Being a student is hard, especially when many students today are drowning in student loans. How do we make the most of our lives and make every penny count? Here are five tips that might change your financial strategy and boost your savings.
- Stock up on everyday items while they are on sale. For items like toilet paper, laundry detergent, hand soap, dish detergent and items we will likely use in the future, it’s better to purchase in bulk at a sale rate than to purchase them when you run out each time. Don’t be hesitant to bulk purchase toilet paper, for example, if you foresee the price rising. For myself, on the day before gas prices rise, I typically load my vehicle to the max. It seems common-sense enough, but you’ll be surprised how much this tip has come in handy for students living independently.
- Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. This seems simple enough, but when I shop on an empty stomach I make many impulse purchases, many of which are unhealthy options packed with saturated fats and sugars. When your basic needs such as hunger are not being met, you likely end up craving unhealthy options regardless if they are within budget or not. For myself, I picked up a box of Starbucks Frappuccino and some Old Dutch chips while shopping for “groceries” on an empty stomach.
- Sell unnecessary items on Craigslist or Kijiji. AU students lead complex lives, whether it’s juggling a part-time job or supporting dependents while studying toward the completion of a degree. We can help save toward our education simply by cutting down on items we don’t need. Look around your home and find items that may no longer be useful. For example, recently having sold a dress I could no longer fit in on Kijiji, I was able to make enough to cover my internet bills.
- Track your spending weekly. Budgets are a tricky thing, we commit to them temporarily but whether we are conscious or not, the wallet starts to empty faster than predicted. So how exactly do we manage our spending? We can track them rather than make unrealistic budgets. On a biweekly basis, I review my spending and categorize it based on needs and wants. How many times have I caved into something that was unnecessary for my basic needs? Being aware of our spending is a first step to cutting down expenses.
- Buy generic brands and not brand names. It sounds obvious, but I have talked to many classmates who spend unnecessarily on brand name toilet paper rather than the noname brand. This is not only true for household products, but for medications, groceries and toiletries, cut down by not purchasing the best brand available.