How To Not Break The Bank Spring Semester
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How To Not Break The Bank Spring Semester

7 tips to keep money in your pocket.

How To Not Break The Bank Spring Semester
Tracy O.

For many of us, winter break is coming to an end and, while we are packing we are inevitably planning our next big to-do's with the friends we've not seen for the past month. There will be plenty of time to catch up, have fun, and make new memories-- but first let's sit back and remember we can't use up all the money we've saved over break in the first two weeks of semester! Because none of us want to go back to our parents asking for money like:

Here are some fun tips to keep yourself from breaking the bank Spring 2016!

1. Make a list!

A list telling you to make a list, what a time to be alive! In all reality, it is a good idea to sit down at the start of the week/bi-week/month/semester (depending how frequently you plan on having your bank re-filled) and write a list of all the things you know you need to purchase with that budget. If you already make yourself to-do lists, guesstimate how much your activities will cost and make sure to jot the total of all of them down in the side. That is the money you can't spend. I actually love this method and use it myself during months where I know I need to travel home or see shows for class so that I leave my train fare and ticket expenses out of my normal spending without needing to constantly transfer money between accounts.

2. Meal Plan

I don't mean stick to your campus' mean plans if you have your own kitchen and it's not required. If you take five minutes to sit down at the start of the week and evaluate what you want to make, you won't go down the aisles of the grocery store grabbing useless items off shelves just to come home and realize you forgot three ingredients and have to go back to do it all over again. It's a rabbit hole of buying groceries you don't want/need! Even making a mental shopping list of what exactly you're making for the week before you go will help to alleviate stress and keep some money in your pocket.

3. Plan for leftovers

In addition to meal planning, planning for leftovers is always a good idea. Buying in bulk is always cheaper, especially when sales are 2/1 or 5/$5. You don't need to eat the same thing every night of the week, but when you might not have time to cook every single day, leftovers save time, stress, and money.

4. Coffee: Best Frenemy

My apartment has no less than 3 coffee machines and a personal french press.

I'm not kidding.

Sometimes you're just on the run and need to grab your daily dose of caffeine really quickly. We've all been there! Sometimes, though, you're just grabbing coffee socially or because you don't know how to make your own frappuccino. There's nothing wrong with having a social life and certainly there's no flaw in not being a trained barista--but there are alternatives! Have friends over for coffee, it even eliminates the often noisy atmosphere of the over-populated coffee shop or the feeling that you're interrupting the quiet in a small shop where you're surrounded by aspiring authors and poets. Pick up an espresso machine, it's a worthwhile investment, and experiment away. If you make it together instead of sticking in the kitchen while your friends sit in the living room, it only adds to the fun. Also, there are plenty of fantastic online recipes that are far healthier than your favourite cafe's sweet treats and any of the ingredients not local to your grocery store are often available to order online. Especially if you're a coffee addict, it is much cheaper to spend $7 on a can of good coffee that you can use for a month than $5 for a cup you'll drink in five minutes.

5. Use cash

This is an interesting method I learned from a friend. If you have a day out, whether it be for shopping or anything else, you take out a certain amount of cash from the ATM based on what you know you can spend. That's it for the day, if you took out $60 for the day then that's all you can spend, you can't go over. Challenge yourself, if it's just a fun day out, to see how much money you can have left over at the end and then use that to treat yourself or save it in a travel fund jar.

6. Keep track of your coins!

Most banks have coin counters now where you can just drop in your coins and get money back. If it's your bank, they'll usually give you the option to put the money directly into your account, as well. For a more goal-oriented saver, keeping your coins in a large jar or bottle can help you save up for your roundtrip ticket to Iceland next year. In either case, save your change from your day about in a pocket or a special compartment or your purse/wallet and drop it into your saving container when you get back. If you choose to just take it to the bank when it's a little more full, you now have saved the time it takes to pay for your coffee in entirely change and also have given yourself maybe a little more cash than you think you had for spending money.

7. Re-fillable Bottles

Reduce, reuse, recycle! Going green and getting a reusable water filter pitcher for your fridge and/or a plastic bottle to carry around with you helps fight the expenses of consistently purchasing water every week. The fun becomes choosing the colours and style of your water bottle and choosing if you want to flavour your water with cucumbers or raspberries before you chill your water pitcher for the night!

From becoming your own, perfect barista to changing the way you buy things and everything in between, these tips will help to keep your bank from breaking this semester. They're small lifestyle changes, but they all make a huge difference. You won't need to be worried about making your rent Spring 2016!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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