How Students Can Create Savings on a Limited Budget

4 months ago admin 0

With the rising costs of college education, a degree has become inaccessible to many people. The number of students that cannot afford to pay for college education has been systematically increasing over the years. Many postpone earning their degree and look for employment to make money to eventually pay for their college tuition. Some become adult students, juggling work and school when they have saved enough to afford attending college. Others manage family responsibilities and school. And a few let their dreams of having a professional career expire because they lack time and financial resources, and cannot afford to relocate to somewhere closer to a university campus to earn a degree.

The good news is, you can now earn a college degree while continuing with whatever responsibilities you currently have, without relocating, and even end up saving some money.  You don’t have to wait for the years to pass before getting that degree. Online education programs have become an easy, convenient, affordable, and accessible means to earning a degree. Most of these online programs offer various cost-saving options, but some students attending traditional college or university need to be taught ways to save with their tight budget.

Ways to save money for students on a limited budget save

Create a budget and put it on paper

You can start with identifying your income and expenses. Jot down all your sources of money and all the things you are going to spend it on. Laundry costs or library charges are equally important as rent, food, and books. This way you will be aware of how you spend your money, and you can identify the areas you can save on. Small and seemingly trivial things like making your own sandwiches, cooking your own food, and cutting down on coffee can add up to sizeable savings.

Organize income by listing your money sources

Income comes in one lump sum, once or twice a month. Expenses are a daily, weekly, or monthly matter.

Here’s what you should do: put the money for your rent or dorm fees into a separate account, and do not touch it. This way you have a good idea of how much money you have left to spend on other expenses for the remainder of the term. Set aside the money you have to spend each week by dividing it into weekly installments. Whether you get your income in the form of an allowance from your parents, a loan, grant, subsidy, or wages, you have to identify your sources before the money arrives. Budget it by breaking it down on a week-by-week or term-by-term basis.

Maximize any income

Working a job while in college? You should keep your work hours to a minimum during the semesters. Stressing yourself out will only cause you to spend extra on medication. Keep it to less than 15 hours a week – your income is still on the safe side with these work hours. Holidays are okay for working full-time – income will be tax-free, and it is an excellent way to boost your CV and account balance.

Try to find someone to help you if you find it hard to start saving

Most university or college bank branches have onboard student advisers. They are there for the purpose of guiding students in handling monetary difficulties. Take advantage of them – you can get free advice, and their help will be valuable in helping you manage your money better. Talk to them and ask them about free student banking, any student loan products they offer, interest rates, and charges for overdrafts. Additionally, the student welfare office might be able to help you access college hardship funds.

Take advantage of student discounts

Students are entitled to some special deals such as discounted haircuts, money off vouchers, buy-one-get-one-free offers, and restaurant, bar, or movie theater discounts. The NUS Extra card can help you save a few bucks at your favorite retailers. Moreover, student discount websites have national and regional coupon offers.

Cook your own food

You can save a lot of money by cooking your own food instead of eating at the campus cafeteria. Prepare your own sandwiches, get a refillable water or juice bottle, buy a granny’s flask and fill it with home brewed coffee and take it to class. Buy cheap fruits vegetables at the market, get a decent cookbook, and buy staple foods such as rice in bulk. Eat well for $25 a week.

Sell unneeded things and turn them into cash

You have lots of options at Amazon to buy and sell used textbooks. Auction sites like eBay are also great for when you want to get rid of misplaced purchases or unwanted Christmas presents. If you don’t want to sell your stuff online, you can use bookstores and campus noticeboards to sell your unneeded clutter.

Manage your debt and keep tabs on expenses

Student overdrafts, student store cards, and student credit cards make you seem sophisticated. Be careful – a low-interest overdraft is useful, but you need to watch the interest rates and fees. There are 0% credit cards that can be useful for making payments on big-ticket items or short-term loans. Remember to budget for repayments when you don’t have a 0% card.

Read your statements, look over receipts, save loose change in a jar, watch prices at the supermarket, and withdraw only the amount you need from the ATM. Online banking can help you keep track of the money you have. Avoid unnecessary expenses; keep to the basics – no smoking or drinking, and learn to wash your clothes or take them home to Mom to spin in the washer on the weekends.