Making small adjustments can sometimes make a big difference
When you are enrolled in career training school, it can be hard to make ends meet. You might only be working part-time, or not working at all, and as a result, there is very little money coming into your bank account, but you still have to keep up with your bills. Every dollar counts, so try these money-saving tips, and see how much you can save!
Tip 1. Start by making a budget.
A budget is a plan for spending. Make budget each week by looking at the money you have (savings), the money you expect to earn (income), and how much money you think you will need to pay (your expenses). You want to be sure that your savings and income are higher than your expenses. A great tool to help organize this information can be found on the Federal Student Aid budgeting page. Having a budget is a good way to discipline yourself and cut back on overspending.
Tip 2. Skip the Starbucks and soda machine.
If you are spending $3 per day on drinks every Monday through Friday, you are spending $780 per year on drinks alone! Try to cut back by bringing your own refillable water bottle to school, getting a travel mug and making your coffee at home, or only allowing yourself to buy drinks only once a week.
Tip 3. Don’t buy new items when used ones are available.
Generally speaking, you can save money if you buy used items instead of new ones. This goes for cars, textbooks, clothing, furniture, electronics, computer equipment, and more. Try Amazon, Craigslist, and Ebay, and also look into local options such as consignment stores and thrift stores.
Tip 4. Do you lungs a favor—don’t smoke!
If you are a smoker, we don’t need to tell you that smoking is expensive. But have you ever added up how much you spend on cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or vaping each year? If you smoke a pack of cigarettes every day, you may be spending over $2,500 each year! Five years at this rate is $12,500! That’s a lot of money that could be better spent. So for the sake of your lungs and your pocketbook, see if you can quit. Here are some helpful tips on quitting smoking from the American Lung Association.
Tip 5. Watch your credit card spending.
Credit cards can be a tempting way to pay for your purchases, but be careful! You want to be sure that you have enough money to pay off the credit card each month. If you can only pay the minimum amount, the company will charge you interest. The next month, you will have to pay the old balance, plus your new charges, plus the interest. If you continue to pay only the minimum amount, the balance and interest will quickly get out of control. Don’t fall into this trap! Pay off your balance every month, or consider cancelling your credit cards until you have a steady job with a steady income. If you are already in debt, find advice for getting out of debt from the Credit Counseling Society.
Tip 6. Pay your bills on time.
First, take a look at your monthly bills, and see if there is anything you can eliminate:
- Can you go without cable until after you graduate?
- Can you cut back on your heating and air conditioning by adjusting the thermostat?
- Can you find a cheaper cell phone plan?
- Can you get a roommate to share expenses?
- Can you carpool to save gas money?
Once you have cut back, be sure to pay your remaining bills on time. You don’t want to get stuck paying late fees or having a collections agency getting involved and hurting your credit score. If there is truly no way to pay your bill, trying contacting the company. They may be able to offer a payment plan that stretches your payments over a longer period of time.
Tip 7. Watch what (and where) you eat.
If you eat out a lot, or buy prepared meals at the grocery store, you may be spending more than you need to be spending on food. Eating at home is a good way to save money, and watching what you spend at the grocery store is the next step. To make your grocery shopping more economical, plan out your meals each week, make a list of only the items you will need that week, and then stick to it. Using coupons, buying store brand items, and looking for sale items are other ways to save money while you shop.
These tips were provided by the Harris Casel Institute in Melbourne, Florida. Our school offers student advice, job readiness tips, and other helpful articles through our weekly blog. We are proud of the students enrolled in our career-focused training programs at Harris Casel: Medical Billing & Coding, Nursing Assistant, Patient Care Technician, Practical Nursing, Home Health Aide, and Phlebotomy/EKG. To learn more about these programs, fill out our simple online form.