One would think that frugality is something most students pursuing a higher education would be very familiar with. However, from my own personal experiences, I’ve gathered that we are an easily distracted bunch, and this extends to forgetting our burgeoning debts when we find a new video game/dress/car that we have to have. I’ve seen friends complain about their ramen-centric diets, only to find out that the same people were willing to empty their already light wallets for something pretty, shiny and often unnecessary. Impulsive buys and the constantly advancing world of technology that insists on vomiting out new goodies every few months are some of the bigger drains on our bank accounts. Then there are the problems suffered by those who have taken the first wobbly steps of independence and moved out of their parents’ homes and into their own. Rent, money for food, gas money and subway money are just some of the plethora of financial burdens that commuters must shoulder on top of the weight of tuition.
I am not a commuter, and I’m glad of it because I’m fairly certain that my previous spending habits would have led to all sorts of sad consequences for me if I were in charge of a car and my own home. However, my shaky relationship with my checking account is something that was bad enough that it provided a learning experience once I pulled myself out of such habits. These lessons are pretty rudimentary, but it is surprising how unaware some people are of these little ways to save. Now I give you just a few of my nuggets of wisdom.
1.    Get a monthly payment plan for student loans. This is the mother lode of debts but you can put up a pretty good fight if you remain conscious about the debt instead of turning a blind eye to it. Otherwise you risk having it expand by hefty percentages until its bloated proportions reaches the likes of Jabba the Hutt.
2.    Don’t just lunge on flashy purchases with equally flashy price tags because you simply must have them. Often, it will be an item that you really don’t need, or it will be an upgrade but will have just a few improvements from the version you already own. For these really expensive purchases I like to impose a waiting rule. The “Hundred Dollar Rule” proposes that you wait a day for every one hundred dollars you might spend on an item that’s non-essential. This does not apply to cars and homes, but purchases like MP3 players or laptops.
3.    Buy manufacturer-certified refurbished laptops if you really want one but don’t want to undergo the excruciating process of paying full price. The website often has such delectable deals.
4.    Create your very own “Things I don’t need but like to lust over” list. It’s a great way to realize how unnecessary many of our desired purchases are, and a great method for keeping track of just how often we’re compelled to make these needless acquisitions. It’s also pretty scary how long the list can get, especially as a female who is bombarded with continuous commercials about shoes and yogurt.
5.    Thrift stores are places of magically small numbers on price tags. Clothes for work, play and even costumes can be easily acquired for scarily low prices. This is why I can often be found lurking the stuffed racks at Selden Thrift, a glow of pure joy upon my countenance. I’ve found fairly new American Eagle jeans, crisp spring dresses and untainted summer shoes, among many other very acceptable pieces of clothing. Even though I might leave with my arms drooping under the weight of new purchases, I never end up spending more than twenty dollars on any given trip.
6.    Having a savings account is a wise move. While this might go without saying, there are many people who don’t quite comprehend how useful a savings account might be. It can often be difficult to put away part of your paycheck if you have bills and other necessary expenditures waiting for you. However, it is still possible to start off small and just put away a few dollars each week. Though the process may be very gradual, you’ll eventually see a good sum of money in there.
Making small changes to your usual habits can lead to a very profitable conclusion. These are just a few suggestions towards having a more comely bank account, and they really are not that difficult to follow. College is a time of many financial pressures, so even a little bit of a reprieve is always beneficial.


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