Living the post-secondary student life can get really expensive, really fast. Whether you’re living at home or away from home (but particularly if you’re living away from home), expenses start piling on quickly and bills can catch up with you before you know it. Learning how to budget well is something many students learn through trial and error throughout their academic career, while others have a harder time with it. But whether you’re the former or the latter, here are some reminders to help you live the student lifestyle without breaking the bank.
Cook your own food more often
One of the easiest ways to blow your money without even noticing, is spending it all on eating out. Though a $10 takeout meal may not seem like much at the time of purchase, it begins to add up very quickly. So instead, opt to spend more money on grocery shopping. It’s a good idea to write up a list before you hit the store, so you know exactly what you need and don’t end up with countless impulse buys. Also, be sure to base your list on meals you have planned to prepare for that week. If you buy your groceries based on your meal plan, you can be sure that none of it will go to waste. Another pro tip, buy in bulk whenever you can, and freeze! This way you spend less, and always have something on hand that you can whip up.
Plan night outs that are more budget friendly
I don’t believe you should say goodbye to entertainment, but there are many ways you can plan your nights out to be both enjoyable and affordable. Firstly, be sure to check out whether your favourite hangout spots have specials. Many places have special deals on certain days of the week, so always check to see what the ideal time to plan your outing is. Your student card is also a great way to get discounts at tons of entertainment spots, so make sure you know where you can use yours. Of course, there’s tons of cost-effective entertainment options you can opt for as well. Having a night in with friends or hitting up a free event on campus can always be a good time.
Minimize spending on academic resources
Schooling is expensive, so make sure you’re not spending a penny more than you must. When it comes to textbooks and other resources you need for classes, make sure you’re exploring all your options. Always be sure to check and see whether you can purchase used versions of the books you need, as they’ll be significantly less expensive. A great place to look for used books is either in a used textbook Facebook group for your school, or a used book store that you may have on campus. If you can’t find a used copy of your book, it’s also a good idea to split the cost with some friends. You won’t need the book 24/7, so sharing with a friend is a great way to make sure you have all the resources you need, while still saving money.
Track your expenses
Keeping track of your spending is a habit that everyone should get into. Being able to see exactly how much you’re spending, and what you’re spending it on, makes you much more conscious of your purchases. It helps you to make better financial decisions, and be sure that you aren’t spending over your budget. There are lots of great apps available today that can help you do this with ease, including Mint, Level Money, and GoodBudget.
These are just some ways to save money as a student. You and your friends may have even more.