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Rags to Riches Story: 5 Tips to Manage Your Monthly Expenses

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Delhi South chapter.

Money money money

Must be funny

In a rich man’s world

~ ABBA, 1976

And funny it must be, but sadly being a college student in this time and age mostly means being broke and trying to figure out where exactly did your monthly allowance fly away? If you feel the same way, don’t be disheartened, because the feeling is very much mutual. Being on your own for the first time and not having a responsible figure to ration your needs and wants can be a heady feeling, but scary at the same time. You are technically an adult so you want to prove to your parents that you are responsible so asking them for additional money is out of the question, but the sad truth of the matter is that you’re just barely surviving on cup noodles and waiting for it to be the 1st of the month again. Worry not, for these are the monetary woes that we all share, and with just a bit of planning and prep, they can go down by an insane amount. As a fellow college student, I have found that these five money-managing tips are sure to help you in your fiscal journey:

Make a day-to-day budget:

Seems a rather redundant thing to say, doesn’t it? But believe me, this simple step can save you hundreds of bucks at a time and stop you from making all those several incessant purchases that you thought wouldn’t put much of a dent in your allowance. Making a budget not only helps you to chart out a spending plan but also to keep aside a little cushion money for a rainy day. Even if it is already the middle of the month, don’t worry, you can start budgeting any time and it is sure to help you with your month’s spending.

Track your everyday expenses:

This one goes without saying. Just making a budget is not enough, sticking to it and seeing it through is equally important and one great way to do it is by tracking your everyday expenses. While it may not be easy in the beginning and you may shoot over your estimated budget by a large margin, it’s important to remind yourself that it’s okay- you’re just starting out, and with time you will get better at it. Tracking expenses is also a great way at figuring out the loophole in your fiscal plan and which activities drain your account the most. Hand in hand with budgeting, this is a surefire way to handle your expenses.

stop opting for the easier option:

Yes, Swiggy Instamart and Dunzo and Blinkit are godsends and yes it is understandable that after a weary day, you would want to order your snacks rather than going out to buy them yourself, especially when someone is willing to deliver them right at your doorstep at a nominal delivery rate. But honestly, these little delivery charges culminate over time and eat away at a large portion of your monthly expenses. Similarly, every time you decide to order in instead of cooking for yourself, the amount spent on delivery charges keeps racking up. Instead, choose the option that although might involve pushing your tired body a bit further, will definitely make your wallet thank you.

find alternatives:

Look, we all know that a little recreation is needed every now and then, but more often than not we get carried away and spend way too much on different recreational activities thinking that we’ll make up for them the next month….and we never do. This is a terrible spiral to fall into and severely detrimental to your wallet. What you can do is force yourself to miss out on a few major concerts or events that would severely drain you of cash and instead offer yourself an alternate recreational activity like watching a movie at home, or indulging yourself with a much needed soak or even cozying up with your favorite book. Initially, it might feel futile but over time, it’ll help you balance both : your budget and your happiness.

Study smarter:

I cannot stress this one enough but please stop wasting your money by buying brand-new physical copies of books that you won’t even need after six months! I’ve seen my classmates spend a small fortune on physical copies of books when the same is available on the internet in pdf format for free. If studying from a screen is not for you and you must possess a hard copy, then either make use of your university library and borrow it or head down to the second-hand book stores in your city to get them in almost pristine condition at a heavily discounted price. Also, be sure to make good use of the innumerable free online resources such as Google Docs, Canva, Google Scholar, and so on to help you in your coursework without having to spend a dime.

At the end of the day, learning to manage your money from a young age is one of the most beneficial skills one can learn as it not only shapes your decision-making ability but also helps you for your future. Despite all the planning and preemptive measures, it is still possible that you might find yourself surviving on cup noodles here and there, but that doesn’t mean that your budget is not working or you failed. It’s simply a pointer that you need to plan better the next time. What’s important is to not give up and try our best again the next month. Happy budgeting!

Devanshi Mitra

Delhi South '24

Devanshi is a physics major and you are most likely to find her either doing something borderline illegal or cocooned in a blanket with her nose buried in a book and Taylor Swift blaring in her ears - there's no in between. An exuberant optimist and a firm believer of 'no judgement', when things go south, she'll be there to make it feel like home.