Picture this: You are awakened with soft and gentle kisses from the glistening rays of the Saturday morning sun peeking through your curtains. After an extremely exhausting week of classes, exams, and bland days at work you are looking forward to your day off. Enthusiastically hopping out of your bed, you dash over to your PC to check your online bank account wondering if a new pair of shoes is in your near future. You have worked super hard this week and you know you deserve it! “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon…” you anxiously whisper to your tremendously slow internet server. After much anticipation you finally sign on and realize that you have gotten paid! Yes! It is in that instant another realization has slapped you in the face…all of your bills have been paid out of this paycheck as well… fantastic. “So long new shoes, hello pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream” you sarcastically state to yourself as you sulk back to your bed wearing your depression like a brand new Prada tote. Sound familiar? Well stress no more college Clutchettes! Here are some great tips that will help you survive during these difficult times.

1. Readjust those anytime minutes.
If your cell phone bill is creating a bigger hole in your pocket than you can afford, try calling your provider to search out a more reasonable plan that will benefit your financial needs. Or, try finding a provider that has more affordable mobile plans. It might require a lot more discipline to go from anytime to after nine but making the adjustments now will definitely pay off in the long run.

2. Set monthly budgets and stick to them.
Sit down and decide how much you will set aside for groceries, gas, and personal expenses. Creating an excel spreadsheet will help trail what is going on with your monthly expenses. This will allow you to regulate your finances more and track where your money is going. It is hard to make amendments if you cannot see where to change.

3. Control utilities.
This is simple. If you are not in a room using the lights, cut them off! This helps keep the light bill down to a minimum. You can even try alternatives such as solar power lights or lighting candles which can generate relaxing aromas and can give off tranquil vibes. If the water bill has you in tears then cut down on the time you spend in showers and limit the amount of baths you take monthly. Not only is this great for the environment but it can do wonders for your pockets!

4. Bargain shop!
The mall is not the only place to find great deals on fabulous clothes. Try vintage shops or Goodwill’s. They have amazing pieces for half the price you would spend in stores. If going to the malls are a must for you then raid the clearance rack first to see if you can find something great in your price range before hunting in the rest of the store.

5. Go natural.
Maybe the hair salon is grabbing you by the pocketbook. Relaxers, straightening, and styling can become extremely expensive.  Going natural just might be just what the doctor ordered. It is less expensive, versatile, and intensely liberating.

6. Buy used textbooks.
College books can be exceptionally costly! If you cannot find used books in your school book store try shopping online for used textbooks. It’s a great money saver!

7. Carpool.
Gas can be pricey these days, try carpooling with a group of friends or co-workers to work or school.

8. Take advantage of grants.
If you have not done so already apply for grants and scholarships. This is money given away to help students who struggle with finances to obtain an education. It will undeniably assist you a great deal especially if you are paying for college with your own money.

9.  Beautification modification.
The nail shops and makeup stores might be murdering your budget. Try doing your own manicures and pedicures and limiting the amount of makeup you use. If you give yourself a manicure and pedicure once a week and apply makeup every other day, it might just save you a couple of dollars.

During these stressful times it can be difficult to see the positives when the negatives are constantly consuming you. So here are some words of encouragement: “Practice yourself in little things, and thence proceed to greater”-Epictetus.

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