How to save money as a student: Effective tips
Students are known for having some troubles with money. It is some sort of an international cliche and many languages have such terms as “poor student”, “poor as a student,” “poorer than a student” and similar. Why is it so? Why do students have problems with finances?
Why students have money problems
Again, there are students who have more money and less money, but like 90% of students have problems planning a budget and sticking to it, no matter the size of the budget. Here are some major reasons why.
- Being an adult and a child at the same time. Yesterday you were a school kid, and most probably relied financially on your family. Maybe you even had some simple side jobs — waited tables, flipped burgers, gave some lessons, etc. Still, most of your expenses were covered. With the change of status, your financial situation also changed. You are not yet in the adult world with a job, bonuses, career, etc, and you are already not a kid who can just easily take money from parents.
- Scholarships are tricky. There are different types of scholarships — some cover education, some cover living or just accommodation, some can be combined with others, some are given only exclusively. There are also scholarships that imply that you won’t work when studying. Does it mean that you will have enough money thanks to that scholarship? Hardly.
- Educational institutions don’t want you to earn money. Many colleges and universities don’t want you to work, because it distracts you from studies. It is true — the educational load is rather strong and you cannot just put it aside for long to earn money. At the same time, educators don’t understand that if a student is all the time stressed about money they cannot focus on studies at the needed level.
- Not enough experience with the budget. Balancing a budget is not easy and no one is born with this particular skill. Sometimes parents specifically let their children have some effect on the family budget, to participate in planning, but still, it is not the same with living on your own and balancing your own budget.
How to Deal with Money as a Student
The easiest way for us to approach this article is just to say “you need to draw a budget and live according to it.” Still, this advice would probably not help you much most probably, because we receive such tips all the time and they hardly ever help. For example, people say “eat more vegetables and exercise at least 20 min every day.” We all have 20 min every day, but hardly 10% of people you know actually follow this advice. Situation with a budget is even more complex, as it involves too many factors, including emotional attachment, stress, strategies your family has related to money, etc.
Understand the psychology of savings and spendings
People do not know how to save for fear that this will deprive them of much at the moment. Therefore, the author recommends to start saving money gradually and only with an increase in income – then the main cause of fear will disappear by itself. In addition to problems with accumulation, we are faced with the problem of impulsive spending. When, for example, we receive a salary, we go and buy a new iPhone. Here are five reasons why this happens:
- Dopamine, a substance produced by the brain, makes us make unreasonable purchases.
- There are triggers – situations that trigger the buying habit. For example, failures at work.
- We do not always succumb to a bad habit, but only when we are in a certain state. Most often it is tiredness, hunger, drunkenness, illness or stress.
- Behind unnecessary purchases is the pursuit of what is necessary and desirable. Impulsive spending is the wrong means to the right goal. For example, you don’t have to buy anything to enjoy life more.
- We often fall into the traps of thinking. These are the arguments that come to mind and justify the purchase: “I will endure another time”, “I did something useful today, so I can relax now” or “Anyway, I just fell out recently, what now?”
Start saving by implementing the simplest concepts
It is convenient to keep regular control of income and expenses through applications for managing personal finances. Readers who use them notice a lot that they could not buy and what to save on.
Group your financial goals into categories: important, not very important, and not at all important. Always buy what matters most first. With this approach, there may be no money left for unnecessary goals, but important goals will be closed.
Rational spending strategy
Right now we are not talking about your budget, we want to talk about the situations when you need to spend money to save money. For example, buying some supplies and products in bulk can yearly save you a good amount of cash. Also, if you have an opportunity to do some side job as a student, but don’t have much time because of homework assignments, address a professional writing service with a “write my paper cheap” inquiry, take it off your shoulders and earn some money while an expert writer is dealing with your assignment. Don’t miss deadlines, as going through the same course the second time is pricey. It is better to delegate, than to pay twice.
Bodo Schaefer also talks about this technique. Choose your most important desires and start a separate piggy bank for each. You don’t have to buy a pink pig with a hole in your back. You can open a savings account with a bank.
Discount and discount cards
Discount cards are valid in chain stores, cafes and pharmacies. Sometimes they are given for free, sometimes for money. In any case, the card will be a profitable investment if you are a regular customer of the store. The cost of such a card can be recouped with the first purchase.
Saving money as a student may be tricky, but the earlier you start doing it, the better results you will receive. There are students who only dig in and make their student loans worse, and there are those who manage to deal with these problems while still in college. Even if you achieve something average between these two extremes, we will be proud of you.