How many times has someone advised you to budget your money? Managing a budget doesn’t sound fun; however, neither does starving!
So how can you make your funds last longer? It’s easier to manage your money and live within a budget than have to run all over campus trying to remember from whom you borrowed cash.
Instead of thinking about how much $50 can buy you and what to spend it on, think about making that money do the work for you. Try taking this challenge with a friend and see who can most effectively and efficiently manage $50 in 10 days.
Girls love guys who know how to manage their money wisely. Instead of buying video games and complaining they are too broke to go out, they are able afford a dinner and movie with friends on a weekend.
Guys love girls who don’t blow their budget on a weekend shopping spree. As a budgeting college student in my third year at Colorado State University, I have experienced the benefits of learning to manage money. I have also tried the $50 money management challenge on my own.
Meals: Food is expensive, especially if you are eating fast food or dining out all the time. It’s the 1 o’clock in the morning pizza delivery and that quick snack at the student center that can eat a hole in your wallet. Set aside $20-$25 for your 10 days and go to the grocery store.
Save big bucks by shopping with a list of items that you need. Using the local grocery store savings card, which is free to sign up for, gives you lots of deals. Start buying generic brands when you go to the store; this will help you save some money.
Clipping coupons might seem like a tedious task, but if it saves you $5 at the store, it will allow you to chip in for that 1 a.m. pizza on a Friday night. It’s the 8 a.m. class that causes you to run to Starbucks for that $2.50 cup of chai tea. You can get 10 cups of chai tea every morning for the same amount if you made it at home. Understand that you can’t cut out all your wants. But try going to Starbucks just once a week instead.
With $25 here is what I did. I bought things that would last for a couple of weeks and were easy to make, like pasta for dinner and sandwich stuff for lunch, but the Snickers bar at the checkout line was a buy I had to make. Nutrition is important, but if Raman Noodles sounds good for dinner one night, then stock up on that six-for-a-$1 deal.
Gasoline: A car is a big part of a college student’s life. Set aside $10 for gas for your car in those 10 days. I know what you’re thinking: $10 won’t fill up your car, but it’s not supposed to.
Shop around for gas prices; don’t go to the first gas station you see. Research different gas prices, and then go to the least expensive. Earlier this year in Northern Colorado, prices were up to 12 cents higher per gallon at some stations than at others. It doesn’t seem like much, but it can make a difference over time.
Use the car only for necessities like getting to and from work. Walk to school, take the local bus and catch a ride home with someone when going home for those needed weekends. A car should be seen as a last resort. If it’s too far to walk, or the snow is past your knees, then drive.
Entertainment: Universities and college towns are famous for offering great entertainment at low prices. All you need is $15 to make the weekend worth your while. Use your student ID card for a free ticket to a Friday night football or basketball game.
For your Saturday night, rent a video for $4 instead of going to the movies for $8. However, if you just have to go to that new Adam Sandler movie, bring your student ID and get a discount.
Share a drink for $3 with your date; it’s more romantic anyway. Free concerts and school productions make for a fun evening without having to spend any money. These types of events are advertised in your college campus newspaper, or even the local newspaper that you can use for free at the library. Get a group together and see what events are being held on campus.
Keep in mind that money management equals resource management. Budgeting can prevent you from having to munch on stale potato chips when your food money runs out early. Don’t spend the last two months of the semester scanning the sidewalks for loose change.
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