Creative ways to reduce spending and increase savings at school are much needed especially when there is a slump in the economy and your family may be badly affected. A college education is a necessity these days and it does not make sense to drop out of it even if the financial situation at home is in a tight spot. Success comes with determination and perseverance, and poverty in the mind is much worse than being financially incapacitated.
Use the ideas below to help you pull through difficult times:
* Cheap clothes do not necessarily mean clothes that are not fashionable. Flea marts and smaller shops may have just the clothes that will not dig too deep a hole in your pocket and fit you snugly to give you a smart and confident look. Hand-me-downs that have been well-preserved come cheap and you will likely be the only one who notice that they are not new clothes. You could dress them up with a new button or sequins here and there and give them a new and fashionable look.
If your college requires you to don a uniform, make friends with graduating students who are about your size or have friends your size. They are likely more than glad to give their uniforms to you upon their graduation. Bear in mind that you go to a college to get an education and not participate in fashion parades.
* Store knowledge as notes or directly in your head. Texts are likely the next major expenses at college. However, do note that a recommended text or reading list is different from compulsory texts that you would need to refer to often. Texts on a recommended reading list may be found in the college library and need not be purchased. You might even be lucky to find them among your seniors and inherit their notes and assignments as well.
Although it is sad to know people who horde library books, you would be likely to find the same books in the local library or obtain them by collaborating with your classmates. If a group of you are able to work at making notes from various texts and sharing them, you not only save money buying the texts but also time reading and making your own notes.
There is likely a bookstore that specialises in used texts in your town or on your college grounds. Books sold in such a bookstore are cheaper although they may not look as presentable as freshly printed copies. Think of it as your contribution towards saving the Earth if you are able to find what you need in this bookstore.
* Use the school’s or library’s computers to complete assignments. The Woodlands Civic Centre National Library Branch in Singapore is an exemplary library with electrical sockets near study tables and along the walls for people to plug in and do their research and immediate writing for their assignments. Use of the socket points is closely monitored so that abuse is eliminated. Besides, the library is likely a more conducive place to study and complete assignments than your cosy dormitory with its tempting bed.
Do be wary of computer viruses. Always date the drafts and send them via electronic mail to yourself and save it in soft copy on a computer diskette, a thumbdrive, or aportable hard drive. Do not take chances with storage equipment as they get corrupted easily. Always remember to send your latest drafts to yourself via electronic mail.
* Boil and bring your own water rather than buy aerated or mineral water. It is healthier to drink water than aerated or mineral water. The body needs water to run well but sweetened water only makes the blood flow sluggishly and we end up feeling drowsy and sluggish after an initial high. Besides, you could save dollars a week by cutting out aerated and bottled mineral water. Bring along an empty litre to two-litre water bottle and fill it up at a clean water cooler in school and you save even more money.
If you take sips of water at regular intervals, your body will be well-hydrated and you will not feel hungry for snacks inbetween main meals. Besides, you will also find yourself yearning less for the unhealthy sugars in soft drinks that will slowly accumulate into excess carbohydrates and damage your beautiful teeth. This will help you save money that you may otherwise carelessly spend on unhealthy snacks and upset your regular mealtimes.
* Bring your own meals, drinks and snacks. If you prefer fruits, juices or canned drinks, bring your own from home, or buy in bulk from supermarkets and stock up your dormitory. It will definitely cost you less than those purchased from the cafeteria or the drink vending machines.
Do the same for meals and snacks. If you stay in the college grounds and go home on weekends, pack bread and leftovers and store them in your mini-refrigerator in your dormitory. Chicken, ham or turkey breast meat needs just a little warming in the food warmer to make a great filling in club sandwiches. Dice it up and mix it into salad, bring along a pre-packed salad dressing and you have a wholesome breakfast, lunch or dinner.
* Invest in exercise rather than expense-incurring relaxation. Make use of school facilities for exercise and relaxation instead of traveling to town for a movie or a bowl. Make it a habit to built exercise or games sessions into your daily schedules so that you have adequate relaxation to help you recuperate from your hectic studies. Stretches are easy and useful exercises in between classes. Keep a pair of dumb bells in your bag or your locker and you will find the ten odd minutes of stretching your muscles from head to toes a simple way of releasing the built up carbon dioxide and toxins in your body and increasing your capacity for your intake of oxygen.
Have an eye shut or a simple eye and facial massage and practice deep breathing while waiting for the next class to begin. By ensuring that you are in tip top condition throughout the day, you decrease the chances of experiencing fatigue at the end of the day that cause you to have a complete shut down and a need to indulge in expense-incurring entertainment.
* Split your allowance into daily portions, emergency fund and savings. You may not have much pocket money. However, a prudent mind and a frugal lifestyle will ensure that you will live comfortably during your college days and have a fulfilled life at college.
Firstly, keep aside an amount that you will need to use, for example, your tithes and subscription fees. Keep an amount for savings, even if it is but a few dollars. Next, put aside another amount as an emergency fund. Finally, divide the rest of the allowance into daily portions. It is easier to keep to your allowance if you know your daily limit than keep your money as a lump sum. If you do save a little each day, the extra may go towards something you have been longing to have or do during the weekend.
College days set the pace for managing yourself during adulthood. The faster you get into good habits independently, the more able you will be to ensure success in college and in your life as a working adult.