10 Tips for Reducing Debt
- Pay Yourself First
Maintain an Emergency Cash Fund; the earlier you start, the more you accumulate. Consider yourself a creditor and pay yourself a nominal amount before you pay your other bills. It may not seem like much at first but will add up nicely by the time you graduate. This is a habit that you can develop and continue after you start your career.
- Develop a Budget
Paying attention to your spending patterns will help you in the process of paying your bills with greater control and adherence to your goals. Remember to be realistic and leave room for unexpected costs.
- Live Within Your Means
Maintaining good spending and saving habits and eliminating impulse shopping will help you to always have enough at the end of the month…with a little left over!
- Minimize Your Debt
Try to keep your debts low as you will save plenty in interest payments. Pay your bills on time and use credit cards wisely.
- Get the Most for Your Money
Make use of student discounts, coupons, sales, and cheap entertainment. Restaurants and movie theatres have discount nights. There are also many free entertainment options on campus and in town such as free concerts, music shows, plays, recreation and movie screenings.
- Cut Transportation Costs
Public transit and car pooling are great ways of saving transportation costs associated with driving your own vehicle. Whenever it is possible, walk to school, the movies, a friend’s house or the convenience store.
- Cut Housing Costs
There are three main housing options for students: living at home, living in Residence, and renting. Consider your budget when deciding which option is in your best interests. Also, try to reduce your utility, cable, phone and furniture costs, as they are factored into housing allowances.
- Grocery Shop Smart
Don’t go to the grocery store when you are hungry! Make your grocery list ahead of time and stick to it. Plan out what meals you are going to be cooking for the week so you don’t end up just buying snack food. Store brand foods are always cheaper then their brand-name alternatives. It is also a good idea to eat at home instead of at fast food restaurants and to bring a lunch and snacks to school with you.
- Keep Your Bills Simple
Eliminate unnecessary add-ons to your bills. Cable, cell phone, and home phone bills are classic examples. Use your cell phone during free calling times only, as there are pay phones in every corner of the university. Also, watch how much you are text messaging.
- Make use of Campus Amenities
The Works is included in your tuition, so go there! Use the free swimming times and join some classes. Since you are paying for it anyway, why not use it as part of your leisure time!