Being frugal is fashionable, being cheap is chic and saving is sexy! No one will judge you for trying to reduce your expenses. In fact, they’ll probably ask you to show them how.
In a 2012 survey 51% of Australian students reported that financial circumstances affected their ability to study. Financial difficulties were also identified as the third most common reason for students considering an early departure from their degree.
Taking advantage of the tips and tricks below could help reduce some of your student expenses.
Make a wish list
If you are anything like me the time between wanting something and seriously considering purchasing it is very short. Try to avoid impulse purchases by creating a wish list. Every time you want something write it down and put it aside.
Say to yourself that if it fits within your budget next week that you will allow yourself to buy it. Chances are that after a week your urge to buy this product would have disappeared. If it didn’t – you will now feel better since you know it isn’t an impulse buy.
Eliminate routine purchases
Some things you end up buying because you just always have. Some purchases can be associated with places, people and times of the day. For example, for some it may be a routine to buy popcorn when they go to the cinema or to get a muffin with their coffee. Before you purchase things just because you normally do, think ‘do I really need this?’
Consider pre-owned items
Things like computers, laptops, game consoles and appliances devalue very quickly. Before you rush out and buy brand new mobile phone ask your friends and family if they are willing to sell you their old one. You can also find plenty of people trying to sell their unused electronics on eBay, Gumtree and Trading Post.
Also, why stop at electronics? There are plenty of other used items available that are in perfectly good condition.
Sales and reduced items
As a student, sales are your best friend. Try to do your grocery shopping later in the day as perishable products are often reduced for a quick sale. You will be able to find all sorts of things you wouldn’t normally be able to afford.
The same goes for clothing stores. I used to buy shoes and clothes the minute I tried them on and found that they fitted. After continuously returning to shops and seeing my prized purchases on sale I now simply put them back on the shelf and wait.
Clothing stores have sales and VIP events regularly and often the prices of items that you want go down in the sale. Sometimes you miss out on something that you have had your eye on but when you do get those coveted shoes on sale you will be euphoric.
Coupons and memberships
Many stores have membership programs that are free to join. When you spend at the store you get rewarded for your patronage. Being a member also entitles you to various rewards and savings coupons. Although you might not see a weekly benefit you still might rack up points that you can redeem for a free gift.
Your student card will open up a multitude of discounts for you. Many food outlets, clothing shops and entertainment venues offer a discounted price upon presentation of your student card.
Even if they are not publicizing an offer don’t be afraid to ask. Often they will be able to give you a percentage off your purchase.
Be cautious with your credit card
Feel free to wave your student card around but a credit card is one piece of plastic that you need to keep control of. It may be useful to have a credit card to help ends meet or for emergency purchases but whatever you do don’t take it on a night out.
Taking your credit card out on a night out is a big mistake and could leave you with a bill for items that you don’t even remember buying. It’s a lot safer just to take cash.
Stay in instead of going out
If you’re a bit strapped for cash sometimes it’s good just to have a night in with friends. Often you’ll find that they’re happy to stay in because they are just as broke as you are. You can watch some of your old DVDS, make dinner or sit around and play XBOX.
Stop eating out
Eating out at restaurants is very expensive. Even the cost of McDonalds can add up over the course of a week. It is cheaper and often healthier to buy food and cook at home. It will also make the next time you go to a restaurant more exciting.