Keeping track of your spending and comparing it with your budget can save you money.
A 2012 global survey on spending showed that half of those questioned admitted to purchasing stuff they really don’t need. Even more agreed that people are buying too much, leading them into a prison of needless debt. Researches note that our consumption-oriented society is creating greater levels of stress and unhappiness.
The results from overspending can be even more disastrous for students who haven’t started earning a full-time wage yet. Trying to survive on a limited budget can be almost as tough as your most difficult subject. Just because you’re a student doesn’t mean you’ll be ignored by marketers or that you’re immune to their stealthy marketing strategies. When trivial purchases add up on credit cards, the money you had planned to set aside to pay for your education can quickly disappear. Consider some ways you can save money and control spending if you’re a student.
Tips to Save Money and Control Spending
1) Make a Budget
You probably guessed this would be on the list and it may sound passé, but it really works for those willing to put it on paper and then stick to it. If your financial status is a mystery to you, you’ll be more likely to spend without thinking. Of course, you’ll have your bad days when some demon inside you goes out and blows it. But don’t let that cause you to give up on a monthly spending plan. Keep track of your spending and periodically compare it with your budget.
2) Control Impulse Buying
A deal is only a deal if it’s something you really need!
Many people can’t resist a bargain, even if they can’t think of a single use for their purchase. Walk away and give yourself time to think. Have you regretted impulse purchases in the past? Will this purchase really improve your life? If you decide to buy it, but find the item is no longer on sale or is gone, consider yourself the victor! After all, the money is still in your pocket.
3) Limit Credit Card Purchases
Plastic money has taken the pain out of spending to the point that the cash register total doesn’t register with us at all. Keep your credit purchases limited to the amount you can afford to pay off in full each month. (You’ll have to consult your budget to determine that figure). For large purchases, try saving up the cash before buying the item instead of putting it on a credit card, hoping you’ll find the money later to pay for it.
4) Adjust Your Attitude
Marketers know that emotion usually drives spending habits. Many people spend in response to loneliness, anxiety or disappointment. Did you fail an exam or feel you could have done better? Don’t go shopping. Instead, lead an active, social life. Get involved with on-campus activities, hang out with supportive friends, and take part in some form of volunteer work that will increase your feelings of self worth. Remember, what you do or do not have does not define who you are as a person.
5) Stop, Swap and Roll
If you have items hanging around that you no longer need, try selling them online or swap them for things you do need. This goes for everything from school textbooks to sports equipment. You can use online classified sites or you can try posting ads around your campus. You could even organize a swap event so others can join in the fun. At the same time, you’ll be reducing waste and helping out the environment.
6) Ask for Student Discounts
Many shops and services offer student discounts if you present an official student card. It never hurts to ask, especially when you could possibly save 15 per cent on a purchase. Places that don’t have a student discount policy will get a wake up call if ask about student rates, and they may even honour your student card and give you a break.