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Money Matters: How To Spend Prudently As A Student

Most of us have made New Year resolutions and top on the list is saving money for various reasons. Find a few tips on how to save that extra coin as you walk your way to financial freedom.

Manage what you have

Get a free Transactional and savings account. I have come to realize that the bank charges for ATM withdrawals which becomes expensive once you do your monthly accounts. As a student, you need to shop for banks catering to your needs, one that not only has low withdrawal charges, but earns you the interest on a minimum balance, one you can access online banking, pay bills and manage your account without attached fees.

Serious about saving money, huh?

For one month save every receipt of everything you purchase, from a pack of gum, to a tube of toothpaste. Log each expense in a notebook. When the month is up, tally up what you’ve spent and take a good look at just where most of it went, food? Entertainment? Transport? Movies? Games? This sure technique will expose the evils of your spending ways. I have tried doing this severally, but always end up losing track, but it’s never too late to start again 😉

Save that spare change

Most of us have some coins jangling in our pockets or spilling around in the bottom of our backpacks or purse. These coins can be put/saved in a big jar or somewhere out of the way. Personally, I have a small container where I stash all the spare change. I use the savings to pay for small emergencies in the house that I had not planned for and sometimes I get to save enough to buy that one item I could not afford and needed.

Avoid buying name brand items

Purchase generic items whenever possible. They are exactly the same item, at a highly reduced price. For clothes, you can opt for good quality ones from second hand stores and still look stylish. Also, know that there’s a difference between being cheap and having spending savvy. There’s nothing wrong with living within your means, rather than beyond.

Food

Food is one of the top priorities in any student’s life. Eating fast, eating healthy, it can all cost money if you don’t take time to consider the nitty-gritty of eating to save money.

If you live on campus and pay for a partial or whole meal plan, then use it. If you can cook in the hostels, then do. Stop buying from fast food restaurant where you sometimes feel the urge to tip the waitress and end up spending more. Speaking of tips, don’t tip just because someone poured you a cup of coffee. Keep your own change. Everyone wants a tip; “Poor university students work here…..” You’re poor, too. They have a job. Drop the change in that jar we mentioned.

Housing

Sometimes an off-campus bed-sitter is a choice and in other instances it just is a necessity. Living in your own place brings its own array of money matters. You can ask your parent’s for old stuff they don’t need, this way you get to spend less on items and furniture. You can also get a hostel which is close to campus, where you don’t have to budget for transport or if you must, use public transportation which is affordable.

Entrepreneurial activities

  • Sell your expertise in a subject as a tutor, computer skills or music lessons.
  • Get a job in the food service industry. Chances are high that you can eat for free!
  • Solicit master’s students for help with their dissertation research, proofreading, editing or document typing and formatting.

Remember that no matter where you are on your financial journey, you need to know that it’s possible for anyone to turn their financial life around. Sometimes all it takes is that first step in the right direction to get things moving in your favor. But, as with most things, sometimes that very first step is the hardest part.

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