Save Money as an Online Student Using These 4 Easy Tips
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Going to college online can provide many benefits that reduce overall educational costs. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t stretch your dollar and reduce your financial burden even further by following a few easy-to-implement tips.
It’s one of the frequently asked questions we hear at ACHS: “What can I do to reduce or avoid debt?” Well, here are four easy ways you can save money as an online student in integrative health and wellness:
1. Actually have a budget
Seems like a no-brainer, but only 41% of Americans plan and follow a personal or household budget. It may seem daunting and time-consuming, but the stress relief it provides is well worth the initial effort.
Today, there are handy free apps that you can easily link to your bank accounts. You can then see exactly where your money is going each month and are able to adjust accordingly to save where you can. The information that these apps provide will help you think twice before making your next impulse purchase!
Here are a few top-rated budgeting apps to get you started:
- Mint (free)
- EveryDollar (free)
- You Need a Budget (paid app, but students get one year free)
2. Downsize current bills
Chances are that you have current bills that could be reduced without a noticeable hit to your quality of life. Have an expensive cable package? Consider switching to online streaming services. Paying $100+ per month for a cellphone package? After your current contract runs out, sign up for a pay-as-you-go plan. This can shrink your monthly payment by half or more!
Nowadays, budget models offer a very similar experience to flagship phones. This means that you can still have your favorite apps on a phone that’s hundreds of dollars less expensive.
3. Stop eating out
This is a monthly cost that can really creep up on someone who doesn’t have a budget or track their expenses. (Plus, it can be bad for your health! Go for the win-win and avoid dangerous restaurants while you save money!)
On average, Americans spend nearly 50% of their yearly food budget on takeout. We get it; you’re busy and can’t spend a lot of time prepping meals. However, after your first month with a budgeting app, you may be shocked to see just how much money you’re spending on restaurants. Who knew those daily Starbucks runs were costing you over $100 a month! You could be spending the equivalent of a car payment or more on takeout food. It can really add up!
If you plan proactively, you can make healthy, study-friendly meals with affordable ingredients to really slash your food budget (like our simple recipe for crunchy kale chips!). If time is a major factor, try preparing your meals in advance at a convenient time and then heating them up quickly when needed.
Here are some easy ideas to help trim your restaurant budget:
- Plan a picnic in the park with friends.
- Make coffee, lattes, and tea at home. A fancy espresso maker will probably pay for itself in two months if you cut out visits to the coffee shop.
- Schedule your restaurant outings in advance, and choose places and food you love.
4. Schedule “no spend” days
Most of us spend money every day. Each day, we’re bombarded with can’t-miss sales from our favorite shops or websites, delicious food, fantastic-smelling organic coffee or tea, and much more. Almost anything you do or anywhere you go, you’ll be enticed to spend.
Try to resist this compulsion. Schedule a “no spend” day at least once per week. Bring your own food and snacks. Pay no attention to the latest clearance sales. Simply challenge yourself to save your money and not spend. After a month where you’ve had some of these days, you’ll find that you will have spent less money than in the previous months where you’ve given in to the temptations.
Finding ways to save money can seem difficult, but you can implement some common sense tactics like those mentioned above to demystify the process. Before you know it, you’ll be covering your major expenses with money to spare. Going to school while saving money? It’s possible! With a little preparation and perseverance, it can be a reality for you.
American College of Healthcare Sciences is committed to helping students earn their integrative health and wellness certificates, diplomas, and degrees without accumulating a burden of debt. Learn more about the college’s many funding options, including federal financial aid to those who qualify, direct payment options, and a wide range of military, employer, and other alternative funding options here.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.