Although many of us are crossing our fingers to return back on campus come February, there are some positives to this extended time at home. What could have been an extra month at school tempting you to eat out and spend money is now an opportunity to stay in and save. Here are a few tips to make the most of your time at home while saving some coin:
- Create a savings jar/box for leftover change.
There’s no doubt that you’re bound to spend some cash at home (on the special hometown restaurant you’ve been thinking about during your break from campus or as holiday gifts for friends). When possible, take the change from any bill broken. Trust me, you’ll see results soon enough. Many grocery stores also offer CoinStar machines that take your coins and give you cash back in the form of bills.
- Create a monthly plan for your dinners.
Plan your meals ahead of time, so you’re not pressed to eat out. There are some great free sites that allow you to customize your own calendar, like https://easy-budget.ck.page/78b4d8f247. It’s also a great way to organize the family meals and plan ahead.
- Opt for free or low-cost day plans.
If you plan to meet up with old friends, try to find places that are cheap or offer student discounts. You’d be surprised how many museums have opened up by abiding by social distancing protocols, and they’re still offering student discounts, which tend to range from 15-30% off. Despite the cold, bundling up and going to the park can also be a great idea for a lowkey and private day out with a friend.
- Sell some old stuff.
I know how tempting it is to go out or shop online when your schedule lightens up, but that’s a quick way to drain your bank account for something that’ll only bring short-term happiness. Invest that time in thoroughly cleaning out your childhood bedroom and then donating or selling what you can. In two months, I managed to make $140! Remember that many old school items (think Hello Kitty, Champion, Reebok, Et. al) have increased value over time and are a great place to start.
- Try out new recipes.
We all have our favorite simple go-to meals that we’ve eaten a million times over. Practicing your cooking skills and trying out new recipes may make you less inclined to eat out because you're sick of making the same three things. Look for different recipes that have simple ingredients you can find at your local supermarket. Sometimes the packaging can have easy recipes printed on them.
Financial success is extremely complicated and stressful these days, and I hope these tips can alleviate some of those stresses, if only just a bit. Wishing you all the best (and most prosperous) new year, as well as good health!