By Reubin Turner
A dollar here and a dollar there. You may not believe it, but one plus one does not always equal two. Especially if you’re looking at my budget. Sadly, it reveals an ugly truth — that pennies really do add up and make dollars. Sometimes, several of them.
College is a time when many college students go through the hustle and bustle of classes, work and internships. This is why it’s somewhat understandable that students barely have time to stop and look at their spending habits, considering the short amount of time students have. Paying attention to one’s finances, however, can have huge benefits both now and later.
For instance, last week when looking at my budget, I realized that over one-third of my budget was spent on eating out. After freaking out for a good 30 minutes, I began to realize that there was a possible solution — buying groceries. This is especially useful for college students because they are single. By doing so, I should be able to save a significant portion of the amount I would have spent eating out.
Some of you, like myself, may struggle with the issue of time. However, one suggestion is to begin food preparation the night before. Food preparation is normally the most time-consuming part of cooking, so preparing it during your free time can be really beneficial. Not only to your diet, but to your wallet as well.
Another way students could effectively work to cut costs during college is to look for hidden fees, or try to avoid fees that don’t appear to be super costly. These hidden and “small” fees can add up. After seeing how quickly they do, you may be less inclined to accrue them.
For instance, being from Oklahoma, I have an account an Oklahoma-based bank. When I first came to college, I realized that I was being charged almost $5 every time I went to withdraw money from an ATM. After calculating the cost, I realized that I spent almost $20 in a month at the ATM. I went and signed up for an account at a national bank, one that had ATMs at various locations and would not cost to withdraw money. This has saved me hundreds of dollars throughout the years.
There’s a dangerous mindset that many students have concerning spending habits in college, and that deals with their laxity concerning money. Students should be aware, however, that loose spending habits can easily transfer over into the “real world.”