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6 Money-Saving Secrets Exclusively for Students

The broke college student is a cliche for a reason. Most students find that it’s difficult to make ends meet in school due to a decreased ability to work because of their school schedules. However, financially savvy students know how to get around this obstacle by employing the following six money-saving secrets.

  1. Set up a Budget

If you don’t know how much you make and therefore, how much you bring in, then you’ll never be able to keep track of your finances. That’s why budgeting is so important.

Many college students have never been in a position to have to budget because they lived at home until they headed off to school. If you fall into this category, then you’ll want to learn how to budget.

To get started, make a list of all of the money you have coming in from your various jobs and freelance projects. Next, itemize how much you pay for transportation, rent, food, utilities, medical care and other regular expenses. Keeping a budget journal can help you keep track of these expenditures if you don’t know.

Once you know how much you bring in and how much you pay out, you’re in a position to set up your budget. Ideally, you pay out less than you bring in and you put some in savings each month.

  1. Adopt the Envelope System

Once you set up a budget, you may find it easier to stick to it if you adopt the envelope system. This system is easy to use and prevents you from overspending if you stick to it.

Here’s how it works. Once you’ve determined how much you’ll spend for food, utilities, etc., then set up an envelope for each of these expenses. Put the amount of cash you’ll need to pay each bill in its designated envelope.

Once the money in that envelope is spent, that’s it. There is no more. This tactic is especially helpful for your personal spending. You’ll learn to keep track of where your money is going and to make decisions about how much money you have left, which lessens the likelihood that you’ll spend more than you have.

  1. Use Coupons

Getting your Sunday paper or going to couponing sites can help you keep your food and personal hygiene costs down, and if you shop in discount or dollar stores, you’ll find that the savings increase even more.

There are a couple of ways you can approach couponing. One way is to clip coupons for items you normally buy. This gives you the chance to save a few cents to a couple of dollars on items you would buy any way.

The other way is to clip coupons and plan your shopping around them. For example, suppose you find coupons for name-brand foods, like macaroni and cheese dinners, morning breakfast sausages, tea or coffee, soup, and bread, you’ll clip those coupons and create meals around those items.

  1. Shop for Food After 6:00 p.m.

Many grocery stores will reduce the price of their stock after 6:00 p.m. because they’re making way for the fresh items that will come on the delivery truck the next day. If you get into the habit of shopping in the evening, then you’ll have an opportunity to take advantage of many of these sales. This is an excellent way to find produce for a lesser price.

  1. Eat at Home

Buying food that you can cook into meals can save you a great deal of money. You can save up to 50% or more by eating at home compared to eating out in restaurants.

f you use coupon and shop in bulk, that number may go down even more. To take the best advantage of this, you’ll want to get an apartment or a rental house with a kitchen. Many if not most of the offerings for student housing in Baton Rouge have kitchens, allowing you to employ this money-saving tactic.

  1. Find Free and Cheap Entertainment

Free and cheap entertainment offerings exist all around us if only we’d look. There are movies and TV shows to rent at the library, free concerts in the park, community plays, fun runs and book readings at the local bookstore. Taking advantage of these free and cheap entertainment offerings gives you the opportunity to unwind and have fun without breaking the bank.

Final Thoughts on Cheap Student Living

It’s possible to live quite frugally and yet well when you’re a student if you know what to do. Taking steps like getting to know the freebies in your area, learning how to budget and cooking food at home count as just a few of the ways you can cut down on your expenses while you’re in school.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that many places in your area will likely offer discounts to students with a student ID, so be sure to carry that with you everywhere you go to save even more.

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