Throughout high school I always had a job, whether it was as a babysitter or as a waitress at a restaurant. This year is my first year and college and it is also the first year I have not worked in almost four years. My mom will send me an occasional check, however my savings account is mainly where all of my money is coming from. Because I haven’t been working, I’ve had to make financial changes accordingly.
Making my money last longer has been one of the hardest parts of college for me thus far. I’ve been so used to having money at my disposal in the past four years that I never really thought about how expensive or unnecessary a lot of the items I spend money on are. In order to help me see exactly where my money goes each month, I have started a money log. Each time I use my debit card or spend cash, I write down the exact amount spent and what it was spent on. This way I am able to see what exactly I am spending my money on and how much I am spending each month.
After the first month of keeping a log, I realized how much money goes towards eating out. I never thought of eating out at restaurants as a privilege before. One key to saving money is to limit how often you eat out. Once I did this, I had an extra $20-$40 in my pocket that I could save or spend on more necessary items like prescriptions or ink for my printer.
Another way to save money is to take advantage of all the free activities offered in San Francisco. Instead of doing something like going to the movies, or going shopping downtown, opt to explore Golden Gate Park or attend free concerts. If you search google for free things to do in San Francisco you are bound to come up with a number of results. While participating in your free activities, you can also save money by taking the bus! The bus is more eco-friendly and free! All USF students have been provided with a free muni bus pass, so why not take advantage of it?
With the holidays coming up, many students are worrying about how they’ll scrap up enough money to buy their parents and loved ones gifts. My solution to this is simple: make something. Print out pictures of you and your friends and put them together into a collage or a photo album. Find a photo frame and decorate it and put a picture of you and your family in it as a gift for your parents. Although these gifts may not seem adequate for some, homemade, personalized gifts can never go wrong.
You don’t have to stop spending money altogether, rather be more aware of what you do spend your money on. If you evaluate your financial situation, you’re more likely to be able to cut down and save.