Between classes, friends and schoolwork how much we spend on a day-to-day basis as students can get lost in the mix. Yet money is one of the many stresses we as students face. Whether it is college loans, car payments or paying for groceries every week we all have finances we are responsible for. Our financial wellness is a large factor in our lives and maintaining “financial zen” is important.
I decided to see exactly how much I was spending in just a week’s time to reevaluate my own personal finances in hopes of being more aware of my spending. During the course of a week I kept all my receipts and waited until the end of the week to track my findings and I did learn a lot about how I am spending my money.
Keeping track for a week I found out many things about how I spend my money and about myself.
The Financial Burden of Coffee
The first being that I buy way too many cups of coffee. In just a week’s time I spent about $13 on coffee. While this may not seem like a lot it does add up over time, which means on average every month I spend $52 just on coffee. How to fix such a simple problem was my biggest challenge. While I like to think giving up my caffeine addiction would be the best choice, most likely that would not last or work for me. I decided investing in my own coffee maker would be the best way to go out being finically smart. I found a simple small coffee maker for about $30 and my favorite bag of coffee grinds for about $6. I also found that I am drinking less coffee because I am making my own, not ordering it, which of course in the end will be good for my overall addiction to coffee.
The Financial Burden of Eating Out
Another added expense that college students can fall into is eating out. While eating out is much easier than cooking dinner at home, it’s not always the best choice for your budget. In just a week’s time I spent a more than $20 eating out, which can quickly add up if I spend that much every week. Of course we are all busy and sometimes grabbing something from Union Court or Zeke’s Café is a must. If you are still living on campus and have an unlimited meal plan then use that to your advantage and grab something quick from the dining hall or take a meal to go. If you are like me and living off campus, try packing a lunch the night before if you know you have a busy day ahead. I have begun doing this and found that I am saving money and also eating a lot healthier.
While tracking my own week of spending made me somewhat shocked and disappointed in how I was spending my money it definitely got me thinking on how I can be a better spender. UNH Health Services offers CashCourse, an interactive website on financial management that is FREE for students.
CashCourse allows you to print off worksheets to track more long term expenses. I found it very helpful in giving great tips and tricks on how to better save money. Simple things such as buying in bulk such as toiletries will save you lots of money in the long run. Also asking stores if they have student discounts because why not take advantage of that if you can?
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