7 Ways to Be More Frugal on a Student Budget
Over four years, college tuition, room and board, and textbooks can really add up. Since your time in college can be very expensive, it is important to start practicing good habits when it comes to spending money. Not only will these help you control spending now, but you will become savvier when it comes to saving in the future. Follow these tips to be more frugal on a student budget
1. Stick to your budget.
The first step to becoming more frugal in college is to develop a budget. Determine your monthly income, whether that be from your job or allowance from your parents. Then subtract your monthly expenses, including food, rent, and daily costs. From the remainder, save as much as you can, always leaving yourself a cushion in case you have extra expenses one month. The money left over is for spending. Once you’ve created your budget, stick to it!
2. Eat at home.
You’ve probably heard this one before, but dining out in restaurants or even buying fast food can add up quickly. Limit the number of times you dine out each week. This will give you something to look forward to and a chance to spend time with your friends. Instead, be creative when you go grocery shopping. You can try new foods and experiment with cooking by eating at home.
3. Buy a coffee pot.
Although it’s nice to sit in a coffee shop and enjoy your favorite drink, these beverages are often expensive and not worth their value. Invest in a coffee pot so that you can still get your caffeine fix without the cost. Many shops even sell their coffee packaged in the supermarket. This will last you for a longer time and allow you to get the same coffee you like without spending so much.
4. Save on the big things.
When it comes to major purchases, like electronics or textbooks, take the time to do your research and find the best deals possible. Use comparison shopping engines that will allow you to compare prices on the products you want. When it comes to textbooks, think about alternative options. Look into ways to buy online, find used books, or even rent textbooks. Digital textbooks are another option to consider, which are usually cheaper than buying the hardcover version of a book.
5. Use cash.
That is not to say that you should spend more, but that you should use cash instead of paying with a debit or credit card. This trick will help you feel more emotionally attached to your money. For every purchase you make, you will be able to see the actual transaction and feel your wallet getting thinner. You will become more aware of your spending and have more of an impulse to control how much you spend.
6. Find free entertainment.
One way to save money at school is to take advantage of free entertainment. College campuses often have active theatre scenes and offer free movies, concerts, and plays. You will also have access to discounts on entertainment using your student ID card. Many museums, movie theatres, and venues offer lower prices to students, so benefit from discount tickets while you can.
7. Make substitutions.
Part of making smart choices when it comes to spending is knowing when to make substitutions. For every purchase you make, think it through and decide if it’s something you really want. If you can easily think of something you’d rather buy, then this is probably not an item you truly want or need.
These tips will help you to better manage your money, not only as a college student, but in the years to come!