Controlling your expenses in your student years is highly important if you have to fend for yourself. If your parents are supporting your higher education then there is constant pressure to make do with whatever monthly financial help they send you. If you have taken a student loan you not only have to meet the daily expenses you also need to worry about eventually paying the loan. Whatever sort of lifestyle you are living right now, controlling your expenses can be an overwhelming task without knowing exactly where you are spending your money and where you shouldn’t be spending it. Listed below are a few things you can do.
Create a list of your expenses
You can control your expenses only if you are familiar with them. In most of the cases we simply spend money without tracking its outflow. Everybody has a computer or laptop these days – even if you don’t have one, at least you must have a tablet or smartphone where you can quickly enter information for record-keeping. Keep track of your expenses in such a manner that by the end of the month you can easily find out where you’re spending most of your money and where you can tone things down.
Open a savings account
Stashing money somewhere doesn’t normally work because you end up spending it at the slightest pretext just because it is within reach. On the other hand, if you have a savings account in a bank, all that effort to get money from the bank (it’s a different thing if you have an ATM card, though) can act as a deterrent. Also, it is fun to see your money growing when you occasionally check your bank account statement. Remember that it is not about how much money you can save in a lump sum, it’s about how regular you are. Even if you are saving $ 100 every month, in a couple of years you can save $ 2400. Right now it may not seem like too much amount, but it is definitely better than having no money.
Buy used textbooks or by their digital versions
Used textbooks, if they are not damaged much they can be a good option compared to new books. When you look around, you will find many senior students looking for people to buy their books either online or even on your campus. This can save you a big chunk of money. You can also get your textbooks issued from the library. If you further want to control your expenses, you can also go for the digital versions of your textbooks. Kindle books can be easily read on your laptop, iPad or generic Android tablet. You can download thousands of free books from Project Gutenberg.
Cook your food instead of eating out
Regular eating out can be quite expensive and it also wastes lots of time. Cooking your food isn’t as time-consuming as it may seem initially and you can easily coordinate the activity with studying or exercising, or even watching TV. Group-cooking is even cheaper. 3-4 friends can get together and cook their meals together to reduce costs. When you cook your own food you can also recycle and it is up to you where you want to buy your food from. There are many cheaper options that can provide you nutritional foods once you start looking around. Eat healthy food as later on it will save you lots of medical expenses.
Concentrate on needs rather than on wants when buying
In order to control your expenses by stuff that you need rather than stuff that you want. Take for instance the latest gadget (Apple has just released iPhone 5) you want to purchase. If you already have a phone, why do you want to upgrade? What other things that you will be able to do with your new phone that you cannot do with your existing phone? The same goes with everything.
Use public transport or carpool
There is no need to burn fuel everyday just so that you can control the steering. In most of the countries these days the public transportation system is quite decent. Even if it is not, start a carpool group. For smaller excursions use a bicycle – it will not just save you fuel costs it will also improve your health.
Use student discounts
There are many stores and companies that provide student discounts – you just need to constantly look out for them. For instance, Microsoft products like MS Word come with student versions that are much cheaper compared to their commercial counterparts; the same goes with the Windows operating system. Similarly there are many shops and stores that provide student discounts.
In order to control your expenses you will need to make a conscious effort. You may feel difficulty in the beginning but once it becomes a part of your system, saving money and spending less on things will become a natural part of your life and it will also help you later on.