Ah November, the month of registration (for everyone except sophomores, grr!), Thanksgiving break, dwindling UNH Dining Dollar balances, and stress! I’m not just talking about class related stress. I’m talking about financial stress as well. It seems as though the day after Halloween everyone was in the Christmas mood. The Hallmark channel has been playing Christmas movie after Christmas movie and there are already commercials advertising holiday sales! For a financially challenged college kid, November can be a very overwhelming month, indeed.
It’s no mystery that college kids are a little financially challenged. I’ve been guilty of sending out more than one tweet including the common hashtag, #brokecollegekidprobs. But how do these so-called “broke college kids” survive during these last few weeks of the semester when the holiday season is approaching and pressure to get the perfect gift for mom is looming? Well, I’m here to offer some suggestions!
If you have a job on or off campus, great! There’s nothing greater than waking up on payday with a nice addition to your bank account. As tempting as it might be to take the Portsmouth bus to the Fox Run Mall and spend your hard earned money on clothes, video games, or whatever, try to save some of your paycheck. When I get paid, all of my money goes into my savings account except for $15 which I allow for spending. This way, I can still go to the mall or downtown Portsmouth and have fun, but I won’t be tempted to spend my entire paycheck.
Also look for ways of cutting back. Maybe skip out on that morning latte at Aroma Joe’s. Think about it this way: if you get a $3 coffee Monday-Friday, that’s $15 a week or $60 a month! I’m not saying cut coffee out of your routine altogether (God knows us college students need a little pick me up every once and a while) but cutting out 2 cups a week could save you $24 a month! Think about how much money that would save you in a year! Saving a little now goes a long way!
If you still find yourself wondering where the heck all of your money is going, create a budget! This doesn’t have to be crazy; you can keep it really basic! Just keep a notebook and jot down how much you earn. Also, write down each time you spend money whether it be on pizza or a UNH t-shirt from the bookstore. This way, you’ll never be confused as to where your money is going again!
Last but not least, if all else fails, gifts don’t have to be expensive! Pinterest (which I cannot rave about enough) has some great ideas for cheap, handmade gifts! Handmade gifts are really personal, too so it’s a win-win! If Pinterest doesn’t inspire you, go to your local Michaels (my favorite store) and browse around for ideas. I’m sure you’ll find something that interests you!
But in the meantime, save money, study hard, and start planning for spring semester!