Money becomes an issue when you have none and for many of us in the lower middle and lower class, saving money and trying to make ends meet are the only issues that have taken refuge in our lives. A word that has resounded throughout my life is sacrifice and coming from a member of a low income family, paying the bills and saving money entailed just that. To save money one has to learn how and what to sacrifice. For example, pinching pennies could mean one has to cut back on the money set aside for shopping or going out with friends, to invest more on the electricity bill or rent.
Growing up my mom taught me patience and that I didn’t always need what I wanted; her teachings have taught me to stretch out my money by considering my choices when I’m shopping for groceries or personal needs and waiting until I’ve paid my impending bills before treating myself. Moreover, learn to treat yourself at the right time! There have been moments I have impulsively bought clothes and was close to being short on rent money, of course feelings of regret are never short. Clothes and shoes, gaming systems, etc. can all wait! Wait for sales from your favorite stores, go thrift shopping for clothes, buy used books from amazon or other websites that sell second hand items for less. Take note of the amount you have to spend for yourself, go window shopping for prices, and calculate if all these items fit in your budget. Do not just make purchases all willy nilly! Think (and calculate) before you buy.
Although receiving scholarship money is probably the best thing to happen to any student, I’ve noticed that students that come from low income families that receive scholarships and have a lump sum of money disbursed tend to panic splurge, by this I mean students from low income families, myself included, have never had such a huge amount of money within our reach, so what happens? We send money back to our families, we buy clothes, shoes, electronic gadgets, etc. and forget to set aside money for school books, rent, internet, etc. and end up at square one. I advise you, if you are living in an apartment to pay three to four months of rent in advance, as well as your other bills, and budget off the remaining amount of money until the next financial disbursement or until your next job paycheck. By doing this, there is left over money for emergencies and housing overages and there’s no stressing out how we’re going to make ends meet with all the finals and problems life throws at us. Learn to sacrifice and ask yourself: do I really need this? Imagine you’re a magician and make your money disappear, not by spending it, but by stashing it away somewhere you cannot see it. Out of sight, out of mind.