As a Finance major, a good chunk of my college education revolves around the concept of minimizing cost and maximizing profit -or in other words, getting your money’s worth. So this is a concept I think about quite often, and a lot of times it finds its way into my personal life as well. We all like to get our money’s worth when we spend it, especially being college students, but if you are having a hard time running out of month before running out of money, here are some things you can try to maybe stretch your dollar just a little bit further.
A- know your limits. As in take a step back and look at your spending all together and monitor how much you have left as often as possible. Add up all you bring in and all you are spending each month. All you have to do is to just take a look at your checking account at least every other day so that you always have an idea of your spending limits.
B- Write out your fixed costs, or things that cost the same each month that you have to pay no matter what. Those are going to be things such as rent, insurance, electric, phone bill, and internet bill. Now that you have those written out, you know collectively what is the amount that you have to pay regardless of how much money you made or the situation. For example, if these things all together cost $450, you know that if on October 30th you have $455 in your account, you probably should not go out for lunch that day and maybe a sandwich or salad at home is the way to go.
C- Budget your discretionary income. After you have paid off your mandatory charges, what you have left will be your discretionary income. That is money to spend on food, clothing, and the other necessities of life. Again, from the debit and credit charges on your checking account, take a wholesome view of your spending on those things. That way, you can single out anything you did not realize you were spending too much money on or things you can deem unnecessary. Do not forgo those little drive thru or coffee charges, if you get coffee three or four times a week and eat out two to three times a week you are probably looking at $25 a week or $100 a month that you can cut back on buy making coffee at home or buying tupperware and making lunch the night before.
These are just tiny pieces of advice that I was given and have found super helpful, hopefully they help out others too. I would also suggest visiting with the great people at Powercat Financial Counseling on campus. They know dozens of amazing money-saving tips and tricks and are willing to help you out for free. Personal financial counseling out in the real world costs a lot of money, so take advantage of this amazing free of charge resource.
For the sake of brevity I am splitting up this post. Next week I will publish Part II where I will talk about my personal ways of managing my finances, and best practices for getting a line of credit and managing it.