How Can I Save Money As A Student?
Saving money as a student can seem daunting. I know.... I am one. Between tuition, textbooks, essentials, and girl's night out, it can seem like the numbers in your bank account don't go anywhere but down. I'm not a financial advisor, nor an expert investor, but I do have a few tips that may help you, like they've helped me.
1. Use Cash
While using a savings account for money you don't intend on spending is generally the best way to save money, consider using cash when you know you'll be going out (for example, to the mall). When we use debit or credit, our spending tends to become “out of sight, out of mind”. Before you know it, you've spent $200 on shoes that you don't even like that much. By using cash, you can visualize how much you're actually losing, and it might just help you control your impulses. Plus, if you set a budget before hand, you don't have any risk of blowing it.
2. Limit Your Credit
Having a credit card (and using it wisely) is a great way to build a credit score, which ultimately helps you when you're ready to make larger purchases. However, using it irresponsibly will only have a negative impact. Consider placing a limit on your monthly credit allowance. For example, mine is $500. Furthermore, try and use it only for recurring payments, such as your phone bill. As a rule of thumb, never use it for an impulse purchase. Your owing balance at the end of the month should never be a surprise.
3. Use Public Transit
I know there is nothing classy about sitting in the subway car, amid dozens of other strangers. But consider it an investment. Taking an Uber (or other similar services) adds up very quickly. Most cities/schools offer reduced student fares or bus passes. It doesn't add much time to your route, and you'll save a significant amount of change each month. As a bonus, it's more environmentally friendly!
4. Find Used Textbooks
This may be a given to most students, but it's worth the mention. There's not much sense in buying a $300 text that you mostly likely won't even be using in a few years. I'm not saying every book you buy should be secondhand... I enjoy the smell of brand new pages as much as the next person, but it's beneficial to look around a bit before making a purchase. Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace are great options. Many cities will also have various book exchanges and stores. If you're in Toronto, I recommend checking out https://www.discounttextbookstoronto.com/.
5. Use Your Meal Plan
If you're living on rez, you most likely have a meal/food plan of some sort. USE IT! While going out every once in a while is to be expected, try not to splurge every weekend. The average night out is roughly $81, for food and drinks. Multiply that by 52, that becomes $4212! Double that, if you usually go out Friday AND Saturday. Just by taking advantage of your available resources, you're already saving a sweet sum.
6. Shop At Soluna ;)
Our mission, as a student owned brand, is to bring affordable fashion to other students. We bring quality apparel and jewellery for excellent prices. As a bonus, we love to feature local artists and individuals, to put a spotlight on the community. By shopping at Soluna, you're saving money, and supporting other students like yourself. Win win!
Being a student is hard. As much as I encourage you to be smart about your money habits, I also encourage you to have fun. Spoil yourself from time to time (reasonably), you deserve it!