Living on A Student Budget: Save Money on Food

Student budgeting is hard to manage as it is. With such a limited amount of money, there are far too many fees you have to all take into account for. You have tuition, miscellaneous, residence and food fees you have to consider among the many. The truth is—most students are barely getting by, and even with help from one’s parents, budgeting is still a tricky thing to do.

In order to take budgeting to the extreme, there are practical tips for you to follow in order to cut back on groceries cost and accommodate your student allowance better.

Grocery store
As the old saying goes, it is never wise to head to the grocery store on an empty stomach. When you are hungry, chances are your rational thinking will be overclouded by the thoughts of food – and so you are most likely to buy more than what you need and even make impulse purchases.

Head to the store after a big, satisfying meal with a list of what you need to purchase. Consider buying store brands if you want to spend less. If you live with roommates, pitch in the idea of cooking together and going in on meals.

Limit your night outs
As much as it is tempting to dine out several times a week (especially when you’re feeling down or short on time to prepare your meals personally), these fees can only accumulate over time. Meaning the more frequent you eat out, the more it’ll hurt your limited student budget.

This doesn’t mean you cannot eat out at all – but only do so once a week. Take into account your budget and make wise decisions based on it. When you head out to eat, visit stalls for cheaper options or restaurants which offer discounts.

Meal plans
Some colleges offer meal plans which greatly helps in reducing your fees for the semester. Sometimes, it comes along with your residential costs. Don’t splurge on the pricey options, though. Be practical and choose a meal plan that is enough to keep you full and fits your budget at the same time. This is one fool proof way to limit your food expenditures.

Even if there aren’t any in your college, you can always opt to dine in the campus cafeteria in order to cut back on dining costs. Being a college student is rough, but hey, at least you’ll be surrounded with your peers and other students while enjoying a hearty meal.

Here’s How You Can Stretch Your Paycheck

Your hard-earned money deserves to be treasured well. At the very least, you are entitled to get the most out of it if you know how to save and control your impulses. With all the temptations surrounding you lately, like 20% off on selected products and seasonal discounts, it is actually very hard to limit your spending only to the necessary.

However, just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible. With some tips and frugal lifestyle changes, you can actually become smarter about your expenditures. There are strategies to help you become thrifty – and this article will help you with your penny-pinching endeavor!

Research and compare
For when you’re leaning towards making a potential purchase, do your own little research and read buyer feedback first. You’d want to make sure every single penny counts in your purchase. Go to shopping sites online to find the best deal and have a general idea of how the product generally is priced at. This can save you a couple dollars!

Use coupons
Ever grown annoyed with random people handing you coupons while out in the streets? Well how about the e-coupons which has been flooding your emails? It is time to put these coupons to a use and avail them if necessary. These coupons can actually help you save! So the next time you think of discarding them straight to the trash can, you might as well give it a second thought.

Shop seasonally
Get acquainted with general sale seasons. Different leading malls and stores in Singapore usually cut down on prices at the end of the year to make room for new products. There are also sales which happen in between months. Keep an eye out for major clearance sales! You might end up scoring a worthwhile product for such a lesser price.

Limit your credit
Having a credit card means signing yourself up for the temptation of splurge shopping. While that may seem appealing, the costs can accumulate overtime and drain your paycheck in the long run. Be disciplined in using your credit card. Learn how to live within your means, and only use your card when necessary. This also helps you become wise with your finances.

Eat at home
Learn how to cook and prepare meals for your own. Restaurant bills can cut a big chunk out of your paycheck, especially if you’ve adapted the habit of eating out regularly. Learning how to cook helps you develop one of the greatest life skill you must learn in adulthood (that is cooking) and you can also save a good few dollars in so doing!

Useful Tips on the Road to Prosperity  

 

Many Singaporeans dream of prosperity and affluence. Who would not? A life without stress and worry is surely a good one. Unfortunately, there are some Singaporeans who still struggle to meet both ends. The road to prosperity is indeed filled with hurdles and if we cannot cope up, we will surely head to the road of ruin or destruction.

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Instead of swearing and giving up, the best thing that you should do us to create a financial plan. Getting our finances on track is possible despite the seemingly insurmountable odds. Here are some tips shared by Chris Hogan – a financial guru:

  1. Ascertain your goals: Without a plan, you dreams and goals are only just an idea. You need a concrete and tangible plan to make it happen. Begin the year by mapping what 2016 holds be it a house or a car. If you start mapping, you will see how much money you are going to make and save. It is also recommended to set deadlines – realistic deadlines that is.
  2. Set a budget: After ascertaining the goals, the next thing that you need to do is set a budget. Budgeting is a struggle especially if you are making both ends meet but there is always something that you can forego. You need to write your monthly income vis-à-vis expenses. Cut costs if it is necessary and set spending limits.Budget-Expenses-List-325x222
  3. Deal with debts first: How can you save if you have debts to pay? The best course of action when dealing with debts is to pay it first. Hogan advises that you tackle the low debt first before moving to another card or debts with high interest. After clearing your debts, be careful not to spend so much because you might get overwhelmed.
  4. Stash an emergency fund: The reason why you are in debt is you do not have enough emergency funds. So you just tackled and cleared your debts, the next thing to do is stash an emergency fund. Making room for your emergency funds can make a difference at the end of the day. The ideal emergency fund should be worth your three to six months of salary. Saving for the rainy day is important.
  5. Start saving for retirement: Even if you are still on your 20s or 30s, saving for retirement should be thought. Do not depend on your pensions and savings because they will run out sooner or later. The best thing to do is to strengthen your investment portfolio.

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The Golden Rule of Investment

If given the opportunity here in Singapore, investment sounds good but it can be terrifying once we get to know the stakes even more. According to Victor Chng and Rusmin Ang, the founders of a finance blog called The Fifth Person, investing is our way to beat inflation.

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If we only save, our money will only be consumed by inflation but if we invest it, our wealth will grow because inflation allows us to generate more income. The inflation here in Singapore is 3-4% every year. If we consider our deposit accounts, we can only expect 1% interest per annum. This picture tells a lot – our money is just sitting in the bank.

How do we handle inflation? The answer is through investing. According to investors, there is only one golden rule of investment – always understand the things we are buying. This simple rule can make a different at the end of the day.

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We should not invest in something that we do not entirely understand. If we do not understand it because it is too complicated for us to handle, then we should not consider investing in it. If we really want to invest, there are different resources that we can consider. For instance, we can hit the books and even online sources before picking a stock.

If we study, we will know in time what makes businesses successful thereby knowing which stocks to follow and investment in. However, before plunging to invest, it is crucial that we save first. We have to make sure that we have sufficient money for investing and emergency fund.

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The Dangers of Bankruptcy  

We heard about the mishap of 50 Cent recently about him filing bankruptcy. As much as possible, we want to avoid this kind of financial turmoil because we are minutes away from getting kicked from our house and being broke. We do not want to live with nothing and start from scratch again. Filing a bankruptcy will break us and if we are not that strong to get back up again, who knows where we are heading.

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Bankruptcy also happens here in Singapore. Bankruptcy happens when a person owes more money that he/she can pay. To understand it better, bankruptcy is regarded as “reset” button. The reset button will allow us to start from scratch. Bringing with us nothing but lessons, we can still get back up again and at least recover but only a few ever get rich again.

We file for bankruptcy when we owe at least $10,000 and we have no way of repaying it. Once this happens, consequences will roll in. We will not like the consequences and it can quite taint our name. Knowing this, it is important that we should avoid bankruptcy. So, how can we avoid such misfortune? Here are the reasons:

  • Difficulties in looking for jobs: Yes, bankruptcy is not the end of the world but somehow it is the end of our career. When we file bankruptcy, many companies will have doubts and it will be harder to look for jobs.

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The worst thing that could happen is our company terminating our services because of the misfortune. Our bankruptcy reflects how we manage our finances and who would trust us with theirs? If we are given a second chance, we have to make it work and prove that we will not be in an unfortunate position again.

  • Restrictions in travelling: If we filed bankruptcy, we are allowed to travel within the country but not outside. Travelling overseas is restricted. Creditors will interpret going overseas as a means of escape. Creditors wouldn’t want that.
  • Restrictions in obtaining credit: When bankruptcy was out of the picture, our credit rating is as high as it can go. Bankruptcy will only give us heartache because we cannot obtain credit and if we can, it will not be greater than $500.
  • Restrictions in managing business: Bankruptcy is not something that we can just ignore. Even if we already paid our debts, we are restricted to manage any business let alone act as a director of a company here. We will forever bear the taint of bankruptcy.

Easy Ways to Save More Money

Have you already succeeded on saving money? Is your bank account already active on keeping the money you are saving for the future? If this is your situation, then your next goals should be how to save more money and how to save bigger amount of the earnings you have. Here are some of the things you could do in order for you to save more money.

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If you can already save money, you have probably noted the importance of focusing only on your basic needs which are food, shelter and clothing and cutting down your consumption on what you do not need. To save more, you just have to apply this more.

When it comes to food, choose to but from farmers themselves instead of going to the market. You can get products at a lower price by doing this. More than this, you are also sure that you get quality goods from the foods you are buying, and you can also create networks through these farmers. When it comes to shelter, make sure that you cut down your electricity and water consumption by turning off appliances  which are not in use and unnecessary. The basic advice on using containers when using the water instead of allowing it to just freely flow can save more water and can also lower the bills. When it comes to clothing, invest on quality brands instead of buying too many of low standard clothes. Quality brands can lat long and will save you from buying over and over again.

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More simple ways on saving more money is refusing to buy stuff which you really do not intend to buy. When going to a grocery or in a shopping mall to buy goods and stuff, have a list, and make sure to stick to that list no matter what. Learn to resist temptations. This goes to all situation of purchasing whether it is for books, home appliance, clothing, shoes and more.

It is also helpful to affiliate yourself with people who have the same goal of saving as you are. You cannot save if your social circle does not have saving in their minds.

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