Students are busy this week moving into dorm rooms and apartments all over the country. As the Fall semester begins students are distracted with the expectations of the first few weeks, putting money and finances far from the forefront of their minds. Here are some tips to help students save money and avoid piling on any unnecessary debts:
1. Make a budget — anyone ever dealing with tight finances should make budgeting a priority. Don’t just track your spending, find out where it needs to go and where it could be going that should be reduced. Assign priority to your expenses starting with rent and utilities, then food and gas if needed, adding things like movies and clothes to the end of the list.
2. Give yourself an allowance — using debit and credit cards can be a fast path to overspending. Instead, take out your budgeted allowance in cash and live by the ‘once it’s gone, it’s gone’ rule. If you have spent your cash for the week don’t take out more, but commit to waiting until your next allowance before spending any more money.
3. Clean out the fridge — while it can be tempting to grab a quick bite to eat on your way home from class, living by the ‘eat what’s in the fridge/pantry’ rule can keep you within budget. Don’t eat out or buy more groceries until you have exhausted what’s already in stock.
4. Entertain locally — the weekends are a time for relaxing and unwinding from the busy school week, but it doesn’t have to cost you. There are tons of free entertainment to be had by checking with the university bulletin board and local visitors bureau. Rather than paying for expensive or out-of-town concert tickets, chip in with friends to download a movie at home.