The Griff

How-to: Save money

Lifestyle

How-to: Save money

Sticking to a budget on a 
student income

Alright, so you want to save some of that hard-earned cash, and you’re wondering how to go about it. You’re also hoping to do it in a way that still allows you to enjoy university life. Don’t you worry, because we’ve got some helpful tips and tricks to make sure that green stays in your pocket where it belongs.


STICK TO YOUR PLAN

Sticking to your budget will definitely take some getting used to, and sacrifices will probably have to be made. You may not be able to get that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream you’ve been craving for weeks, but in the end your wallet will thank you. Planning before you go shopping for anything is a good idea. It will help to ensure that you’ll buy what you actually need, not something that you want at the time and regret buying later. You can splurge on that ice cream as a treat for following your budget for a month.

BE A SMART SHOPPER

In addition to having a plan of action, you can save a few bucks by using the stuff reality TV shows have been bred from: coupons, flyers, and sales. Just make sure you don’t use every coupon you snatch up and end up buying things you don’t need. Save your coupons for products you can’t live without — unless you really need that designer shirt, in which case coupon to your heart’s content. Flyers and sales can help inform you of money saving deals and discounts. And come on, who doesn’t like a bargain?

HOMEMADE GIFTS FROM THE HEART

Purchasing gifts can be a stressful task, not to mention a strain on your finances. You might worry that your gift really doesn’t suit that individual or that the prices are just too high, forcing you to go the gift card route. Fear not, the solution is here in the form of homemade gifts. The presents you make your loved ones demonstrate that you’ve put time and effort into their gift, and that you care, which is worth something. Also, it could give you the opportunity to learn new skills, from knitting to painting or even wood carving.


BUDGET TIP
Anyone wanting to iron out the details of their budget should look into apps like Mint. Great for students, it helps you develop a healthy budget and track your spending habits.


LEFTOVERS HAVE UNBRIDLED POTENTIAL

You may view your uneaten leftovers with disgust, but turn that sneer into a look of awe because those leftovers have the potential to taste even better than when they were a fresh meal. Adding new spices and fresh ingredients can give leftovers a boost, allowing you to discover a food combo you never knew existed. It’s all about testing various flavors and seeing how they work together, whether you create a dish that draws a hallelujah from the choir or inspires a cherished memory. The choices are all up to you. Experiment and you may come across food as good as that of a Food Network chef.

GOING OUT DOESN’T NEED TO BE EXPENSIVE

A major drain on a university student’s funds is that of going out and partying. Though you may love going to bustling bars and fancy restaurants, sometimes the best place to hang out is at home with some drinks, movies, cards, and board games. No one can say no to a good game of the classic Monopoly or the hit Cards Against Humanity. In addition, free venues are a fantastic idea. Taking a walk in the park for some fresh air or going biking in the river valley will give you some enjoyable exercise.

Furthermore, taking advantage of free admission days at certain establishments is a worthwhile venture. For instance, the Art Gallery of Alberta has free admission year-round for post-secondary students, and free admission on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings for everyone else.


Graphic by Kia Valdez Bettcher.