How to Stretch Your Dollar Living on a Part-Time Budget

By Kailey Walters on October 18, 2017

As busy, hard-working students, some of us have part-time jobs for various reasons. Maybe we just want a little extra pocket money, or we’re relying primarily on our own income to pay for tuition and other expenses while in college. Whatever the case may be, we’ve probably all faced the dilemma of getting the most bang for our buck while living on a narrow budget.

Check out some of the following tips on how to get the most out of your money. Many of these changes may seem like fairly small or subtle adjustments, which just goes to show that a little can go a long way.

1. Set yourself a budget and keep track of your expenses

The first order of business with saving money is to know how much you’re capable of spending and then how much you actually are spending on a regular basis. Based on how much you’re raking in from your part-time job, set a reasonable budget for yourself that you can stick to per week or month.

From there, you can keep a log of all your expenses — and do your best not to leave anything out, to be as realistic and accurate as possible. That could mean including anything from food expenses to your monthly gas and electric bill to the new clothes from the mall you treated yourself with.

Write it all down somewhere, as it will definitely be valuable information to look back on later.

2. Go bargain hunting

Whenever possible, shop for items that are of both reasonably good quality and cheapness. This could entail both online and in-person shopping, whatever you’re more comfortable with. While this may involve a bit of creativity on your part and could be slightly time-consuming, especially when comparing prices among various items, carefully considering the costs of your purchases is often well worth the effort.

And although it may seem that you’re only saving a dollar here or 50 cents there, everything surely adds up over the course of multiple weeks and months.

3. Use coupons and discounts as often as possible

In the same vein as hunting for bargains, you can also scavenge for coupons and discounts at the stores where you normally shop. Supermarkets often have a number of different sales going on, so taking advantage of that can definitely help you make the most of your budget. You might also want to buy items in bulk, as long as you know you’ll actually use them and they won’t spoil too quickly, as buying in bulk can sometimes be more worthwhile than buying in smaller amounts.

4. Cut back on going out

Everyone likes to have fun on the weekends, but sometimes you may have to say no. Whatever your idea of going out might be, whether it’s heading to a club or to the bar or eating out with friends, it most likely involves spending money. Certainly, there are alternative (and cheaper) ways you can enjoy yourself, such as by staying at home to watch a movie with friends or, if you feel so inclined, relaxing on your own with a cup of tea and a good book.

Of course, that’s not to say you can’t ever go out again, but perhaps staying in at least a few times a month will allow you to see a positive difference in your bank account.

5. Re-evaluate the difference between what you need and what you want

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in your “wants” — you splurge on that movie ticket, or on that pair of jeans, or dinner out at a restaurant instead of cooking. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself every once in a while. But, for the most part, it’s important to know what you really need from day to day and be able to stick with it.

Ultimately, being aware of what you’re spending your money on will help you to cut back on expenses and make sure you’re sticking to your budget.

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