If you are in college you probably feel this way more times than not. The less-than part-time job I work making sandwiches and collecting minimum wage is surprisingly insufficient for the lifestyle I cannot help but live. Whether it is a pair of shoes I don’t need, a meal I could have cooked, or a movie I’ve already seen, I always seem to be buying things I can’t afford.
Why just the other day I was doing a bit of casual shopping. I went to Target specifically for Taylor Swift’s new album (which in my eyes is a necessity). After paroozing through the store for 20 or 30 minutes, I went to check out. Yes, I had the CD but I decided that in that moment I also needed a few more things. I came home with a whole bag full of clothes and nick-nacks I will most likely never use. A pink bedazzled santa hat? It’s not even christmas. The movie Grease? I literally know every word, I don’t need to own it. The jingly dog collar? I don’t even have a dog. Then naturally on the way home I started to feel guilty about all the retail therapy so I stopped off at YoCray for some comfort food. Total expenditure of the day: $73. So unnecessary!
I know I can’t be the only person out there struggling with this, so I’ve devised several tips to help you stay away from unnecessary purchases.
- Don’t carry any more than $10-$15 on you so you at least have a spending limit.
- Keep a stocked fridge and pantry so cooking sounds more enticing that driving to Chipotle.
- Select a friend to be your money buddy. Don’t let each other buy things you don’t need!
- Freeze your credit card in a block of ice. (I saw this in a movie…)
- Just don’t go to Target. Like ever.
The best advice I have for keeping track of your money is making yourself a budget. Add up all the money you make in an average month, then subtract standing costs like rent or groceries. Subtract the amount you wish to save (saving is always a good idea) and then subtract like $50 extra dollars for a little wiggle room. Whatever is left from your monthly income (if any) is yours to spend! I know, I know, its pure genius. And we can all thank my mom for that one.
There is always the obvious answer: find things to do for free. Well these “free activities” are extremely hard to come by. Everything costs something these days. Go for a walk, a run, to the gym, the pool, learn to knit, get a job, a pet, a friend, or a hobby? If anyone out there reading this has ideas of things to do for free, please help us all out and post a comment. I’m not trying to spend money but I’m also not trying to sit around and do nothing all day. So what should I do?