Food. Rent. A social life. These basic necessities can be difficult for a full-time student to afford while remaining stress-free health-conscious. Luckily, there are ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle in college or university while on a budget, and you can use technology to cut back on your overall spending.
Budgeting and Banking
Get a budgeting app
There are several free apps that help you budget quickly and efficiently. Mint is a budgeting app that securely connects to your bank account and automatically records your purchases so you don’t have to record them yourself. It also keeps track of your credit score. If you’d rather input your expenses manually, Toshl Finance is another free and easy to use budgeting app.
Get a student bank account.
If you present proof that you are enrolled in a college or university (e.g, your student ID), you can get a student bank account. This account allows you to perform free unlimited transactions instead of receiving a monthly charge like you would with a regular account.
Use cash more and your debit card less.
This is tip isn’t specifically geared toward students, but most of my friends (and myself) can attest that when we carry cash instead of a credit or debit card, we end up spending less. It’s easier to keep track of how much you spend when you’re using cash, and it alleviates a lot of anxiety. Being unpleasantly surprised by the amount you racked up with your debit card at the end of the month is a stressful experience.
Groceries and Health Essentials
Go grocery shopping on student discount day.
Find out if your local grocery store offers weekly discounts for students, and make that your “groceries” day. In London, Ontario, for example, Valu Mart and Loblaws offers 10% off to college and university students on Tuesdays.
Get free sexual health products.
Most colleges and universities have free condoms available around campus. Instead of buying them yourself, check if your student health centre offers them.
Book tickets early online.
Buying tickets online as far in advance as you can will save you a significant amount of money as oppose to booking the trip last-minute. Also, many transportation companies have a student discount, so don’t forget to check off that you’re a student while buying your ticket online and bring your student ID to the station.
Take the bus instead of the train.
Buy and sell your textbooks online.
Most universities have a website or social media group where students buy and sell used textbooks. Western University, for example, has a Facebook group called “Used Textbooks for Sale” that has over 26,000 members. Students post what textbooks they are selling or buying, comment on each other’s posts, negotiate a price and meet (usually on campus) to make the exchange.
I’ve saved hundreds of dollars using this Facebook group. Unless it’s a new edition and your professor tells you to buy it from your University’s book store, buy them online for a much cheaper price!
Print assignments from campus.
Before you buy your own printer, check if your school’s library has an inexpensive printing system in place. It’s not as convenient as having the technology there in your own room, but you’ll save a lot in the long run.
Living off frozen meals and refusing invitations to go out with your friends aren’t ideal ways to save. If you’re stressed about your current financial status, try breaking all your bad spending habits at once and adopting new habits like the ones above!