We live in a society where it’s easier than ever to spend money. We can order movies, music, and more with just a few clicks. The smaller purchases, in particular, can add up. An iPhone app for $0.99 here, $9.00 for an eBook there. We can even use a credit card to get that Snickers bar from the vending machine in the break room at work. With our busy schedules, it can be easy to dismiss these purchases as minimal, even to the point of ignoring them completely.
While many of us many fall into this trap, it may be more important than ever for online students to get a handle on money that’s coming in versus going out. It can be daunting to think about budgeting for every penny we spend, but there are less painful ways of easing into it.
Track Everything You Spend for a Month
In order to get a baseline for your spending, you should first keep a record of everything you spend for a one-month time period. In doing this, you’ll quickly get a sense of a few areas where you can easily cut costs, saving you money in the long run.
Factor in the Essentials
There are some areas where you may not be able to cut costs, including transportation, childcare, groceries, and monthly bills. Once you have those nailed down, you’ll be able to figure out how much you have leftover for non-essentials.
Think Twice About Instant Gratification Purchases
Do you really need the latest single from your favorite artist right now, or can you listen to it for free on your favorite radio station? Is it necessary to download the latest bestseller when you can check out the book at your local library for free? Mulling over non-essential purchases before diving in can make you a more conscientious shopper.
After you’ve analyzed your spending habits, you may find that you have extra money you didn’t realize. Whether you put it toward school needs or store it away in savings, you can feel less stressed about your money in general with a little forethought.