We’ve all been there: it’s nearing the end of the month and your next paycheck or allowance doesn’t come for another week, but somehow you’re already broke. Staying on top of your finances is hard, especially while you’re in college - between school, internships and your social life, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything you’re paying for. But there are things you might not realize you’re spending money on that are completely draining your bank account, and we have some tips to help you deal with them.
1. You’re a caffeine addict
It can be hard trying to make it through the day without a cup of joe. But making that daily stop at Starbucks or your campus coffee shop really adds up. As much as we love our pumpkin spice lattes on a cold day, spending even $3 a day on coffee is making you burn through your money faster than you would think. Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, chances are you’re still hooked on some form of caffeine. When Kirsten Ballard, a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill, gave up Diet Coke for Lent, she realized that she had been spending around $80 a month on it.
So how do you solve the problem? Don’t worry, we’re not about to tell you to quit drinking caffeine - talk about unrealistic! Instead, see if your roommates want to split the cost of a coffee maker. It may be a bigger expense now, but making your own coffee at home will save you money in the long run.
Temple University junior Lindsey Murray found that when she started making her own iced coffee, she was only spending $15 a week instead of $35. If you don’t have time to sit down and drink a leisurely cup of coffee in the morning before class, invest in a Klean Kanteen so you can carry your coffee on the go - it will keep your drinks hot or cold for hours and won’t make a mess when you toss it in your bag.
2. You’re a disorganized shopper
One of the worst things you can do for your bank account is go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. As soon as you walk into the store, you’ll be tossing things into your cart left and right just because everything sounds good.
To avoid spending money on things that you really don’t need, always make a list before you hit the store. Plan out your meals before you do your shopping, or jot down the things you need on your phone or in a notebook between classes. Knowing what you need before you go to the store will help you stick to a budget and avoid blowing all your money on those cookies that just look oh-so-good.
3. You wine...
You may love that campus bar (after all, it’s the MacLaren’s of your college years), but after a drink or two you might find that you’ve had a slight lapse in judgment and are spending way more than you intended. Even if you planned on just having one drink, you end up running up a tab weekend after weekend before you know it, and it’s really adding up.
To avoid wild spending on those fun nights out, take a minute to plan out your night while you’re getting ready. Decide how much you’re willing to spend and bring only that much in cash (but make sure you leave a little extra for getting home at the end of the night). Leave your debit and credit cards behind to make sure you stick to your budget.