Hello, I’m about to annoy you with talks of finance yet again.
Welcome back to the Financial Rundown. I’m not qualified to give any financial advice, but someone out there will probably benefit from this.
It’s rough being a student in Montreal. It’s even rougher being a student that has a champagne taste on a beer budget. Being in such a vibrant city and such a social school means there are too many social events, delicious food places, and not to mention, great sales in the many stores that surround McGill. I feel the pain. However, girl’s gotta keep a budget if girl wants to actually be able to pay for rent and WiFi each month, so here are a couple of tips if you’re anything like me, or if you just need to get your finances in check.
1. Write down everything you spend your money on:
This is easier said than done, I’m aware. It’s the most annoying thing in the world, but trust me when I say it helps. You can simply write on a notepad on your phone, or if you want to be extra, there are many apps like spreadsheets out there. Google has premade monthly budget and expense tracking spreadsheets from their templates that you can access from anywhere and can cross sync onto all your platforms such as your laptop or your tablet. Seeing the numbers add up and realizing how often you’re whipping out your phone to write purchases down are great deterrents from spending another $5 on a coffee or that dress that you absolutely have to have but, to be honest, will never wear. These are some of the highest rated budgeting and expense spreadsheets: 1, 2, 3.
2. Look back on your monthly expenses:
Either using the templates linked above or just by adding up all of your spendings from your online bank statements, look at where all your money is going.This will help you adjust your budget and realistically set goals on how much to spend on certain things. It will also let you know where you can cut out excess expenses (such as: are you spending too much on takeout because you’re too lazy to cook? I know I sure am…) and enable you to save the money towards something of better use. Remember, the holidays are coming up, you’re going to need to start saving money for presents to give to family and friends.
3. Write down the due date of bills or automate your bill payments:
It doesn’t matter if you want to do it digitally or by hand, just do it. I always tell myself I’m going to remember to pay my WiFi bill but I’ve accidentally missed it 2 times in a row now. Set a reminder, write it down, do something to prevent yourself from having to pay that extra interest that you just should not be paying. Another option is to automate your bill payments. Most online banking allows you to set up monthly payments so you don’t have to worry about it. Oh, the beauty of technology. Now if only I could spend money without having to worry about it.
4. Unsubscribe from store sale emails:
Oh Urban Outfitters, you will no longer tantalize me with your flash sales. I’m not the worst when it comes to online shopping. Most of the time I’m able to stop myself from succumbing to headlines such as “FLASH SALE!! ONE DAY ONLY!!” But sometimes, the temptation of “Oh it’s such a great deal” is just too much. Half the time when I say “Oh I’ll just return it if I feel guilty,” I’m too lazy to actually do it. While it’s fun and I love what I have bought, I didn’t really need it, and even if I don’t buy anything, I often waste precious time going through the site looking at things I can’t afford. It’s midterm season (also known as always at McGill), nobody’s got time to mindlessly scroll through endless fancy kitchenware with cat whiskers printed on them – looking at you again UO.
These tips aren’t too hard to follow, but they will definitely save you a ton of money. You can thank me later when you realize you can actually afford to buy gifts for all your family members this Christmas.
Images obtained from the Medium, Kalsium Wedding, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Broke in London.