As a college student, yoga is dauntingly expensive. Here are some ways I try to save money so that I can afford to take classes at the studio I love…
1. Watch less TV: you’ll spend less time watching ads and wanting more stuff you don’t need.
2. Make homemade gifts instead of buying some from the store.
3. When you see something you want, wait a month and see if you still want that thing in a month. Chances are you’ll forget you even wanted it.
4. Stick to your shopping list. Don’t go overboard and buy things impulsively. Also, don’t go to the store hungry. You can control yourself better when you’re not starving.
5. Have people over for dinner instead of going out. Better yet, make it a potluck.
6. Don’t spend a bunch of money buying silly things for your kids or pets. For example, often times you buy your dog some fancy toy and all they want is the tennis ball you’ve had lying around already. The same goes for kids. They don’t need a lot to be happy. Neither do you.
7. Clean out your closet and take clothes you don’t wear anymore to places that buy used clothing. You may not get a ton for them but every little bit counts! For example, close to where I live is a Buffalo Exchange.
8. Drink more water. When you drink a big glass of water before every meal, you won’t eat as much. Also, often times we mistake our dehydration for hunger so keep drinking water throughout the day.
9. Cook a bunch of meals on the weekend and save them to eat throughout the week. This will help you avoid buying food out because you can take a lunch to work and know food is there when you get home. Also, you won’t have to buy convenience food like fast food, frozen dinners, etc, all of which are a waste of money. I really like doing this as well because then I can better control what I put into my body instead of making junk out of desperation at night. Some good foodie sites and blogs I like are: The Parsley Thief, Taste Spotting, Bon Appetit, and Food Network
10. Give up expensive habits that are bad for you in the first place: smoking (whatever it is you smoke), alcohol, or drugs.
11. Quadruple all the things you cooked on the weekend (#9).
12. Turn off lights in the rooms you aren’t in. When I lived in Spain, the family I lived with would only have a light or two on in whatever room they were in. This will save you money on your electricity bill. If you turn off all the lights before a 2 hour trip, you can save $50 an hour.
13. Take a Navy shower: Rinse off, turn off water. Soap hair and body. Turn water back on and rinse off. If you have to shave your legs, get them and the razor wet, turn off the water, shave and rinse as you need it but don’t leave the water running! This is a huge waste of water, not to mention the fact that water is a scarce resource.
14. Buy appliances based on reliability, not what’s cheapest. They will last you longer and save money in the future.
15. Turn off the heat/AC when you leave. If you can stand it, use a space heater or a fan instead of running the AC unit.
16. Ride your bike or take the train to work. If your office has showers, a bike is a great way (unless you live somewhere unbearably hot or cold) to get around as you’re lowering your carbon footprint and also saving a ton of money. Go on Craigslist to get a used bike and wear a helmet!
17. Use cash instead of your cards. Leave your cards at home even. I’ve heard of someone literally putting their cards in a ziplock with water and freezing it. This isn’t such a strange idea if you have trouble controlling your shopping. Also, using cash has been proven to make you stop and think more about what you’re buying.
18. Plan your meals around your grocery store’s coupons and flyers. That way you’re always getting a discount.
19. Compare prices between different grocery stores. You don’t always have to go to the one that you’ve been going to. Even if it’s a little out of the way, you can save a lot on generic things like oatmeal, eggs, or milk.
20. Don’t spend money just to make yourself feel better or to de-stress. Find something free that you enjoy doing. For example, I love taking walks or baking with friends, going running, hiking, making art, taking photos, checking up on the blogs I follow, etc. The best things in life are free. Do a money free weekend.
21. Cancel unused memberships. How often do you really go to the gym? Do you really enjoy going to your country club if you’re a member there?
22. Cancel your paper magazine subscriptions and either get a cheaper online one or just go to their websites! Their websites have exactly the same content, just not always in a portable format. I try to limit my paper subscriptions to the ones I really love. Other than that, I go to the magazine’s website.
23. Try buying used! Google places where you can buy used equipment, games, or clothes.
24. Keep your hands clean. Staying healthy by keeping your hands clean can save you money buying things like Airborne, antibiotics, pain relievers.
25. Take your credit card information off websites you’ve online shopped from. When it’s not automatically there, you have to enter all the information in every time, making you think twice about going through the hassle of buying that thing.
26. Instead of giving a gift, give people a service. For example, for Christmas I might give the people I nanny for a night of free babysitting. Make them a cute little certificate and wrap it nicely and you’re giving the gift of your time.
27. Don’t browse through online stores or look through too many fashion magazines. I know looking at things I would normally want makes me want to buy them even if I don’t need it or shouldn’t buy it. This goes for guys too. My friend really loves surf boards. Don’t go around looking at all the surfboards in stores because then you’re going to want to buy one and you just might!
28. Volunteer your time. Volunteering helps me refocus my priorities back onto what’s important and makes me want to buy stuff less and less. You also will have less time to spend money.
29. Buy generic brands at the pharmacy. I worked at a pharmacy for a year and a half and watched countless people pay a lot more than they needed to for brand name drugs and brands when the generic has the same active ingredient at a lot lower price. Brand names usually do not mean higher quality and never mean higher potency, as long as they have the same active ingredients.
30. Don’t go to stores or shopping centers for entertainment. You’ll end up buying something you don’t need like food or things from the stores.
31. Wait ten seconds before putting something in your cart. Ask yourself why you need what you want to buy. Do you really need another shirt? Do you really need those chocolate covered pretzels (I love them). Need is different than want and we can waste a lot of money just buying things we only want.
32. Get a library card or buy used books. If you’re like me and love to read, it’s hard not to buy yet another book. However, you can usually find the book 1) at the library or 2) on amazon for much cheaper. Also, the library usually will have used book sales. I have found 25 cent and $1 books at the library before.
33. Eat breakfast so you can stay fuller through lunch. Be sure you’re getting some fiber and protein in your breakfast so that you can actually stay full. For example, I really like making eggs in the morning with a piece of whole wheat toast, or oatmeal with almond slivers, fruit, cinnamon, and a bit of skim milk.
34. Recycle your clothes. As in take clothes out from the back of the closet and put them at the front and it will feel like you have a new wardrobe or at least a few new pieces. This is especially true for women who often times have so many clothes they forget they have stuff. I can’t count how many times I’ve pulled something out only to realize that I’d forgotten I owned it.
35. Pack a lunch to work. Usually eating out for lunch could cost you around $10 if you’re eating something decent. If someone works 298 days a year, you’re wasting $2,980 a year just buying food that you already have at home.
36. Freeze your food. If you don’t feel like eating whatever leftovers you have or don’t cook all the chicken you bought, don’t throw it away! Freeze it so you can pull it out when you feel like eating it.
37. Start a garden. You can grow a lot of the produce you need in a garden or in pots! This would cut down a lot on produce cost. Just be sure to plant a variety of things so you have some sort of selection all year long. Also, stuff grown with love in your own garden usually tastes so much better. Some family friends of mine grow heirloom tomatoes that melt in your mouth when you eat them.
39. Cook with a crock pot. You will save a lot of money and time because you can just put the ingredients in before going to work and it’s all ready when you come home!
40. Pack food and snacks before going on a road trip. My roommate and I will bring healthy snacks we like so we don’t have to stop at junky fast food places and waste our money at gas stations when we drive long distances.
41. Don’t speed! Not only is the ticket expensive, your insurance will increase by a lot for a couple of years. It’s not worth it.
42. Buy a smaller house or move to a less expensive area. A smaller house means less maintenance and more time for the things that matter.
43. Bring in old coupons and at least ask if they’ll still take them. Usually they will. Also, wait a month to use the coupons or until something is already on sale. Then you can double up the coupon with the stuff on sale.
44. Go camping instead of going on a big trip. Or take a road trip somewhere cheaper. Trips can be expensive but they are necessary (in my opinion) for staying balanced and sane.
45. Use power strips to avoid damaging your electronics.
46. Exercise more. This will improve your health and help cut down on health care costs.
47. Consolidate your student loans. This can save you a good chunk of change every year which all adds up.
48. Get on an automatic payment plan for you student loans. Usually you can get your rate reduced by signing up for an automatic payment plan.
49. Make cards instead of buying them. Cards are insanely expensive these days and hand made cards are much more meaningful.
50. Sign up for myyogaonline.com. It’s $10 a month and they have tons of wonderful online classes. This is how I manage to practice every day. Then I can feel okay about going to my favorite studio once a week or so.
photo via Tsherno