Two years down, one to go. As I entered my final year of study at college I took a moment to sit down and think about how my spending habits have changed from my 1st year in college to now. I think it is safe to say I have learned a few tricks to help you save a few bob here and there, so I thought why not share with you? Even if you only save as little as €10 a week, it all adds up.
Tips For Saving Money In College
Tip #1 - Don’t overdo it on the weekly shop
This is something my mother used to constantly warn me about, and I really should have taken her advice sooner. Moving away from home and becoming independent means you have to fend for yourself, and feed yourself. It’s easy to get carried away when doing your food shop, thinking ‘FINALLY, I can buy the food I actually WANT to eat! No more junk food, dream bod here I come!’. But the fact of the matter is college life is hectic, you wont always have time to cook a wholesome dinner each night, even though you think you will.
A lot of the food you buy will go straight back into the bin, and there is no worse feeling than seeing your money wasted like that. Instead, try buying foods you can get dinner out of for more than one night a week, or something as simple as going halves with your friend/housemate on dinner one or two nights a week can be a big help. Also, Lidl and Aldi will be your best friends. If one is not convenient to you, make sure to take advantage of the Dunnes Stores and Tesco loyalty cards!
Tip #2 - Invest in a flask
If you are anything like me and you require in and around 7 cups of coffee on a typical day then this will help you BIG TIME. I had gotten myself into an awful habit of buying coffees here and there without actually taking into consideration just how much they were setting me back a week. If I made my 9am lecture? Mocha as a reward. Hour off in between classes? Great time to grab a coffee. Walking home and hands getting a bit chilly? A coffee will heat them right up. But spending just €2.50 a day on a coffee meant I was spending €12.50 a week and €50 a month…ON COFFEE.
Instead, buy yourself a cute flask and fill it up with coffee or tea in the mornings, TK Maxx have a great range of them. Missy loves this But First, Coffe mug!
Don’t try and stop cold turkey though, you can still treat yourself to that hazelnut latte…but try limit it to once a week.
Tip #3 - …and a lunchbox
If you know you’re going to have a long day in college then simply bring a packed lunch. For a while, I almost felt embarrassed about bringing in a packed lunch but soon you’ll realise it’s actually very common and really will do your purse a favour. Instead of spending €3/4 on a pre-packaged sandwich, bring your own along with some fruit or nuts for you to snack on to keep you feeling full for the day.
Tip #4 - Open a savings account
Now, most of you probably already have a savings account much like myself. However, my ‘savings’ account was actually used to fund my extreme addiction to online shopping as it was linked to my debit card, making it all just far too easy. The trick here is to keep this account along with opening another savings account, a real savings account.
If you’re with AIB and take advantage of their mobile banking app everything is right there in front of you. You can then use this app to transfer money from your debit account into the savings account, meaning you can’t just recklessly spend whatever money is on your card. Trust me when I say this little hack has done me the world of good! Bear in mind, I definitely still recommend to keep some dolla bills on your card in case of an emergency, or be sure to keep a small amount of cash on you.
Tip #5 - Make a Depop account
This is honestly one of the things that saved me during my incessant spending on clothes. If you’re unaware of the concept of Depop it is basically an app where you can buy and sell clothes. It has been around since 2011 but has really grown in the past 2/3 years. I am a huge fan of the app, it is safe so long as you purchase/sell through the app and you can find some amazing bargains there too! I used it as an extra little source of income and highly recommend you give it a go.
You can follow my Depop @idkveronica.
Tip #6 - Budget for your night out
And most importantly, leave the card at home! The invention of contactless payment was created by the devil himself. So do yourself a favour, leave the card behind and avoid the absolute fear of waking up the next morning and having to check your bank balance. Instead bring cash, just enough for a drink or two inside the club, the taxi home and garlic chips if the food after a night out is a holy ritual for you, like myself.
Read More: Tips For Staying Safe On A Night Out
So, there you have it. Just a few of the small ways I’ve learned to save money without feeling like I’m making myself suffer, hopefully some of the tips are helpful to you.
Have you any tips for saving money in college?