money doing so. Even an extra hundred dollars per month makes a difference when you are a student.
Living on a shoestring budget is part of being a student, but you can make yourself a little more comfortable by getting your budget under control. Decrease your fixed expenses by finding new service providers or adjusting your service contract. Save money on food and entertainment by cooking at home and looking for cheap or free entertainment. Lastly, up your income with a part-time job – just a few hours of tutoring per week can net you an extra hundred dollars per month. If living on the cheap starts to get you down, just remember, being a student doesn’t last forever, so enjoy the good parts while you can.
This awesome post on living the college life without going broke is contributed by an outside writer.