Holiday Shopping on a Budget

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It’s no secret that college students don’t have the biggest budget.  With busy schedules and loads of homework, it’s not always easy to keep your wallet full, which means holiday shopping can be a bit of a hassle.  The good news is, there are ways to get your loved ones presents without breaking the bank! We have a few tips to share with you on ways you can be financially savvy, yet still get some great presents.

Be Creative. Sometimes the best gifts aren’t the ones that are expensive- they’re the ones that are thoughtful.  Are you a good drawer?  If so, make a sketch! Do you love making collages or photo albums? Making a CD as a gift is also a great idea.  Your family member or friend will be sure to love a meaningful gift like this.  Does your sister have a favorite place she likes to go to? Does your mom really want to see a certain movie or local show?  You could also go places that do not require a large budget; this type of gift can be even better than a tangible present!  Use what you already know as inspiration for ideas!

Make lists.   When you plan out what you need to get ahead of time, it’s easier to stick to the plan and not overspend.  Also, it’s a great idea to start ahead of time.  Waiting until the week before the holidays to start buying your family and friends their presents is sure to create unnecessary stress.  If you start months in advance and slowly buy things throughout the year, you won’t be left with a huge list by the time the holidays roll around!

Check your email.  Email is a great way to stay informed about sales and deals.  It’s also a good idea to create a separate email for coupons and sale information so that way your regular inbox doesn’t get flooded with too many messages.  Additionally, there are apps/websites  out there that will give you coupons, such as RetailMeNot! This particular app offers discounts for thousands of stores!

If you follow these tips, your holiday shopping will be a piece of cake this year! These tips will allow you to save money and time. Your wallet will thank you!

 

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5 Tips for Budgeting Your Money While in College

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The semester is coming to an end, and I am sure we are all looking forward to the break. But for some of us, the process is going to repeat. You will need different textbooks next semester. If you live on campus, you know (or have learned this year) that you need money for food constantly. You may need more school supplies, or maybe you plan on investing in a new computer. Either way, these things involve budgeting. How did you make out this year? Did you save any money? Here are a few tips that should help you budget your money while in school, and hopefully you find them useful outside of college as well.

Separate your Wants from your Needs- Before even sitting down to create a budget, you should set aside the things you know are absolute necessities. You will always need money for transportation, laundry, food, textbooks, etc. Versus going out with friends, or going shopping. Which is more important? Be mindful of the things that you buy.

Live Within Your Means- It is easy to see someone with all of the new tech gadgets, or wearing the latest trends walking around, making you feel obligated to buy these things as well. In reality, you two may have completely different budgets. When creating your budget, sit down weekly and total the costs of the things that you need. Do they exceed your allowance/paycheck? If so, you may need to go back and revisit some of the things on your list. You cannot pinpoint every single college living expense, but do your best. How often do you run out of toiletries? Can you afford to eat out every day?

Don’t Make Impulse Purchases- Do not buy things simply because you can. Think to yourself first about other things you may need, bills that are coming up, or better yet, just save the money. If it is something you have been doing without thus far, chances are you can go a little bit longer without it.

Take Advantage of Campus Activities- Now, every once in a while I understand going out to a movie, or to dinner with friends. But some of these things our campus offers as well. Use these activities as a way to save money. Attend the movie nights, sports games, and other social events. This way you can still get out and enjoy yourself with friends, only this time for free.

Use your Student Discount! – School costs a lot of money, but it also saves you money as well. Keep your ID with you when out shopping, and ask different stores if they give discounts to students. For example, the North Face store gives a 10% discount on backpacks, jackets, etc. Use your student discount!! Lots of places give discounts to students, you just have to ask.