From realising what you spend your money on to the pitfalls of your debit card, Holly Kenny gives us her top tricks and tips to help you save money.
Learning to save money on a continuous basis is one of the hardest things to learn in your life. I’m the first to admit that I’m still learning. Here are some tips and advice I’ve realised and used along the way.
 
Look at what you’re spending your money on
I have a debit card and sometimes when I look at my bank statements I think, ‘oh my god, I had so much money for a while. Why on earth did I spend it all? What did I spend it all on?’ so I would look at the main things I was wasting my money on and try to spend less. 
 
I’d find sometimes that I had have spent fifty euro in Boots and have no recollection of what I had even got that day that was useful. 
 
If you find that maybe you’re spending a little too much on boohoo.com or proteinworld.com, perhaps it’s time to visit the website a little less. There’s less temptations to buy things that way.
 
Don’t pay for everything with your card
Debit cards are very handy to have all your money in one place, but it’s a divil when it comes to paying for things with it. 
 
I found that when I paid for everything with my card I’d often have no money left and have the awful embarrassment of a cashier looking at ‘Insufficient Funds’ displayed on her computer screen. 
 
If you take out a little bit when you’re going shopping, not only does it give you a limit to spend on, but it also gives you a better picture on just how much money you’re spending in a week. 
 
Do you really need to get random skincare products when you have about seven more unused ones at home?
 
Never go food shopping when you’re hungry
Just don’t do it. When you’re hungry and shopping for food you get cravings for everything and suddenly you’ve added about twenty euro to what was going to be a very cheap shop. 
 
Strictly stick to your shopping list and you can’t go wrong. Always include one treat in your shopping list, that way you won’t be tempted to sneak in twenty packets of crisps into your basket. 
 
Maybe you can put those seven packets of Oreos back and maybe that box of twenty-one chocolate chip muffins can go too.
 
Don’t buy clothes on an impulse decision
Every time I go shopping for clothes, I never spend anything on my first day of looking. It makes the process a little longer, but I find that if something is worth going back to the store for; you will probably get your money’s worth from it. 
 
If I find something I really like in shops like Top Shop or River Island costing a chunk more than I thought, I take a picture of it and search for similar alternatives in slightly cheaper shops. 
 
You might even find an alternative in a thrift shop. You can find absolute gems in Penney’s for a fraction of the price. Get ready for the heaps of compliments coming your way!
 
You don’t have to go out every night
I might sound like the most boring college student ever, but going out really was what I spent most of my money on at the start of my first semester. 
 
I found that when I was going out more, I had no money for good food, transport or for necessities. In fact sometimes I left a mere two euro for me to survive the whole weekend on for food - that’s Friday, Saturday and Sunday). It was so annoying especially if I wanted to visit a friend during the weekends. 
 
I pick one night to go out with my friends now per week and I save about 30 euro in doing so! Maybe for a change have a house party? They’re so much cheaper than going out and there’s no taxi fare in the process.
 
Think of events ahead of time
In college you can find particularly during RAG week, Fresher’s week or when there’s a ball coming up that maybe your grand escapades during the semester have left you broke with no money for a ticket. 
 
Think of events ahead of schedule and budget your money during the previous weeks leading up to an event. It means you’ll have more money to spend on the event and it’s certainly better than one average night out that you spent all of your money on. 
 
Perhaps you want to go to Electric Picnic in the summer? Well try saving continuously during the year for that, because I think we all know it’s definitely worth it!
 
Hang out with your friends in cheaper places
Go for a walk in the park, visit a free event or even expand your minds with a free trip to a museum or art gallery. 
 
Cinemas and pints in the pub can get pricey so maybe have your friends around at home and have a few tins or host a movie night (cliché, but it’s cheaper) and you save about ten or fifteen euros that way. Not too bad.
 
If you use dear products, search for a cheaper alternative
This is particularly for make-up. Make-up used to be one of the things I spent most of my money on. I would hesitate buying a sweet pair of jeans from River Island for fifty euro, but if you handed me an Urban Decay Naked palette I’d literally throw my fifty euro at the cashier. 
 
I realised how much I was spending on makeup when I looked at what else I could get for a fraction of the price. I did a bit of experimenting with cheaper products and I eventually found my holy grail for whatever product I was looking for. 
 
The high-end products are fabulous and the label is nice to brag about, but when someone else comes up to you with something that is just as good in quality for less than half the price? Well, you look like an idiot don’t you? 
 
BH Cosmetics has top quality brushes and make-up for as much as eight dollars (a fiver in euro I think) and they are definitely worth it!
 
So there you have it, eight ways I learned how to save money during my first year of college. You learn from your mistakes essentially and I made a lot of mistakes when it came to spending money. 
 
I hope you learned something out of it!