1. Get a membership card to your local grocer -
The Independent Grocer's PC Plus program allows you to earn points through personalized offers, flyer offers, in-store offers and bonus offers which you can redeem and use towards your grocery bill. So far, with my PC Plus card, I have earned over 55,000 points and redeemed $40 in total. This program is extremely helpful as a student on a budget, and makes grocery shopping rewarding and exciting.
2. Get a monthly calendar -
A monthly calendar will help you to manage your time, and help you to manage due dates for assignments, papers, and exams. This semester, I have used Microsoft's preset Calendar on my laptop. This Calendar sends notifications to my email for upcoming due dates for assignments. This allows me to prepare and manage my time more efficiently. Physical calendars work just as well, and can be placed in a common areas in your home as a reminder for due dates.
3. Avoid Takeout
Eating fast food, takeout, and at restaurants is expensive! For one meal, you can spend $30-$100. At a grocery store, $30-$100 can give you 3-10 days worth of meals depending on your location. Think of groceries as an investment. Those few cans of food you bought on your previous grocery haul can get you through the last stretch of the month when you've run out of money.
4. Construct a budget
Microsoft Excel has templates you can download to determine your monthly budget. In my budget I've included things such rent, food, cable/internet, phone, childcare, savings, and transportation. This allows me to predict my monthly spending and savings.
My banking institution has a student banking option which offers students who are enrolled in a full time post-secondary program an unlimited amount of monthly transactions, with no monthly fees. They also offer student credit cards. This is an excellent opportunity to build credit while giving you experience of managing your finances.
6. Invest in a laptop
My first investment this semester was a laptop, and I don't think I would have survived without it. Being able to write papers at home and on my own time, helped significantly. As a parent, I couldn't imagine leaving my son for hours so I could work on assignments in the library, so a personal laptop, is the perfect solution for balancing the demands as a mother and student.
7. Take advantage of the resources available on campus
Your college/university wants you to succeed. Tutors, and study groups are usually available along with programs to meet student needs. This year I applied for the Christmas on campus program that provided me with a $100 gift card that I can use towards expenses during the holidays. My campus also has an onsite food bank that helps students to meet their needs. Remember, staff and your instructors are a great resource for information and assistance.
To relieve stress, and avoid burnout, it is important to take care of yourself emotionally and physically. As a future social worker, self-care is a crucial component of social work, because in order to take care of others, I must first take care of myself. As apart of my self-care, I receive energy therapeutic treatments to relieve stress and promote spiritual healing.
College is stressful and there are many times it will feel impossible. But learning to manage the demands of your personal life, and student life can help you to achieve a balance that will ensure your success in your post-secondary journey.
"Balance is not something you find,
it is something you create."