Communication Student 101: Saving Tips for College

By Teresa Gueco - January 06, 2018

IG post from Toni Yee, our contribution for our snacks

I think everyone will agree if I say that being a college student is really expensive. I’m not even talking about the tuition fee, miscellaneous fee, and org fee because even the daily expenses going to school is definitely something we worry about (if not us, then our parents or guardian who supports us).

As for me, being a Communication major is a ‘butas-bulsa’ experience every day. IT IS EXPENSIVE!

When a subject requires you to come up and produce a fashion show in two weeks, you do it in two weeks! It doesn’t matter how many hours you sleep in a day, how much bucks you shed, or if you are still eating or not, you just have to do it. Find a model, get their clothes, chop chop!

I wasn’t prepared most of the time having a daily allowance of P75.00 from first to third year and P100 on my senior year). I always end up broke or in debt (thank you friends for helping haha) most of the time. But of course, there’s my savings and scholarship allowance to help me make do. My daily allowance may seem small but I made it through; P17 is for my fare going to school (P10 tricycle ride going out of our village and P7 jeepney ride going to school); P35 lunch meal allowance; and only P7 jeepney ride for my way back to our house since I walk from our village’s drop-off point to our house, it’s a walk-able distance but I ride tricycle going to school to prevent getting sweaty and late for my class but it’s different after school since I also enjoy walking and gazing in the night sky.

DAILY ALLOWANCE EXPENSE SUMMARY
FARE (TRICYCLE AND JEEPNEY)
P17
LUNCH (CANTEEN)
P35 (55 if we’ll dine at McDo)
FARE (JEEPNEY)
P 7
TOTAL
P59


*THE P16.OO REMAINING IS USED FOR SNACKS OR MISCELLANEOUS FEE (E.G. PHOTOCOPY AND PRINTING)
**Okay, P75.00 is the amount of money given by my parents and most of the time I have more than that on my wallet but it’s from my personal savings and the lots.

Most of us Comm majors aren’t financially ready. We often buy sulit meals for lunch and sometimes we skip it all together since every minute of our day counts for us, we actually don’t mind not eating at all because we are often too busy to even remember! Sometimes my expenses are way higher than my allowance, especially when friends decided to eat on fast food chains or cafes (laser glare to you guys).

I hate being broke the most. I feel so vulnerable when I’m broke or even just being close to being broke. That’s why I want to share some tips I used to save during my college life. This definitely helped me in so many levels, I can’t guarantee the same to you but it’s worth the try.

Here are they:

1.       PACKED LUNCH

Sooooo elem. I know people will raise their eyebrows on this since it seems childish but trust me, it’s not! College students can also do it too!

Shy or scared that you will be mocked? Don’t worry because you’ll be amazed how others will find this nostalgic and will join the bandwagon and be your lunch buddies. You’ll be amazed how many people will ask for a bite of your lunch and say how they missed it and there will be others who will say they are jealous of you because you can do it, other households were often too busy to even make breakfast for their family because of their works so packed lunch is an instantly no go for them.

You just have to have a group of friends who wants to save! Actually this packed lunch thing helped me and my college friends a lot. During lunch breaks (if we remember to eat) we spend almost an hour just arguing and deciding where to eat, so whenever we bring packed lunch we always save money AND time. For me, this is one of my biggest lifelines in college since lunch is my biggest daily expense. Having trouble on what you’ll bring to school? Don’t fuss, you don’t need to go all out for your lunch. Mostly I bring sunny side up eggs (I LOVE SUNNY SIDE UP EGGS!), processed foods since they can be easily cooked (longganisa, tocino, embutido, fish, or meatloafs), and less messy compare to Adobo, Sinigang, and the lots. Just remember to have enough amount of rice and fruits if you can. A little weigh on your bag is definitely worth it.

2.       BRING ENOUGH MONEY

This tip is probably the best and most effective advice I can give to anyone because I saved using this tip.

So during college there will be times where your class schedule only starts in afternoons or that some class will be moved to another time schedule, hence unexpected expenses since you’ll be waiting for hours. In my case there are times where we only have classes for the entire afternoon so I’ll eat at home for my lunch and only bring money for transportation (this plus Tip #6 is a perfect combination).

There will be moments where you’ll be tempted to buy stuff and foods especially when you see that they are on sale or that a new product is out. Most often than not our thinking will let us buy that thing because we know that we can, recalling the stash of cash we have in our wallets. So leaving your excess cash at home will make you extra careful to buy anything.

When I used this on my senior year (with P100 daily allowance) I only bring around P30-40 max and there will be excess on that adding to the P60 I already kept at home.

EXPENSE SUMMARY
DAILY ALLOWANCE
P100

SAVINGS
P60
*SAVINGS WHICH IS LEFT AT HOME
EXPENSE
P24
*ROUNDTRIP TRANSPORTATION
TOTAL SAVINGS:
P76
 

With this tip I saved more than half of my daily allowance! Imagine, that is P76 per day and P304 in a week (we don’t have classes every Monday) so if you continue that for a month you’ll have P1,216.

3.       BRING SNACKS

During my freshmen year we always buy snacks while waiting for our class to start. We buy cold water (oh please, the heated weather here in the Philippines is no joke) and snacks from a convenient store near our campus which sells product at a double cost. Clue: It’s a 24/7 convenient store and I think everyone will agree about how expensive some of their products are and give them credit for that since it is open anytime). So during my freshman year I spent almost half of my daily allowance just for a snack that will only last for a couple of minutes and looking back now I’m ashamed of how carefree I am back then.

But thankfully, I learned my lesson.

There was a time wherein I had a bad day (girl stuff) and my uneasiness just won’t go away, still experiencing them sometimes. And then I discover that eating makes me feel better to the point that I bought a whole pack of plain Rebisco crackers (the honey something flavor is still not available that time)  and ate it continuously for the whole day. My friends even laugh at me wondering how on earth can I eat all of it remembering how plain it tasted.

And that’s how my Rebisco cracker ambassadorship started (self-proclaimed ambassador HAHAHAHA). Every single day I have one or two packs of it in my bag and since then most of the time my classmate will always go to me and ask for food when our class becomes too long. Even during seminars,  graduation practice, and graduation ceremony, I always make sure to have some and my classmate and friends can attest to that. There were even a couple of times wherein my friends from other class go to ours just to ask for food! Hahaha Imagine that? Food > Me. HAHAHA Kidding.

So there, bringing snack not only helped me and MOST of all my classmates and friends to prevent from starving. It also cut my expenses big time. From around P45-50 daily (inclusive of drinks and snacks) to P51 weekly (1 package x 10 packs can last up to one week).


4.       DO I REALLY NEED THIS? MANTRA

I am a compulsive buyer.

I’m not proud of it because I know how bad it is especially in my case since I’m not financially stable yet (being compulsive while being financially stable is not good too)! But let me share how I slowly ease the effect and how I surpassed temptations out there.

So as a maarteng tao I always tend to buy this and that or try those and these, especially if it has a golden red tag or if I’m in a second hand store. My mind will say that it is wise for me to go and buy it since I’ll be getting it on a lesser price. Maybe at some point that thinking will make sense but most of the time, the items which are on sale aren’t really needed that much. That’s how they do it, making you think that you need it and that it is a great deal when it’s not. Okay, let say that an eyeshadow palette is on sale (say 50% off) but is it the shade that you are using on a regular basis and/or appropriate to your lifestyle? How would buying an item that will eventually become just another clutter be called saving?

 I’m a thrift shop fanatic and around 40% of the clothes I bought there still haven’t been used by me that much. Maybe it’s because I’m more of a casual shirt and pants kind of girl (most of my thrifted clothes were leaning towards formal and corporate wear) or just plain money-consuming-human. This, being compulsive, is my number one problem especially if I am out there in the open circled by different shops. When I really feel like buying certain items I tend to do tip number 2 where I bring allotted money for it but there are times where I don’t know what to buy (times wherein I want to treat myself) so I bring more than enough money with me.

Most of the time we are conscious on how we spend too much but just shrug the mindset off because the thought and feeling of owning new things is just plain addicting and satisfying! I do this (clothes or foods) mostly after every final examinations or stress-inducing activities.

So if tip number 2 wouldn’t work then I’ll shift to this saving tip, or what I also called as a guilt trip tip. When I see a great deal I’ll stop for a sec and think about it thoroughly.

How much is it.

What is the status of my savings?

Why do I need this?

How many times will I be able to use this?

You have similar items like that, what makes you think it wouldn’t end up like them, dusty and forgotten?

Most of the time those above lines worked for me, although I can’t assure you if this will work for you since you are the one who knows yourself better than anyone else. I also advised you to use your weakness or fandom, in my case it is reading and unforeseen concert.

This item almost costs a book!

Get a grip! Troye (and many more faved artists) will be releasing a new album so there will be, probably, a tour so just freaking save your money!

5.       MAKE A LIST FOR YOUR SAVINGS

Not just a list, but more of a goal on how much you have to save for a specific week/month.
When I was around 16-ish to 18-ish I’m always frustrated on how to make do with the small allowance I have plus the fact that I always wonder how my money just disappears on thin air without my knowing where I spend it. It really gets frustrating since I literally get lost on every aspect of life because money is very important, and we all need to agree on that. There were times where I thought I still have this amount of cash then found out hours later before I go to sleep that I don’t have it anymore, trust me I always can’t get myself to sleep because of frustration.
Just this year I started doing this spreadsheet thingy that adults seems to do to manage and view their finances personally. The spreadsheet helps in managing and controlling your expenses by putting your daily/weekly/monthly expenses and savings so you won’t overspend on the following days.
In my case I made a 4-column spreadsheet, renaming the top tabs as follow; Week Number, Target Savings, Actual Savings, Total.

WEEK NUMBER
TARGET
ACTUAL
TOTAL
Week 1
400
400
400
Week 2
360
360
360
Week 3
380
380
380
Week 4
340
340
340
Week 5
400
260
-140
Week 6
360
240

Week 7
380



To further monitor my savings I don’t just write down the amount but also when I acquired that amount of savings. So for example my target savings is P400 for the first week, for that whole week I’ll keep my mind on saving and at the end of the week I’ll encode my actual savings on the spreadsheet. Hopefully the actual amount will be equal or more than the target savings. Note that there will be times where your actually savings is less than your target but it’s still okay. We can’t help those times when projects and activities just keeps on coming. The main goal of this activity/tip is not just limited to achieving the target savings but also to not overspend your expenses to your savings. It is about knowing how much to splurge on things for this day without spending yesterday’s savings.

6.       HITCH
Get a grip because it’s not about getting a ride when you are lost from a hiking or trip from someone you don’t know. It’s more of like carpooling on a lesser level.
So in my case my biggest daily expense comes from food but I also have a fixed expense and that is my transportation. On a daily basis I’m spending P24-P44 (depends on the weather), although it may seems small for others but trust me that when you are broke, and still has to pay projects for school, even centavo is like a gift on a Christmas day for you. So at times I do this hitching to save more cash.
My mother is a public school teacher and she goes to school 5 x week. So every weekdays Papa fetches her back and forth to their school with our tricycle. To save more I managed to get myself up early in the morning so I can tag along with them, they usually leave the house quarter before seven. There was a semester where I had this 7AM class so tagging along with them is very convenient and efficient. But there’s a semester where my first class started around 8:30AM but I still tag along with them just to save more money. It’s actually fine since I am carrying our publication office’s key that time which is just a room next to our designated classroom so I just usually go there and do managerial task that needs to be done for that day.
But that’s not the end of it. During that time Mama tutors a kid so she usually ends up getting home late, say around 7-8PM (she is fetched by Papa during that time). No, I didn’t stay and wait for that long. Why would I if I don’t need waiting. As a Managing Editor and a student I usually do managerial works for our publication between every class or after class since COMM usually takes most of our time and in the process I always end up getting home late too. So no, I didn’t have to wait because I go home late too. They became accustomed with my schedule that they just usually text or call me to ask if where I am and their ETA to the point of where they will fetch me (usually at CityWalk). Viola! Cha-ching cha-ching cha-ching! This tip added to tip number 1 and 2 (if you missed tagging along one way or another/if you need to buy some school materials) is super wise!

Honestly, I don’t know if those above tips will float your boats, they did for me so I was hoping it will do the same to those who will try them. Just remember that without determination and discipline you will not be able to do or move forward so it will always be depends on you. Just you. So clear all the baggage and start anew.

Let’s hear from others, how did you manage to save or what is the weirdest thing you did to save money? I like to hear from you so comment down below.

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