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College students aren’t rich and when you’re living on campus for the first time or even if it’s your third year, you’ve probably have found out that it’s pretty hard to buy the things you need everyday on an appropriate budget. While most students don’t stick with a budget and just spend freely, it’s important to think down the road because you won’t want to get your degree and find yourself with more than just student loan debt.
Anyone in this world can live on a cheap budget. As long as you don’t care what you wear, drive, or eat, you can live on a few bucks a day after you pay your bills. Most people generally want to keep up with the Jones and buy everything so that society perceives that they are “wealthy”.
Start off with a list – The first thing you want to do when planning your budget is by writing down everything you spend your money on month after month. For example, this is what my list might look like as a college student –
- Cellphone bill – $50
- Fast food – $100 ($25/week)
- Gas – $75
- Car Payment – $200
- Books – $150 ($400ish per semester)
Now depending on who you are is going to depend on where your money is going. If you’re staying on campus, your room and board is probably included in your tuition. If you’re staying off campus, you’re probably paying rent. Sometimes its cheaper to stay on campus and sometimes it’s not. It all depends on your campus and area.
Cut the stupid spending – If you look at my example budget, we can already knock off the fast food spending or at least cut it by 75%. A cell phone can be turned into a prepaid plan, so you’re only using the minutes you need. As for gas, try and carpool or watch your driving habits. The same goes with your car payment, see if you can buy used and get rid of that payment completely. Don’t drive a new car while you’re in college, this is dumb!
Let’s be cheap- Using the example I have above, let’s look at how we can be cheaper with a lot of those expenses. When you’re looking college textbooks, check out websites online such as Amazon.com or Ebay. Just by doing this, you can cut your textbook expenses in half! Instead of eating out, start buying fresh at the grocery store. It’s not only going to be healthier but you’ll get more food for your dollar. Be creative. It’s not hard to save when you try. Remember, coupons are also your friend.
Stop going out! - Instead of eating out and shopping every night, try and find things you can do with your friends. By either playing video games or reading a book or watching TV. You can save a lot just by staying at home with your friends chatting over a TV show. A frozen pizza only costs you $6 compared to Pizza Hut, where you’re going to pay close to $20. This is how you save money as a college student.
Saving money as a student isn’t hard. Take action and condition yourself to buy things on sale and try to make yourself feel guilty when you make that purchase you don’t need. Just think about it. When you graduate from college, you can get that high paying job and from there, you can get all the toys you want. For now, study and save your money for the future.