Being a college student is expensive, no matter where and what you are studying, and believe it or not, getting a part time job is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, monetary crisis always leave a bad taste in your mouth, especially if you’ve been eyeing something for so long only to find an empty wallet gaping at you like a black hole. So here are nine hacks you can follow for a painless undergrad.
- Start from the Basics- Make a Budget
The very basic step involves enlisting your permanent expenditures. It includes your rent, electricity, water, wifi, traveling expenses, groceries, books, stationery, laundry, etc. If you are not much of a paper-pencil person, apps like Mint and Left to Spend can come to your rescue. Know that while making any sorts of payments, it is better if you explore your options. Digital money apps like Paytm are the rage. They have options of 10% cash-back and the like on certain items. Also, save water and electricity as much as you can. Know when to turn off the geyser, lights and remove appliances from charging.
- Know Your Necessary Expenses And Luxuries
Although it is good to cut down expenses as much as you can, there are some expenses you’d rather do than to have a headache every other day. These could include having a maid to wash and clean, options of having a laundry service or wifi spot. Think about your consumption patterns while making such decisions. You can even ask your roommate to pitch in and go dutch.
- Have an Emergency Fund:
This is a no-brainer, but I think that is why students don’t take this tip seriously. Imagine that you have it all planned out, and luckily you could save enough to treat yourself at Starbucks, but the next moment someone reminds you that there is a friend’s birthday coming up and all of them are planning a surprise bash. You can’t let such contingencies burn a hole in your pocket.
- Keep Note of the Best (and Economical) Places to Spend
There are certain things everyone likes to spend on, but if you go overboard, you know you’re broke for the semester. Hence, it is best to know the places in your city where you can shop to your heart’s delight and still save big on cash. Also, keep track of various online offers on websites like Amazon. If you like eating out, keep tabs on the days they serve your favourite dish at an off. Daily offers are big money savers. Nonetheless, you must know that it is important to take care of the quality too.
- The Subtle Art of List Making
I can never remember what I actually came at a grocery store for, at least not until I get up the next day only to find an empty toothpaste tube. I can’t thank Center Fresh enough to save me on such days. But, a simple list of what to buy and how much could’ve saved me a lot more trouble, if only I had taken the pain to actually create one. You don’t have to be a list-making master. Just grab a pen and a piece of paper and get jotting. I personally use apps like Wunderlist because I can remember the most random things and the most awkward of places.
- What is in that bin?
Now obviously, I don’t want you to go around piling out the contents of your bin, but knowing what to and what not to put in it and help you make some money. Don’t throw cardboard and metal in your bin because you can always give them to recyclers and make a few extra bucks. You can also keep polybags for future use instead of throwing them out every time.I don’t ask you to go all Eco club champion and keep a blue and green dustbin. That would be great, but there’s no harm in keeping things simple.
- Taming that Wanderlust
Everyone likes to explore a new city, and it’s a great idea especially if you plan on spending the next few years there. But then, it is not at all okay to spend hundreds every time you plan a trip. Try taking the public transport as and when you can instead of taking cabs for every trip. Cabs are a good idea when you are going to a nice event and want to look fresh and shiny and not out of the music video of Roar.
- Saving on College Books and Stationery
If you’ve ever been an over enthusiastic freshman, I know you must’ve regretted buying your college books too soon. Who had heard of readings back in school? Although, it is best to get fresh readings, consider getting your books second hand or borrowing from seniors. I also remember exchanging my AECC notes with other students who had the same subject the next semester. If you are okay with studying directly from e books and PDFs, go for it. Buy your pens and paper in bulk to avail discounts. You can also tie up with your local shop owner or college shop owner for discounts with a promise of buying in bulk from him. If your college doesn’t have a free printer facility, tie up with your cafe person and come to a mutual understanding.
- Inculcating Monetary Discipline
This is the last but by far the most important and noteworthy point. Good habits take time to stick. You will have urges to go and blow off your money, but keep one thing in mind. Wait for it. If you still need it three days from now, go buy it.