If you're a college student, then there have been times where you check your bank account and you regret spending money that you didn't even know you had. You may have just went on a spending spree and now you're broke for two weeks because you just got your paycheck. Your spending habits are uncontrollable and you're stuck wondering most of the time why you do this to yourself in the first place.
As a fourth year college student, I have had many mixed feelings towards 'spending money if you got it' and 'I have to save money otherwise I won't have it'. I have gone from spending my whole paycheck, and going through two weeks of having three dollars in my checking account, to saving my whole paycheck and not spending a dime other than on gas. I have been using these three tips that are tried and true, and have been using the extra money towards paying off my student loans. These tips are a sure way of saving money and having it go towards something that might be more necessary.
1. Unnecessary Spending on Food and Coffee
This is a big one. During my first year of college, I would go to Starbucks and spend upwards to $5 every morning on just coffee. This adds up to fifty dollars roughly (depending on if I went for a large latte or frappuccino) in one paycheck period, which is, for me, two weeks. This is a large amount of money to be spending on caffeine, and what I have switched to is making coffee and adding creamer before I leave for class. This is cheaper, and the coffee and creamer can last you longer than two weeks. Along with coffee, food was also a concern of mine. Subway, Panda Express, Qdoba, Chipotle, Taco Bell and other places were my go to stop for my college years. I could spend from five to eleven dollars for just one meal. What this does is cause a dent in my spending, and if I were to do this everyday, then my paycheck would be non-existent. Don't get me wrong, I allow myself to eat out once in a blue moon and treat myself, however, going out to eat this much is not healthy for your body or your wallet. Instead, leftovers from dinner the night before or packing fruit are good ideas. If you want to be extra frugal, pack Ramen noodles and just put them in a cup with warm water. I have done this a lot when I'm in school or at work. I also like to buy a few salads from my local grocery store for a dollar and some change a piece. It is always a great alternative.
2. Out of Sight Out of Mind
Paper money may not be used as much now considering swiping your card is easier. I don't realize how much I spend until I check my account and realize everything I just received is gone with just a few swipes. Transferring your money into your savings is a good idea when you receive your check -- that way the whole amount is not hanging in your checking account waiting to be swiped away. This will prevent you from transferring also if you have a limit, which some banks do. However, if you have unlimited transfers and can access that money easily, it will make it that much easier to spend. What I have been practicing is withdrawing that money into cash and putting it in a jar. That way when you get the urge to spend on something that you may not need, you can't access that money easily, and you may not be at home to get your hands on it. This prevents unnecessary spending as well as helps you save for student loans or maybe another big purchase in the future.
3. 'Treat Yo Self' Can Be OK But Not Everyday
You worked hard for that paycheck, and sometimes it is OK to splurge on yourself. Excessive spending shouldn't be happening everyday if you need that money to go towards something else, or if you need to be saving. Yes, buy that new sweater or pair of pants, but don't go all out. Yes, you may need to buy Christmas presents or a birthday present, however, budget yourself and make sure you have some money left for emergencies in the week or other necessities. Plan out what gifts you need to buy or what you may need, then spend wisely and make sure you have enough to last you until the next paycheck.