Trying to manage being in a full time college student, having a social life and working a part time job can be seriously tough work. Having three months off for summer seems great as it gives you a great opportunity to travel; but that requires money, which requires saving, something that may seem impossible during the term.
However, I think saving is possible in college – not easy, but possible. With a bit of thought and planning, you can save a few euros every week that will lead to a nice little sum by the end.
Here are some seriously simple tips on how to save whilst in college:
1.Packed lunches are key.
You don’t realise the money you will save by meal prepping over buying lunch in college everyday. Whether you live at home or in rented accommodation, you will save money by making your lunch at home versus buying on campus. Spend a few minutes each morning making a bagel or sandwich and you’ll be sorted for the day. Time to get the lunch box from primary school back out!
2. Set up that Direct Debit.
A great thing to have set up is a direct debit payment in your bank account. You pick a date every couple of weeks or month, a certain amount of money will come out of your account and go into another account of your choice. Maybe it will come out of your Current Account and into your Saving Account. I personally pick my credit union account for the money to go into, as you can’t access it online. Pick a manageable amount for the income you’re making – no need to put away 75% of your wages! – and it will all add up.
I am in no way condoning binge drinking. But you know the nights out that always kill your bank account are the spontaneous ones, where you end up buying each drink. Pre-drinking responsibly is a great way to save some dosh. You can spend a little more time with your friends before you hit the club and save yourself some unnecessary spending.
4. Depop your bits.
To all the girls out there, you know you have so many lovely clothes that you haven’t worn in over year sitting in the back of your wardrobe. My rule is if I haven’t worn it in a year, then I part ways with it. I love donating to charity, and think it’s so important to give back, but some things may have cost you a fair bit, and, let’s be honest, you only wear some of them once. Depop is your best friend in this instance. It’s like Instagram but for selling clothes. Those payments can go straight into the credit union.
5. Stay away from Penneys.
Impulse buying will be the death of you guys and gals. Penneys is my weakness, and once I go in I always seem to spend a minimum of €50. So only go shopping when you need something, and stick to your list. Or else.
6. Buy your summer clothes early.
I know everyone needs to pick up new things when you have a summer trip planned, but buying your whole new summer wardrobe right before you head off on your trip will cost you a small fortune. A great call is to shop early. In January/February the sales are excellent, and if you buy discounted summer clothes then you won’t have to pay the sometimes ridiculous prices that shops can charge coming up to the summer months.
7. Transport is a killer on the bank account.
Whether you usually drive or take public transport, save yourself and walk or cycle where possible. Simple but effective. Petrol is expensive and so is public transport, so when you can get those steps in.
8. Piggy Banks are back.
Now don’t laugh, but get yourself a container to put loose change in. Trust me it works. If you have a container that you have to break to get into, you will surprise yourself and save up a nice little stash. Before I went on my J1 last year, I threw all of my loose change in it for 6 months, then brought it to a money counter machine, and came out with a tidy €550. Nothing funny about that!
9. Avail of student discounts.
Choose where you shop carefully. There are so many brilliant student discounts out there, so why not use them? Especially when online shopping, make sure you’re signed up to UNIDAYS because they have some serious discount codes. And there’s no harm in asking whenever you go somewhere if they have a student discount, because a lot of places will surprise you! Every little helps. Campus.ie also have a whole host of discounts that make student life that will bit easier.
10. Leave the Debit Card at home.
Getting in a habit of leaving your debit card at home when heading out for the night will be one of the best things you do. You always spend that extra few bob on drinks you definitely don’t need, and spend a bomb in places like Babylon when you can just make a nice little ham and cheese toastie when you get home. If you just bring the cash you’ll only spend what you have!
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