I am a full time mother and a full time student. I have had to learn to cut corners and save when shopping for essentials. I wanted to share a few tips that I have learned along the way!
- Couponing. Now, I am NOT organized and don’t clip coupons and have a folder but what I did is super easy. I downloaded the Dollar General App and clip those coupons almost daily and watch a few Dollar General Facebook Pages as to what is on sale and what I can get cheap almost daily. This has saved me for years from paying full price on cleaning supplies and even food!
- I use Fetch with every receipt I receive to save even more money! It is so easy and I have been able to purchase gift cards with my receipts!
- Good grades equal scholarships! This part has taken a lot of hard work but being a single mom you don’t have a choice but to work hard!
- Lastly, it isn’t about the gifts or toys they have or receive, it is about the time spent, I love finding FREE activities to do with him on the weekends, rather go hiking or site seeing. I also like the idea of telling family and friends instead of toys we love going and doing so tickets to upcoming functions are always welcome!
Although this is extremely hard it is worth it knowing you are bettering yourself for you children, or in my case my son.
If you want to take control of your money this year, the first skill you are going to have to master is the art of budgeting. Budgeting essentially is the skill of dividing your expenses up into categories, deciding how much you will spend in each and then make sure you don’t go over your limit. It is a simple concept but one which many young adults struggle with at first.
If you want to budget successfully you will want to follow a rule which is called the 50/20/30 rule. The idea of this is that for all of the money you have in the home each month: you should be spending 50% on essential payments, 20% on priorities and 30% on your lifestyle. It is a simple concept and one which will turn you into a budgeting boss if you learn it correctly. Once you have mastered this simple concept you can manage your money with ease.
- Essential Spending
The first type of expense you need to understand is your essential expenses. This means that you need to take a closer look at your spending throughout the month and pinpoint the vital spendings you take. This doesn’t mean Val’s Cleaning Maids, that coffee you have every morning or your online shopping. Essential spending is the bills you pay in your home, your mortgage, your car insurance and your taxes. These are the costs you have to pay out every month no matter what.
The 20% which you spend on financial priorities means that you are paying for things that will be of use in the future. This sort of thing will include any payments you make for your retirement, any life insurance you pay off and any debt payments you are currently paying. These are all things which are important, but should not take up too much of your monthly income.
The most simple of the three types of spending; this included anything you spend which is not necessarily essential. This will be your payment for the gym, your mobile phone, WiFi, food at restaurants, days out, new clothes and lots more. This should take up around 30% if your monthly spend and will be what allows you to live the type of life you want. Out of this 30% you will also ideally want to save a little money and put it aside for emergencies.
The key to being able to budget successfully is to be able to balance all of these different types of spending. If you ever notice that the percentage of one of these is rising too high, you need to work to reduce it. For example if your bills and essential income becomes too high you may need to start looking into different energy companies or even a way to remortgage your home. This will free up money which you need for other parts of your life. Once you have mastered this you will be able to stay afloat with your finances with no effort.
College can be very financially straining especially if you’re getting little to no aid from anything or anyone else. College savings can be hard, let me help you! Scraping enough up for tuition, books, rent, and other bills are hard enough, not to mention eating. But worry not, currently going to college and successfully navigated the monetary perils it presents I can help save you from the ramen noodle plague that so many others have caught. Here are my top money saving ideas when eating on a college budget.
Little Caesars Pizza $5 Hot and Ready
Everyone eats enough pizza in college to be sick of it their entire life. Said no one ever. And when trying to find bargain deals this is one stand above the rest. A $5 Hot and Ready when spread out can easily feed someone for 3-4 meals. That’s like $1.25 a meal. That’s a bargain deal. The trick to microwaving the pizza after it’s been fridged is wetting a paper towel and covering the pizza in it before microwaving. This will leave it most and still very much delicious.
Any Chinese Kitchen
Asian food. That’s original right when talking about college food. Chinese Kitchen though is one of those places that load up on the fried rice or noodles with heaping helpings of your desired meat. It’s your prototypical Asian food: grease and delicious. On overage, you’ll get around 3 meals for this and usually runs you around $12. That averages out to be $4 a meal which isn’t too bad. To really maximize your dollar, make your meat one of the many types of chicken. Chicken is cheaper so normally you’ll get more.
We got there. The all mighty dollar menu. Once it started, every fast-food chain had to have one. This is great for the consumer, especially the hungry college student. If your hungry for burgers you’ve got McDonalds or Jack in the Box. If you’re craving Mexican food you’ve got Taco Bell. Got the munchies, need to save a buck, and be healthy, Wendy’s wraps are a great choice. Really the dollar menu is a college kids best friend.
The hardest thing to do while eating on a budget for fast food is eaten healthy. Healthy food is expensive. But even there’s even an option that in a sense, is healthy. Subway is that answer. Depending on how much TV you watched when you were younger you probably saw the Jarred commercials where gentlemen lost a large amount of weight substituting subway lower calorie sandwiches for a meal. Great for him right? Well, it’s great for the college kid too. Many subways have the $5 footlong for select sandwiches. Load one of these up with your favorite veggies, split it into two 6” and you get two meals for $2.50 each.
Easy to cook Noodles
Yeah. The college kid can never escape the all mighty ramen noodle. Well, maybe we can. There are several instant noodle mixes that average out to be about a dollar a piece that is delicious and have a hint of nutritional value. Go down to your local Asian market and pick up a couple different types from different countries. Figure out which ones you like and have a variety on hand for those late-night study times and midnight snacks.
Don’t let college be the years where you starved yourself of food to make ends meet. There are lots of ways to survive and still eat a decent variety of food. Of course, there’s always to option to cook at home but what college student has time for that?