Are you a student who struggles with saving money? Find out which 8 habits save me the most money as a student!
Do you want to know how to save more money? Do you want to know how to live more comfortably on a student budget?
Being able to save as much money as you can when you’re a student can go a long way in helping you live more comfortably when you’re a fresh graduate looking for your first full-time job.
Learning how to save money as a student can:
- Allow you to graduate with a healthy savings account
- Teach you to better manage your finances in the future
- Give you opportunities to travel more
- Teach you to budget well
- Allow you to reach financial freedom earlier
There are countless more benefits to learning to save money as a student, and the best way to receive these benefits is to develop good financial habits.
As a student myself, I’m constantly on the hunt for new ways to make and save money. I believe that as long as you want to do something, you’ll be able to achieve it. So, after many rounds of trial and error, these are 8 habits that save me the most money in everyday life.
- Top Tips for Travelling on a Student Budget
- How to Work Towards Financial Freedom by Side Hustling
- How to Earn up to $50+/hr as a Private Tutor
- Best Part-Time Jobs for University Students
- 30 Little Ways You Can Save Money Now
So, what are the 8 habits that save me the most money as a student?
1. I’m meticulous about my savings
Since I’m on a tight student budget, I keep a close eye on the numbers in my bank account. If they ever dip below a threshold that I set for myself, then I cut back on my spending. Not giving myself free rein over my money is one of the best habits that save me the most money.
Any time I have to spend large amounts on a student expense, for example, textbooks, online courses, camps and events, that sort of thing, I would crunch the numbers to make sure that the amount spent would actually be worth the value that I would get from it.
This is why I always make sure to wait at least a few weeks after the term starts to purchase any textbooks so that I’m sure that I actually need them. Once I’m certain that a textbook is compulsory, I’ll look at a variety of different sites online, such as Book Depository and AbeBooks, just to make sure that I’m getting the best deal. I’ve definitely made the mistake of being too impatient and purchasing textbooks before finding out that I didn’t actually have to spend a single cent.
As a university or college student, there can be a lot of pressure to be involved in as many events as you can possibly handle. It can be hard to choose between the hundreds of different events that are offered by the many societies on campus. But, try to keep your budget in mind and pick those that you think would be the most meaningful to your experience.
2. I don’t go out a lot
Honestly, this is more of an ode to my introverted personality then it is an attempt to save money. Even if I was open to spending money, I would much prefer staying at home reading my books and watching re-runs of Friends.
That’s not to say that you can’t still save money if you enjoy going out. If you have a choice, pick places that don’t require you to spend so much money or just make sure that you don’t spend money on unnecessary expenses. It can be easy to forget to stick to a budget when you’re out having fun with friends. But for the sake of your bank account, try to keep in mind that you’re on a student budget and be frugal whenever you can.
Some tips that can help you save money when going out include:
- Bringing a water bottle wherever you go to limit spending on drinks
- Eating before you go out so that you’re less inclined to purchase large quantities of food
Now of course if you’re introverted like me, then you probably have a whole different set of spending problems. For me, personally, it’s spending way too much on books. If you have a similar problem, then you might want to check this post out: Paperbacks vs eBooks | Which One is Worth Your Money?
3. I limit transport costs by putting most of my classes on the same days
Even though I get discounts on transport as a student, it still sometimes surprises me how much I actually manage to spend on transportation alone.
The price of going back and forth to uni all the time really adds up. So, I try to limit my expenses in this area as much as I possibly can by only going to campus on select days of the week. Of course, this sort of contributes to my lack of a social life, but you pick and choose what you get, right?
To cut down my transportation costs further, I also choose to walk over taking public transport whenever possible. Not only is this good for my bank account, but it’s also great for my mood and my mindset. I don’t think I need to tell you all the health benefits that come with more exercise.
4. I try to make sure that I don’t have huge breaks between my classes
I have a tendency to eat when I’m bored, and I get bored very easily.
So, I make sure that I don’t have enough time to get bored between classes. In case I do get hungry, I always ensure that I have a pack of snack bars in my bag. This way, I won’t be tempted to purchase anything just for the sake of easing my boredom.
This is also my number one rule for saving money: never shop when hungry. Let’s just say that the actual amount I spend doesn’t really cross my mind when I’m hungry. So, to prevent myself from overspending, I make sure that I always have a snack bar in my bag that will sustain me until I get home.
5. I use cash instead of my debit card to prevent myself from making too many impulse purchases
I have a tendency to make impulse purchases, especially when it comes to anything food or stationery related.
There was a period of time when I thought that using a debit card was cooler than simply using cash. There was just something about tapping to pay that was very appealing to a teenage me.
I remember that I used to use my card for even the smallest amounts of money. Thinking back on it, I can’t believe I tapped my card instead of paying cash for items that cost as little as $1.
Looking back at that period of my life, I had no concept of budgeting and I honestly had no idea how much I was spending week to week. It was more of a: ‘I know I have enough in my bank account so I’m going to spend it’.
It was a dangerous thought process and one that led me to spend much more than I ever intended to.
Of course, that was the period when I noticed that my money was going down the drain. So, when I got into university and had the sudden realisation that I would have to pay for so much more, I realised that I had to change my entire mindset regarding my finances.
So, the age of the credit card was over for me and it was back to the age of cash.
Even though it’s a bit of an experience to see every cashier automatically assume I’m going to pay with card and then me having to correct them, it’s definitely a decision that sees me spend a lot less money on unnecessary items, which is my ultimate goal.
So, if you’re struggling with impulse purchases or buying too many unnecessary items, you might want to try moving over to using cash exclusively and leaving the card for emergencies or expenses that have to be paid online.
I will be honest and say that using cash has made it a lot harder to track my spending because I tend to lose my receipts. But, I have peace of mind knowing that when I do spend money, I’m spending it on something that I won’t regret.
If you’re a stickler for writing down every expense, you can try downloading a spending tracker app so that you can input information every time you spend any money. Personally, as long as I have a general idea of how much I’m spending every week, I’m not too fussed about that.
6. I purchase second-hand whenever I can
It was around the time that I realised that I would have to purchase so many more clothes for day-to-day wear at university, that I got into shopping more sustainably. At first, thrifting was more of a way to save money. After a while, it became more about doing good for the environment and taking responsibility for my own carbon footprint.
Since I had a uniform throughout primary school and high school, I really underestimated how much it would cost to buy, essentially, a whole new wardrobe. So, like many young adults out there, I got into the whole trend of fast fashion.
However, I soon realised that while purchasing fast fashion pieces would work for me in the short run, it was extremely cost-ineffective and not sustainable for the environment in the long run.
Since I didn’t have the funds to purchase high-quality, sustainable fashion pieces, I decided to look into more budget-friendly options. Of course, that led me to discover thrifting and second-hand shopping. It was an option that was good for both my wallet and the environment.
Now, the vast majority of my clothing purchases are from thrift stores. And, since my fashion choices keep changing throughout the year, thrifting is a great way for me to discover new styles and trends at a fraction of the retail price.
So, if you’re a student on a budget who wants to expand their wardrobe, thrifting is a great option to explore. The amazing thing about thrifting now is that you don’t even have to go in-store anymore. There are so many apps and online stores such as Depop, Poshmark and Thredup that will deliver your thrifted pieces right to your door.
7. I set a clear divide between savings and everyday spending
One of the best ways that I’m building up my savings is to set a clear divide between my savings and everyday spending. I don’t allow myself to take any money out of my savings account unless I need it for a large necessary expense or it’s an emergency. This way, my savings account never goes down and only ever goes up.
Of course, it’s tempting to take money out and spend it on whatever I want to. But, I make sure to sleep on any major expense decisions so that I don’t make any impulse purchases.
To make sure that I always have enough money for emergencies, transport and other weekly expenses, I try to keep approximately $100 in my spending account all the time. So, whenever there is money coming into my account, I will always transfer most of it into my savings and leave $100 in my spending account.
8. I set myself no spend weeks and allow myself to purchase small rewards
Even though I’m strict with my spending, there are inevitably still times when I make impulse purchases. That’s usually when I will set myself one or two no-spend weeks to get my spendings back on track.
Of course, these no-spends don’t include necessary expenses such as food, drinks and transport. They are only put in place to prevent me from making unnecessary purchases.
If I’m successful in making it to the end of my no-spend period, I allow myself to buy something small as a reward. Some might argue that rewarding myself negates the whole no-spend business. But I like to think of it as motivation and an incentive to save money and work towards that reward.
Those are 8 habits that save me the most money as a student!
Are you a student who knows of other ways to save money? Leave them down below!