The bill was ten dollars. It was embarrassing when I pulled out my wallet and found only a lonely dollar and some change. My friend grabbed a five and a one from his back pocket and said, “Hey, I got six.” Great. He can do math. Fortunately, we were able to pool together three dollars worth of coins before awkwardly bolting out the door.
Lacking funds is a common problem for us college students, so here are some tips on how to save your money.
Categorize your funds
It may seem a bit rudimentary, but when receiving a paycheck, divide it into categories and prioritize. Set aside money for basic needs and savings. Then, keep a little cash to spend on whims. By categorizing, you can prevent impulse buying and running out of lunch money.
Buy in bulk
Costco is our friend. Stock up. Plus, you can make loops around the store trying all of samples… multiple times. And if having 10 cases of toilet paper is not the way you roll, then go to Costco with friends and divide up what you get.
Get it used
Paying per pound for your food at a grocery store is not uncommon, but did you know you can pay $1.69 a pound for clothes at Good Will outlet stores? Stores like Good Will and Crossroads Trading Co. have clothes that are in good condition and are cheaper than what you would find at a regular store.
If you don’t trust clothing previously worn by strangers, chat with your friends and ask them about trading clothes and accessories with you.
But don’t limit yourself to used clothes! Books, music, games, and even cars are much cheaper when pre-owned. And what if you don’t want to spend money? Check out the “free” section on craigslist.com. There’s anything from pianos to furniture to home appliances.
Take advantage of coupons
If there’s something you want to buy, look up printable coupons online to bring along before you go out to get it. Also, while you’re in a store or restaurant, sign up for the mailing list if you are interested in that particular place. You can receive discounts, learn about special offers, and find out about upcoming promotions.
Make your own food
It’s so easy to go to Starbucks or Tully’s to get your coffee, but each time you go, you have to pay… and it adds up. Stay at home, and brew your own coffee. And when it’s time for a meal, use what is in the pantry to put together a creation of your own.
No one is in the mood to go out and deal with traffic, parking, and long lines. Chill at home and find what you need online. You will save time, and when something is available online, it is often cheaper. As a bonus, you can sometimes get free shipping.
Get an online movie membership
It’s frustrating when you purchase a movie before watching it and end up not even liking it. There’s a solution. Stream movies online by subscribing to membership sites like Netflix. You can even get an HDMI plug to connect your computer to your television.
Now that you know some of these useful tips, apply them to your own life so that you don’t have to be one of those annoying people paying for things in pennies and nickels.