You just started university or college. Money has become a huge issue due to the increase in expenses. You decide to get a student loan or maybe a scholarship but financial aid can be very complicated and there are many other students just like you. When you have money, you lose track of when and where you spent it. So here are some helpful tips on budgeting and frugality on your way to a better lifestyle.
Before considering the idea of borrowing money, explore all possible gift assistance options such as rewards from associations or religious affiliations. This is like a small cash handout. One association might give you $100, another association might give you $50. These small quantities can add up to a large amount.
Take some time off at the beginning of the semester for the course; By the time you get used to your daily routine, you can plan your finances. Get a record of your income and expenses. Plan how to maximize your income and minimize your expenses.
Keep a record in a book of what you spend. You might think that small expenses like a candy bar here and a soft drink there wouldn’t hurt your pocket. But it’s the little things that eat into your wallet. Scribble down all expenses. After a week/month, you can then check your expenses and keep track of your expenses. Submit all receipts, bank statements, grant and loan details for future reference. Also check your monthly bank statements because errors are common.
If you have a regular monthly income (such as a paycheck from work, or a student grant), don’t be tempted to spend it all at once. Extend this over the course of one month. Save the balance in your bank account.
Take jobs during vacation or even work part time after lessons and during weekends to get extra income. The job can also help boost your career prospects upon graduation.
When possible, use public transportation or a carpool. Many colleges provide a free campus shuttle bus service. If the journey isn’t too far, why not take a brisk walk to your destination. I saved on transportation fees and got a great workout as a bonus.
Email instead of phone calls. Not only is it cheaper, but you can also reach more people in one go. If you prefer to call, get prepaid cell phone service, which helps you eliminate the monthly subscription fee. If you frequently make long distance calls, sign up with a mid-quality international calling provider rather than a high-tech one because it’s cheaper. Try online messengers that provide video conferencing or phone call services. It’s way cheaper.
Try to apply to an in-state college or university so you can stay home. Eliminate extra expenses such as housing fees.
Look for used books rather than new ones. Surely there will be graduates who would like to get rid of their old books.
Try to make cash withdrawals once a week at the bank you have an account with or at its branches. Also keep receipts for your withdrawals. Avoid carrying cards with you.
Maintain a simple lifestyle. Don’t always spend unnecessarily and get rid of expenses you don’t need. For example, a chocolate bar costs 50 cents a day, in 10 days you would have spent $5 to soothe that sweet tooth.
Quit bad habits such as drinking, smoking and gambling. First, these habits will slowly kill you and second, these habits waste money.
Be environmentally friendly. Turn off the lights when you leave the room and turn off the tap when you’re done. Use both sides of a piece of paper and recycle the ones you no longer want. Not only does recycling save the earth, but it also helps put some money back into your pockets.
When you are downloading things online or just listening to music on the computer, turn off the screen. The CPU requires only 40% of the power to run; The rest is taken up by the screen.
Invest in a coin fund but not just any coin fund; Buy those without any “pull-out” holes in them. Including cheap clay character. Insert your spare parts into them. Every cent counts.
Fixed Deposits are a great way to get paid. If you have a minimum amount of cash required by the bank, and you can save it for a short period of time, put it in a fixed deposit as the interest is higher compared to regular bank accounts. However, please check and see which bank offers higher interest. Another good option is to invest in a mutual fund. Check with your nearest bank for more information as each bank has a different policy and interest rate.
You have long-term goals such as buying a car and then creating a fund to buy the car by saving money every month. In the end, even if you no longer want to buy a car, there will be money for other things.
© 2006 Adeline Ong