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Consider creating a budget. There are plenty of free apps to help with budgeting and keeping track of expenses. Some other options are pen and paper or an Excel spreadsheet...Whatever works best for you!
Since physical cash is used less and less, we tend to not notice how much we really spend - especially, the small stuff that adds up. For example, getting a $5 coffee at Starbucks once a week could cost you $260 per year. By keeping track of your expenses and creating a budget, you become aware of your spending habits and once you're aware, you can change the bad habits into good spending habits.
Money is a limited resource, If you did not know, you will find out very soon.
First - is to check your money mindset. How do you see money and how do you use it.
Spending habits tend to have to do with personality. Some are serious and to the point, others are monkeying around with money and spending mindlessly only to be in real trouble later. Another one is fluctuating between handling it well and occasionally getting into debt and later recover after learning from their mistakes.
If you want a really good tip, take aside 9% of your money and lock it away in the bank.
Do this with every monthly amount that you get. Stash it away like squirrels do in summer and fall.
Say you get $1,000 -
Out of the 91% - Pay rent first - The school tuition - Transportation - Books and others school materials -
make sure to pay them first, even if you have to use 70% of this budget.
Here you should have 21% (should be $210) from this you have to buy food first and drinks ( Eat smart and do not indulge) Eat healthy and do not buy junk. Eat to live and do not Live to eat.
if you really have to go out and party, do it at friends place and enjoy a movie there, go to the pool, take a hike, bbq at your place and invite friends.
Go out only about once or twice a month, and balance out what other down time you have.
I would enjoy my time in college or university, it creates great memories. Do it responsibly,
and do not spend college money or time on going out.
You have a goal, and this is a good chance to learn to manage money.
Create a pie-chart to see where your money goes. Although, most banks do it automatically anyways.
Write it down! I cannot stress this enough. Tabulate all your expenses and income. Record every penny you spend. Do this everyday and do it consistently. At the end of the week, review your spending and see where you went amiss!
Let me know if this helps and how it's all going for you. OK?
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Here are some good tips for reducing the cost of college:
When it comes to food, the more you can do your own meal prep the better off you will be. Pack and carry snacks. Drink Water! I cannot believe how much restaurants are charging for drinks! Avoid vending machines! (these are my weakness...)
On larger purchases, watch for sales, comparison shop, etc. Most importantly, learn to distinguish between "wants" and "needs." Smartphones range from $160 to $900. That's insane! Identify what features you need in a phone, and skip all the bells and whistles. Learn now to live not just within your means, but actually, below your means. Try to pay as you go as much as possible, rather than relying on loans. Stock up on school supplies during back to school sales.
Clothing: there are some nice second-hand stores. You'd be surprised at what you can find!
The suggestion to track your expenses is a good one. I recently started doing this, and have a detailed spreadsheet. I was surprised by how little I spend on "groceries" as compared to "household items"(bug spray, paper towels, etc), and "personal items" (toiletries, makeup, etc). Speaking of paper towels: rags are much cheaper (esp if you make your own!) and can be re-used sometimes. Some people go through a lot of paper towels!
If you want to learn frugal living, research things you can do with vinegar (glass cleaner, etc), peroxide (mouthwash), and other less expensive products. Household cleaners and toiletries are very expensive!
Take advantage of anything the school provides - entertainment, free printing in the computer labs, healthcare services, etc.
Your money management skills/habits that you develop now will carry into your adult life. Protect your credit rating. Pay your bills, on time. Lenders will look at this info when you try to buy a car or house.
It's great that you are seeking advice on this now. Best of luck to you!
In my experience, a good way to control your spending is to create a budget so you can see where your money is going. I would create an excel spreadsheet and at the end of the day, put in a line for each item you spent money on. Then at the end of every month, you can total up how much you are spending on different categories such as clothing, food, etc. Best of luck!