The Ultimate Guide to Saving Your Money + Free Budget Worksheets!
As a college student, I think we can all agree the biggest hardship is saving money, creating money, and paying bills. Since we moved to Thailand, we got a lot of questions about how we saved. How could we, as college students, afford to move abroad?
This post may contain affiliate links. For more information please visit the disclosure.
Well I’ll be honest it wasn’t easy, but being that Kyle and I both worked full-time jobs we were making pretty decent money. The hardest part was actually saving it. Every paycheck I made a trip to the bank to put away my money in savings, and we couldn’t touch it.
Related Post: How We Moved Abroad
Guide to Saving:
First and foremost, you’ll need to figure out a stream of some income. Whether you can work part-time, full-time or get an on-campus job. Obviously, you’ll need some sort of way to make an income. Always check your University’s site to see what kind of career programs they offer, and what sort of on-campus work you can manage your schedule.
Second, you’ll need to determine your expenses. Do you live on campus? Rent an apartment? Room with friends? Live at home? I lived at home my first year of college to save money, and my college was about a twenty-minute drive. It wasn’t until Sophomore year that I found an apartment and moved out on my own.
Expenses to account for: Food, Gas, Car payment, Cell-phone payment, Textbooks, Supplies, Furniture, Laptop etc.
Food: Always make a grocery list and stick to it! There are tons of ideas and lists you can find on Pinterest for whatever budget you’re on. Just search for something like “weekly meals for $25”
Gas: If you can carpool with your buddies, do it! If you live close to campus, walk!
Payments: Whatever payments you have such as your car, or cell-phone make sure these are a priority. Always pay your bills on time, and don’t let them reach the back burner.
Textbooks and School Supplies: I’ve always used my leftover student loan money to purchase these items as it’s all going towards my courses. I always suggest Amazon Textbooks to save big time on your textbooks. I’ve never paid of $200 a semester for books. Shop smarter, not harder.
Furniture and Household goods: Once you decide you want to live on your own you’ll need some basic items. Such as a couch, table, cookware etc. We were fortunate enough to receive hand-me-downs, and we didn’t complain whatsoever. These items can really add up. Always check on Craigslist or Facebook market for mildly used furniture.
When it comes Christmas time, it’s always great to ask for household items, and adult stuff ya know?
Side note- Kyle and I bought our very own couches and side tables all on our own two years ago. It was such an ‘adulting’ moment for us and I was so happy! We made sure to pay them off in a year. So, if you can afford another monthly payment and want to splurge make sure it’s within your means.
I’ve included in this post a college budget spreadsheet that you can download and save to your computer!
Ways to cut useless costs:
Gym Memberships: If your campus has a free fitness center- use it! Gym memberships can really add up, and the cost of gas too. If your campus doesn’t offer one then simply try working out at home and with a friend. Find some diy workouts at home on Pinterest. There’s tons of stuff you can do at home. Go for a run outside whatever it is!
New Clothes: If you’re like me this is pretty hard. I don’t want to be a hypocrite and say don’t buy new clothes. But I will suggest shopping smarter, not harder. Find retailers that offer student discounts. My favorite place to shop is Asos and they offer a student discount! Not only that but they also have brands such as Missguided and Adidas so it’s the perfect outlet.
One I recently started using is ebates, because you get cashback. So why not use it? They also have tons, I mean tons, of amazing deals on there.
Only shop for new clothes when you absolutely need to. It’s so tempting to buy a cute dress that you could use for next weekend’s night out. So, here’s a fun tip: Implement you’re at home work out with shopping for clothes. Reward yourself for reaching a new fitness goal by giving yourself a budget of money to spend on new clothes.
Eating Out Every Weekend: Holy Moly Kyle and I used to go out to eat a lot. Ya know this girl loves to eat. We used to eat out every weekend, and weeknights. It really started to add up, and we came to a realization how much we were really spending. Let alone just letting our groceries go to waste at home. So, we started having weekends in and cooking decadent dinners together, with a movie.
I like homemade food anyways, and I love cooking. Have your boyfriend, or girlfriend, over for a dinner night and take turns cooking. Kyle and I usually did this once or twice a month with another couple. Let me tell you it’s so much more fun to hang out with another couple, have a beer and enjoy homemade cooking.
Going out to bars: Hell yeah, you’re in college go out! Until you find that you can’t possibly cover the costs of the drinks, the uber, and the cover charges. I myself am more of a homebody so this is easier for me. I enjoy going out every now and then, but prefer to have get together at houses. It’s cheaper, you don’t have to worrying about someone driving, and you can have just as much fun.
Save each month: Determine how much money per pay period you can put back into savings. This is something that was very hard for me to do, but knew it just had to be done. You can either do this by calculating a certain percentage per month. I suggest using ‘savings’ as an ‘expense’ in your budget. Always put it in there no matter what, it’s not spendable money. Changing your mindset to oh this is like a payment, versus well it’s spendable money will discipline you.
No more Starbucks: I know I’m sorry, but really. I looked at my bank account after a new Starbucks was put up not even two minutes from my office, and wow. Please don’t waste your money. It’s okay to splurge on coffee now and then, but just make your own damn cup of coffee. Look up fun ways to jazz it up, and get a cute mug. Now that I’ve lived in Thailand for 3 months, and have spent less than a $1 on coffee, I can’t believe I wasted $4-$10 on one cup of iced coffee!!
Ditch cable: I have never had cable TV. I highly suggest Hulu and Netflix subscriptions and just paying for internet.
Don’t get your nails done every week: I love to have my nails painted, I actually hate when they aren’t painted but I’ve never paid for my nails to be done in college. The collection of nail polish I own is unreal. If you want an at home DIY manicure, you can check out my go to products below. The bonder makes the nail color bond to your nail so it stays longer, and the top coat is fast drying and gives it a nice gloss. Using cuticle oil every other day, prolongs the wear and condition to your nails. Always my go to routine for DIY manicure.
Last tip: You are a student, so always, ask for a student discount! It doesn’t hurt to ask. I remember Qdoba in town used to offer free drinks with a meal on certain days of the week. Ask your friends, and look online for student deals.
Phew, that was a long one but I hope these small tips can help you save. Once you really start to see your savings account grow, it will be a rewarding feeling- trust me!
Grab your freebies!
College Budget Spreadsheet & Meal Planning Sheets
Was this post helpful? Don’t forget to save it ♥