No one said university was cheap – and if they did, they were definitely making a bad joke. Saving money is one of the biggest challenges in life, not just at university.
The best financial tip is simply to budget your cash. At the beginning of each school year, make a plan decide how much you can spend. Include things like any income from jobs or student loans. Break it down by month and then by week. If you’re just begining to budget, try tracking what you spend now.
If your budget is $50 a week, try to save at least $10 because you’ll end up saving $40 at the end of the month. At the end of eight months, that’s $320 saved.
Here are a few other tips for how to save some cash while cashing in on all the fun things you’ll get up to this year.
1. Invest in a travel mug: Hey coffee and tea drinkers! Save yourself some cash and make your coffee at home. If you get one tall coffee at Starbucks every day, that’s $2 five days a week and your $10 that could have been saved is out the window!
2. Cut the snacks out: The same goes for food on campus — yeah it may be convenient to get an extra ten minutes of sleep in the morning, but throw a sandwich, granola bar and an apple in your bag and you’ll be saving heaps in no time. Nearly everything on campus is over-priced. Nothing is worse than finding out you’re broke because you spent all your cash on chips from Shoppers.
3. Meal prep: If you’re on campus more than you’re not (I’m looking at you, Ubyssey editors — you can’t rely on Chef’s Corner forever) meal preparation can save your wallet. Once a week, plan out your meals. Make a huge batch of lasagna and freeze each piece separately. Then you can just grab your lunch on your way out the door.
4. Download a budget app: Mint is our go-to for tracking where your money is going, but others include BillGuard, You Need a Budget, Adaptu and GoodBudget. Some of these you can link your cards to the app so you don’t have to put in every card purchase while others record only thepurchases you want to. Find one that suits you and go from there.
5. Cut back on the booze: Alcohol is expensive. Clubs and bars are even worse. If you’re seriously low on cash, your weekly tequila should be the first thing to go. If you can’t bear the thought of cutting down, make sure you’re buying your own alcohol and making your own drinks. Going out will cost you way more.
6. Dump the new textbooks: Check to see if you even need the textbooks before you buy, and even then see if you can get your textbooks cheaper (or free) in these four places before you buy new: the library (the stacks aren’t just for making out in), the internet, Facebook buy/sell groups and Discount Textbooks in the University Village.