Aside from time management, which I've already shared some tips on, one of the hardest parts of college is trying to balance a budget. Being a full-time student, I don't have a job and couldn't imagine working on top of my school work and extracurriculars (shout out to all the students that do though)! Most of the money in my bank account comes from my graduation money and the babysitting that I did over the summer. Trying to find ways to make a few hundred dollars last a whole has proven to be a bit difficult, so I wanted to share some of the tips I've learned so far this year for my girls (and guys) in the same boat as me!
1. Limit Spending Money on Food
One of the things I was super excited about coming to D.C. was trying out all of the amazing restaurants in the city! I quickly realized that food is expensive, and so much money is wasted by going out to eat. In the past few months, I've been using my meal plan to its full potential by eating on campus and in the dining hall as much as possible. Though it can get a bit repetitive, it's food I've already paid for and it keeps my bank account balance from dwindling as quickly. This doesn't mean that I don't go out to eat at all, but when I do I see it more as spending money on an experience or memory with friends rather than filling my stomach.
2. Use Websites/Apps to Save Money Shopping
I'd say my second biggest reason for spending money is because I love to shop. I find myself wasting hours online shopping more often than I'd like to admit, but when I do make a purchase I use Ebates and Shoptagr. Ebates gives cash back on purchases from certain retailers and it's not a gimmick! All you have to do is install the button in your browser and whenever you are shopping online it lets you know how much cash back you can earn. If you aren't spending crazy amounts of money, you'll only get a few dollars from each purchase. But that few dollars adds up and before you know you'll be getting a check for $20! Plus, if you use my referral link you'll get $10 additional cash back on your first purchase using the widget. Shoptagr is just as great because it tells you when your favorite items are going on sale. Similarly, download the app or add the button to your browser and for certain retailers, you'll have the option to add a product or item to your list. Then Shoptagr will send you an email or push notification whenever an item from your list goes on sale or is back in stock. Whenever I'm shopping, especially for bigger ticket items, I add them to my Shoptagr list so I can buy it at a cheaper price and I've saved so much money that way!
3. Make a Budget
As much as it sounds like a boring adult thing, making a budget is super helpful. I use the Mint app on my iPhone to plan out how much money I can spend each month. Mint also lets me know how much is in my bank account and how much I've spent in certain categories like food, entertainment, and shopping. If you're like me and trying to make a certain amount of money last for a duration of time - then Mint is perfect for keeping track of your spending!
Thanks for reading! I hope these tips were helpful, let me know in the comments if you have any other advice! xx, Lauren