The semester is coming to an end; quickly approaching at a speed we didn’t think was even possible. But as our classes and stress end, so does most of the money we so hastily saved during the summer. If your hard earned money that you saved up all summer is not reaching its end, then you’re one of the lucky ones. For the rest of us, we’re pinching our pennies.
Paying bills at the last minute in order to wait for that one pay check that’ll cover them. Not going grocery shopping for weeks at a time. Yet there is always money for, you know, “the necessities.” The alcohol fund has not yet dried up, nor has the fund that sporadically funded a new carry-on bag to take on the plane for Christmas break (sorry, mom) or those new shoes that you just had to have. Like I said: “the necessities.”
But how do we conquer being the dirt broke college students we are? Some may run to their parents in times of crisis (which isn’t bad, we all need them now and again). Or others work more hours than they should. Regardless, these are all things we should be doing to counter our ever so quickly dying bank accounts. So here are some things you should do or at least consider.
1. No means no.
Have some will power. Tell yourself you don’t need something and stick to your guns. The truth of the matter is you’re probably right in not needing that thing you told yourself you didn’t need.
Don’t let anyone else convince you that you need things either. Whether it be a friend, family member or one of those annoying sales people; you do not need it. Let me repeat: you do not need to buy the thing that is not necessary to your life. That means, if you have to convince yourself you need something and come up with all the reasons in the world you will need this one particular item, you probably don’t need it. Honestly, you’ll probably use it only a few times.
Stick to essential things.
2. Coupons may seem “below” you, but they’re not.
They help. Know all those coupons they give you at CVS when you buy things on sale or buy things regularly? Yeah, they help a lot. Wear contacts? Oh hey, CVS gives coupons for saline (and that stuff isn’t cheap). Razors? Hey look, there’s a coupon for that.
The same goes for grocery shopping. If your boxes of food come with free manufacturer coupons, use them. If you like the product you can buy it again at a reduced price. Scour store’s ads for good deals and buy things when they’re on sale.
Trust me on this, this works wonders.
3. You can have fun without spending money.
*GASP* Who knew that was even possible, right? Instead of going out, have a night in. Watch some movies, paint your nails, go to CAB events and things on campus with free food. Utilize what’s within your reach.
4. Save your money for things you know you will want.
Don’t blow all your paycheck on a whim when you’re dying for a new pair of running shoes or a TV. Save your money so you can get those things you actually want instead of spending $10 here and there on parking or salads (even though they’re delicious).
Also: see #1.
5. Don’t torture yourself.
If you know going into a store will tempt you to buy something you probably can’t afford, don’t go! It’s as simple as that. Have some will power and don’t put yourself in a situation where you might spend that money you were saving for, oh I don’t know, groceries.
The same goes for online shopping. Yes, you might just be “browsing” for things you want but don’t need. Soon though, that “want” will turn into a ravishing beast who thinks they need that $120 pair of shoes because they’re currently so in style.
Again: see #1.
6. If you’re going to splurge, splurge on something that’s going to last.
Don’t splurge on that pair of glittered stilettos that you’ll only ever wear once in your life. Spend your money on things you can use for a long time. Running shoes, everyday shoes, healthy food that’ll last, durable phone cases, good towels, high quality bedding, Corell dishes. These are things that’ll last, and you’ll be able to use again and again.
Note: Fun splurges are good for the soul. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always fun. Just don’t make a habit of it.
College is a time for you to have fun, make mistakes and learn. We’ll spend too much money on things we don’t need, but we learn from it. Learn from it now, so you don’t have to learn from it again in the future when your looking for quarters under the couch to pay your rent.
And no, you do not need to buy that one thing that you think you need in your life but will only use once. Remember that.
Second Note: Only one bank account was harmed in the writing of this article (Sorry Mom, I really wanted that new bag).