I used to hold my breath every time the Walmart cashier would swipe my debit card.
I was beyond broke for my first two years at Dixie State University. I was constantly driving around with my gaslight on, paying for coffee in dimes and refusing to buy books for school. Luckily, now I’m older, wiser and only a little bit broke. I’ve accumulated some helpful tips that can seriously thicken up your wallet.
Utilize the 50/30/20 Rule
This rule has changed the way I look at my paycheck each week. Instead of jumping on Urbanoutfitters.com and going to town as soon as I get paid, I now separate and put my earnings to a specific use. What this rule does is gives you an outline for where your money should be going. So, 50 percent of your income should go toward fixed bills like rent, car insurance or a phone bill: basically costs that won’t fluctuate from month to month. The 30 percent of your income should go toward day-to-day costs like gas, entertainment and food. And finally, the 10 percent goes toward savings or investments.
This may seem daunting, and I know many students can’t even fathom being able to save $5 let alone 10 percent of their income. However, I encourage students to divide their paychecks into the 50/30/10 rule and observe the outcome of your financial state.
I die a little inside every time I see a fresh-faced freshman buying full-priced books each semester. There are websites that can save you more than half of the bookstore price for textbooks. Websites like www.chegg.com, www.bookrenter.com or www.Amazon.com are user-friendly and noticeable cheaper.
Now don’t just shop around for textbooks. Shop around for food, hygiene products, clothes or even crap you don’t need. (Like the deer salt and pepper shakers I bought last week; I found a great deal on Etsy.com) I’ve found that I save money by buying in bulk at Costco for most hygiene products and several food items.
The moral of the story: Make educated purchases, and do not buy the first set of deer salt and pepper shakers to come your way.
Plan to Plan
Planning seems pretty overwhelming to a lot of us, but I’ve found planning saves me some major dough. The major planning I make each week is my meals. I hardly ever go out to eat because it’s a wallet drainer and there are generally no healthy food choices at restaurants. So my favorite thing to do each week is to make a huge pot of soup that usually costs less than $10, and I’ll eat that each night.
I also plan out how much I’m going to spend at places I just can’t avoid, eh hem, Starbucks. I will buy myself a gift card for an amount that fits into the 50/30/20 rule, and then for that week, I’ll know I only have the amount I have set aside for myself.
The New Year and new semester are right around the corner, and by utilizing these tried and true tricks, you have the potential to be a major baller on a budget.