Thinking about money can be stressful as a student.
Personally, there are days I wish my banking app would magically delete off my phone never to be seen again. However, that isn’t practical. We students already have so many other things on the go. Stressing about money should not be taking up precious mental energy that needs to be going into our studies.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the best at budgeting and saving money, so researching this column was eye-opening and hopefully you can get as much out of my findings as I did! Here are a few things I learned.
Use a budget calculator
There are plenty of budget calculators online where you can input your income and expenses, as well as how much you’d like to save per month.
The one I found gave me a big wake-up call as to how much I should be spending/saving outside of what I have been doing. You can Google “budget calculator” and a plethora will appear, or you can use the same one as me. Make sure your budget is realistic. I like to spend money on my hair and clothes, so I made sure to add those things to my budget.
Download your bank’s apps
Many banks are fully integrated into the smartphone app world, giving you the ability to check your balances and pay your bills right at your fingertips.
“You’d be surprised how much money you can save by making very small changes.”
I’m sure most people have a banking app on their phone – but did you know that many banks also have apps to track spending? These apps track your average spending and compare it to how much you are spending on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Talk about another wake-up call! I always find myself wondering “Where did all my money go?” Well TD shows me a nice little pie chart that says I spent it all on food and clothes.
Student discounts are key
The world knows students struggle with money–so many places offer student discounts.
I’m not saying you should spend your money just because you can get a discount, even though I’m notorious for this. However, if you can get a discount on something you need, you should take advantage of it. This isn’t really a budgeting tip, but it’ll definitely make budgeting easier.
Some examples I frequently take advantage of are Sobeys 10 per cent student discount on Tuesday’s, Apple Music’s half price student discount (Spotify offers the same), and GoodLife student pricing. For some more awesome student discounts click here, here, and here.
Make small changes
You’d be surprised how much money you can save by making very small changes.
Packing lunches and making your own coffee for school and work can save a lot of money. I’ll spare you the calculations but believe me, it’s a lot smarter from a financial standpoint to bring a sandwich and a coffee than going to Subway and Tim’s every day.
Shopping smarter is another small change you can make. Wait until the mall’s tax-free night to get that dress you have your eye on. Buy non-perishable food in bulk to save money and buy smaller portions of food that can spoil in order to reduce waste. Use a reusable water bottle instead of buying water. We’re lucky to have great water fountains around campus, so take advantage of them!
These four points are just a few ways to make your money last longer and ease your mind about your budget. I know I’ll be trying much harder to be more aware of my spending and saving after writing this.