February 15, 2016

How I Budget and Save as a College Student



I like to go out to get tacos. I love grabbing coffee with a friend and chatting for hours. I like to visit the grocery store once a week and stock up on some staples for some easy, healthy meals. And all this costs me.

I really don't spend that much, and I can tell you that openly and honestly, because I sit down and write out my expenses twice a week. There's $2 here and there on a Diet Coke when I'm having a particularly tough work day or there might be a transaction for a lunch special at my favorite Mexican place that only cost me $5.50, but that's pretty much it aside from groceries and gas.

Now, I've never completely been out of money or anything like that, but I do think it's important to budget yourself. Just because you have $600 in your checking account, you still might not want to just keep sliding your card into infinity until you get a sad email letting you know you've overdrawn your account.

I've put together a few tips today that I've adopted throughout the past year and a half or so.

I buy the clean, simple foods at the grocery store
If you follow me on snap (cristina.snaps) you know I'm a huge fan of sweet potatoes and zucchini. The two of these in my shopping cart only cost me around $2 and they make for an easy meal. Adopt a "cleaner" grocery shopping mindset and you'll see a relief to your bank account. (And your pants might fit better, too!) 

I eat out with coupons
So, our bookstore gives away these coupon books at the beginning of every semester. And at the beginning of every semester, Cam and I take home about 10 between the two of us, haha. We use coupons most times we eat out, and we take advantage of student deals and discounts. I can eat lunch for around 4 or 5 dollars or maybe even get free queso somewhere, and that really helps me out financially.

I write down my expenses every Wednesday and Sunday
This way, I keep myself on track. I give myself a certain amount to spend for a two week-period, and I constantly check in. This way, I know how much I can spend for a specific week and that will affect whether or not I allow myself to browse Target or whether I schedule a coffee date or not.

I have a gifts + trips savings account
I also have a regular savings account, but I find that come Christmas time and when there are important birthdays, I want some extra money for shopping for gifts. Cam and I also travel several times in a year and therefore we have to eat out a bit more than usual and/or fill up more on gas. With a special savings account for this, I don't have to dip into my school money when I want to do something fun.

I don't cheat on my budget
If I have $13 to spend in a week, I'm going to make that $13 work! That may mean I eat my meals at home or I put off getting a hair cut until my next budgeting period, but it works for me.

How do you save as a college student? Or if you're out of college, what's one thing you know now that you wish you knew then? Thanks for reading!

X,

Cristina

27 comments:

  1. These are great tips! I just started tracking all of my expenses... it's a huge eye opener!

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  2. Just pinned this to my 'college' board. Great tips!
    Mikayla | A Seersucker State of Mind.

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  3. Great tips girl!
    I don't budget at all but I totally should!

    xoxo, Jenny

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  4. For coupons, I use the Pocket Points app on my phone. It gives me "points" for being off of my phone during class (it uses location services to make sure you're on campus) that I can use as discounts at surrounding restaurants or clothing stores. The more people that are using Pocket Points in class, the faster you earn points, and on Tuesday you get double the amount of points you earn!

    http://thealwaysblog.com

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    1. What?! That's so cool! I am totally downloading that right now! :) Thanks for sharing that with me!

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  5. These are great tips! I think that being on-top and involved in your finances is the best way to set yourself up for success. Great job for getting it together so early in life!

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  6. I never go anywhere without a coupon, every little bit counts!
    xo, Syd
    anchoredinthesouth.com

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  7. Loved reading this! I'm always struggling with budgeting and not spending money here and there all the time! It's so hard when all of your friends want to grab fast food every day. But what really helps me is recording every penny I spend to see where my money is really going.

    http://simplesouthernbelle.net/

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    1. I totally agree with you on that! My friends like to eat out a lot and it's hard for me to budget it. Using coupons really helps for when I do go out :) Thanks so much for reading!

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  8. Writing down your expenses every few days is a great way to keep track of your money! These are great tips for college or the real world! Thanks for sharing :)
    -Anna | http://www.fivefootandfabulous.com

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  9. These are all awesome. When I first started college I was SO awful at budgeting and figuring out money. Thankfully, I too have adopted some awesome ways to save. I love doing my budget weekly, I almost always do it on Sunday's, not only because thats the start of the week but because thats also the day I go grocery shopping.
    Being able to save in college has really opened my mind to how important it is to save!

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    1. I go grocery shopping on Sunday's too! It's a good way to start the week :)

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  10. awesome post! I would love to read a blog post on how you actually set and decide on a budget! x, kenz http://sincerelykenz.com

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  11. I'm very big on budgeting as a student- so I love hearing how others budget as well! Great post!

    xoxo A
    www.southernbelleintraining.com

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  12. These are amazing tips! I've always been a budgeter, ever since I got my "first job" taking out an elderly lady's trash when I was 11. By the time I was 16, I had saved $2000, which was quite impressive at the time. I've been out of college and married for a few years now, but my biggest advice is to invest in a small starter home as early as possible. You'll be paying rent either way, may as well pay that money towards a real estate investment!

    XO, Oksana from FOXYOXIE.com

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  13. One of my goals this year was to save more money! I love the idea of tracking your spending twice a week and may need to starting doing so just to open my eyes on how much I'm actually spending. Thank you so much for sharing!
    xoxo
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

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    1. You're so welcome! Good luck with your goals, girl!

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. Sorry I ment www.erindyson.WordPress.com

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  16. This is great advice, I definitely need to start recording down my expenses!

    http://abigailalicex.com

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  17. Awesome tips! I wish I had've done this in college.

    Best Wishes,
    Allison | www.LiveLifeWellBlog.com

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  18. Budgeting and being a student is so hard! I need to do better, but I certainly do better than my brother lol!

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  19. Great tips! Budgeting is so hard, especially when I constantly want to get coffee!

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  20. I think it's so crazy that some people say eating healthy is so expensive, but it can also be cheap if you do it right!

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