When you’re accruing or paying off student loans every penny counts. And I mean that. Every. Single. Penny.
This doesn’t mean that you need to spend every minute obsessing over money.
Making and staying within a budget is more achievable than you may think!
Especially if you learn from the mistakes of others and follow some of their advice listed below.
Do Your Homework – Research
Always research before you buy something. Check different stores and look online for the best price. Sometimes the difference is a few dollars and sometimes it can be a lot more. Always remember when you feel fed up comparing prices that what you save can be used on a bill or put into a savings account.
Things Don’t Have to Be New
Buy used. I can’t stress this enough. Craigslist is an exceptional resource as well as Freecycle. It is surprisingly easy to find something you need in good condition.
This is an excellent tip about buying used once you are more financially secure: When you have an upcoming purchase, plan a budget to buy the item new. Do your research, find the item used if you can, then take the difference between what you would have paid retail and put it in your savings account. This way you will be accruing interest while saving for something you may need to pay retail on later.
Stop Eating Out Cook More at Home
Cooking at home may seem daunting. And the first few grocery runs can make you feel like fast food must be cheaper but I promise it’s not. Also there’s nothing like eating a delicious meal you made yourself. I would suggest investing in a crock pot.
The recipes for them are usually nice and simple. Also you can start it before you leave for work and have dinner hot and ready for when you get home. The Salvation Army is a good place to check for one.
It Tastes Better the Second Time Around
Learn to love leftovers. This tip may not apply to everyone. Personally I love leftovers while my husband won’t go near them if he can help it. Buying groceries is the thrifty decision but only if you eat all of what you make. If you’re not a fan of what lurks in Tupperware you can always try jazzing the meal up. Use a few fresh ingredients to change the flavor a little. Experimenting is a lot of fun and a thrill when you hit on a delicious idea.
Have Fun At Home
Stay in. It’s something a lot of people dread. Going out is a lot of fun, but it’s also where the most money is spent on impulse purchases. A movie out turns into dinner and usually shopping to kill time before it starts. Try staying home.
Popcorn is relatively inexpensive and it will give you a chance to re-watch those movies you have around the house. If you were hoping for an outing with friends consider inviting them over to join you. Friends can make even the most hum drum evening an event.
If you enjoy adult beverages ask each person to bring an ingredient for mixed drinks. That way no one has to bear the brunt of the bill but everyone can enjoy the product.
How Smart is Your Phone Really?
Ditch the smartphone. This is harder for some than others. I was madly in love with my phone but when push came to shove paying off my loans came first. There are very reasonable track phone plans out there. Contract plans tend to have a lot of hidden charges.
If you lose the data and stick to just talk and text you can save over fifty dollars a month. Losing the ability to look up everything you want whenever you want can seem daunting. I learned that most of the time my friends have their smartphones on them and don’t mind finding a phone number or address for me.
Following these tips will give you more money at the end of the month. They are also surprisingly painless! Being financially conscious becomes a habit quickly and will stay with you for life.