Boost Your Budget, Even in College

Living with a budget that has you surviving work-study check to work-study check while switching meals between ramen and PB&J isn’t fun. It is enough to make you wonder where are the endless adventures and good times that the colleges of Hollywood promised. But, with a few small changes, you’ll be surprised how much money can show up and how easy cutting your spending can be when you take a good, hard look at exactly where your money goes. Let’s begin…

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Pack a Lunch

If you are pulling at least one meal a day through a window, you are probably spending much more than necessary. It can be tempting with the spread of dollar menus and Groupons to assume it is cheaper. Plus, it is quicker and easier, so it is very easy to justify. add to that the feeling of “I deserve this,” and your budget is in danger.  Packing a lunch from home, before you rush out the door to class, is a much cheaper alternative and probably proves to be a healthier lifestyle in the long run. It will allow you to sock away an extra $10 per week while saving you from the scourge of the “Freshman 10”. Win-win.

Lose the Latte

You may love picking up a latte, Energy Drink, or other beverage on your way into work or school each morning, but do you really need it?

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You don’t have to be a cushion troll to survive college.

Home-brewed coffee probably does the same job in waking you up, and if you learn to make your perfect cup at home, it may even become your preference. Eliminating luxuries can make a big difference to your college budget or savings plan. For example, a Grande Vanilla Latte from Starbucks averages $4.67. If you bought one of these every weekday for 18 weeks a semester, it would add up to over $826 a year! Think of what else you could do with an extra $800!

Bottled water is another example of an extra expense. You may recall your parents whining about gas prices in the late 00’s when it was over $4.00 a gallon. But, if you buy bottled water at an average price of $1.59 per 16-20 oz. size, you are spending over $12.00 a gallon for something that comes free from the tap.  Instead, filter your own and keep it in a reusable bottle. You may even be helping the environment by cutting down on the massive amount of plastic discarded every day.

 

Get on the Bandwagon or at least a Bus

Hopping in your car, commuting to campus, and parking is the normal routine for thousands of students. If you took public transportation, carpooled, or used university transit instead, you’d save daily money on gas and parking fees, not to mention wear and tear on your vehicle. It also lets you relax, read, or catch up on your studying during your commute time. In fact, the U.S. saves 85 million gallons of gas per year by carpooling. Live close to campus? Why not ride your bike, get some exercise, and ditch parking woes and gas expenses all together? It could even help you get from class to class more efficiently as most campuses have bike racks much closer than parking lots to your destination building.

Memberships are Costly

You had great goals when you joined the gym, but how often do you really use your membership? Instead of running on a treadmill and paying for it, you can run in a park or in your neighborhood for free. Many campuses also have gyms for which you are already paying and will provide you access. Even better, many have trainers available for free in the form of fellow students who are working on degrees in Physiology, Kinesiology, or PE. This can save you anywhere from 20-40 dollars per month in most cases.

While we are looking at memberships, let look at a few others as well. Things like Hulu, Pandora, Spotify, Netflix, BirchBox and more all seem harmless but add up those 9.99 fees and they really start to drive a wedge through your best intentions. Take a hard look at any memberships you have to make sure you are actually benefiting from them. If not, cancel them and save!

Unplug It

if you live off campus you control some of your biggest monthly expenses. “Vampire Gadgets” may be sucking your budget dry. These are devices that continue to drain electricity even when they are turned off. Electronics like phone chargers, microwaves, televisions, and computers use energy all the time. The solution is simple: unplug them completely from the wall when you’re not using them. This can save up to 10% on your electric bill and is a good environmental practice in saving electricity.

Finally, if you are a Herring Bank customer with your online account activated, you should monitor your eStatement or online/mobile banking history to see where your money goes regularly. It will be simple to see where you are spending cash that doesn’t need to be spent. College years are lean necessarily, but there is still room for extra spending money, bill money, or even money to save if you are careful and take the time to monitor and plan your expenses.If you have questions about online banking, mobile banking, or anything else that may impact your budget, please call (855) 352-3772. A Herring Bank representative would be happy to help you!

If you have questions about opening a CollegeGreen account, online banking, mobile banking, or anything else that may impact your budget, please call (855) 352-3772. A Herring Bank representative would be happy to help you!

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