Coffees, lunches and new notebooks add up and can take a large chunk out of your bank account. A lot of our expenses come from these little items that don’t seem like a big deal individually, but cost hundreds of dollars when you look at the big picture.
A good first step to limiting spending is to keep track of it. Every time you spend five dollars on a coffee or ten dollars on lunch, make a note of it somewhere. Otherwise, it can be hard to even remember how much money you’re spending per week on extras. Once you can see what your little-luxury, big-cash items are, it becomes obvious if you need to limit it.
Coffee is probably the worst offender when it comes to spending unnecessary cash. Twenty-five dollars a week on coffee means 100 dollars a month. You’re at school eight months a year for four years. That’s too much money to guzzle down with your morning bagels. However, if your limit your latté runs and brew your own coffee at home, you can get all of the caffeine your schedule demands and be able to buy your books next semester. A really nice one-pound bag of coffee grounds costs about 10 dollars. That 10 dollars worth of coffee will probably last about a month. Ten dollars is a lot less than the 100 dollars you would spend at the coffee shop.
Food is also way cheaper at the grocery store than it is at your favorite sandwich shop. When your wallet is always feeling light, A lot of the price for brand-name food comes from the marketing and the shelf placement. In other words, it costs more because the company is trying really hard to get you to buy it. Sure, some name brand food is just better, but a lot of it is fairly comparable to its generic brand counterpart. Trial and error, unfortunately, is the best way to find the generic brands that are just as good.
School supplies also add up quite a bit. The thing about stuff like paper and notebooks is that you use a lot of it. Buying in bulk can save a lot of money and time (because you won’t have to go back next semester to get more). You could also split a big pack of pens or bulk deal on notepads with a friend so that you don’t end up losing what you can’t immediately use.
There are lots of little ways to “penny pinch” and have some extra cash for next weekend. But it’s important to find something that works for you. Try thinking about your ordinary or daily habits, and look for new ways to avoid or change the ones that break the bank.