There is always that one earthly possession you long for, rather it’s the latest cell phone or an expensive piece of jewelry. But when you are a college student living on your own or coming from a family that has a humble background, it all boils down to what you want and what you need. I would like to share with you my opinions on managing money, through my personal experiences. I prefer to follow the three step system on managing money, the “N.S.M” (Need, Save, Make) system.
Living in California, not everyone can find a job in this economy. That means a lot of people have to dig into their savings, some people can make a thousand dollars last longer than others. It all depends on if you can determine the differences between need and want. For example I wanted the new iPhone, but the price tag was well over half my savings, and I already had a perfectly working phone. To top things off I still had to have an English book. Of course I picked the English book over the phone, since I needed the book to pass my class. The want over need rule doesn’t just apply for school text books. I’ve seen people go out and spend their milk money on a pair of new shoes; I don’t think a pair of Nike dunks is very nutritious for you.
Now if you are living on your own, bills can be such a hassle. I know you are expecting me to say “Use energy efficient appliances.” That wouldn’t be a bad idea. Even though using energy efficient appliances can reduce your bills dramatically, they also cost more. Instead try using natural sunlight in the day and turning off unused lights at night. This also falls under the need before want rule. Do you really need 3 lights on in 1 room or running the TV and radio at the same time? I don’t think so. That covers the home, but what about daily life? Let’s start looking around what you can do to save an extra buck. Instead of buying soda from vending machines or local gas stations, try buying in bulk, you can save an extra 25 cents. Buying in bulk is a wonderful way to save money. If you are paying 12 dollars for a 24 pack of soda that normally cost $1.25 per soda you are saving 18 dollars! This is just a small example on what you can do to save money on a daily basis.
We have covered the difference between need and want, and saving money. It’s time to show you how you can make money. I like to live by that saying “A problem is just an opportunity in work clothes.” Sure you should be sending in your resumes for a job. But landing a job won’t happen overnight, in the mean time why don’t we look around the house and see what we can do. See that plastic bottle in your trashcan? That’s a nickel. It only takes 20 nickels to make a dollar. It’s not hard to find little ways to earn money; I had to come up with $300 dollars for text books before school started last august. I couldn’t find a job, so besides saving bottles and turning them at the end of the month, I mowed lawns. Yes! The thing you use to do for your parents to earn your allowance, also works as a temporary job. Ten dollars here and there start to build up. Pretty soon I had more than $300. Another way to make money is to go into your closet and look around and find things you don’t use. In my case it was a snowboard, I haven’t snowboarded for years and all it was doing was collecting dust in the back of my closet. I decided to turn on the computer and go onto an online ad site (Craigslist.org) posted it on there, in 3 days I sold it for $75. Now you are not going to get rich by doing this. But you can earn enough money to pay for the basic essentials (for me it was college text books).
These are just a few examples of the “N.S.M” management system. Simple yet brilliant, anyone can do this and live on a little bit of nothing.