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Saving money is about staying organized

by Danielle Gasher October 6, 2015
Saving money is about staying organized

Managing a budget is no easy task, but luckily you can do it with these four steps

Being a student comes with many joys. We’re covered in the areas of intellectual stimulation, skill-learning and networking. However, the student package often also comes with continuous and exhausting brokenness (yes, brokenness).

Graphic by Charlotte Bracho.

Graphic by Charlotte Bracho.

As YouTube star Jenna Marbles once said, “you know you’re an adult when you have to buy stuff you don’t want to buy.” So yes, we have tiny salaries, little sleep, lots of homework and bills. The most valuable thing I have learned is that it’s not how much you make, it’s how much you save. Saving money just takes organization. Now I could go on with the quotes, but before I go all Yoda on you, here are four money-saving tips to live by.

  1.     Know your worth

It sounds deep, but it’s important. Don’t listen to Scotiabank, you are NOT richer than you think. Money comes in slow but leaves us darn quick. Be aware of your finances. Keep your pay stubs, keep track of how much in tips you make, and keep track of any other income or investments you’ve got going on. Then, you can really know what you can spend, and go on to make a budget.  Being aware is the basis of any good relationship with your bank account.

  1.     Make a budget

Once you know your worth, budgeting becomes easier. A budget doesn’t have to be laid out on an excel spreadsheet (although they are handy). Grab a notebook and jot down how much money you should allocate for food, transportation, entertainment, savings, and school each month.  When the numbers are down, make a tentative budget for each week. The first few weeks will be an adjustment phase, but that’s normal. Track your progress every week. Soon you’ll get into a rhythm and start to better understand the value of money, and better spot unreasonable prices. I’m looking at you, Starbucks.

  1.     Be a Deadbeat

People who pay their credit card in full and on-time every month are called “deadbeats,” according to Investopedia because they don’t make money for credit card companies by paying late-fees. Not the loveliest nickname, but it’s a good one to have. Banks give away credit cards like Halloween candy. They’re not being generous, they want your interest money. Don’t give it to them. Try having a Visa routine: only pay stuff you have to pay every month on it. It differs for everyone, but it can include your Opus card, internet, hydro and rent. After the necessary “fixed expenses,” are determined, if you can, charge a treat!  It might be new clothes, a concert or a movie. Once you get the hang of your credit card spending, your bill should look pretty much the same every month, which will make it easier to plan and pay it in full and on time.

  1.     Don’t be too proud.

We are students. We are not rich. Don’t pick up the bill for you and a friend just to be nice if you can’t afford it. It’s very sweet of you, but it’s not your responsibility to pay for others.  You will have your whole life to shout “drinks are on me!” Find alternatives to brunch and cocktails every week. Stay in with a couple friends, watch movies and make a homemade meal instead. Montreal always has free events going on, so do some research. Exercise is free. Grab some pals over the weekend and go for a run, bike, walk, hike…whatever floats your boat.

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