By MAZIE BISHOP
Original article on Niagara News website and in print
Students agree that hearing the words debt, budget and bills causes some serious stress, especially when they already have to worry about maintaining grades. School can be so overwhelming some students aren’t aware there are many ways to save money while still being able to have a fun year.
It comes as no surprise that school and health are the main priorities of any student, but it is also important to relax and have some free time as well.
Alex Sobschak, a first-year Digital Photography student, believes it is smart to make time for social activities. “I think it is really important to make room in your budget for entertainment because after school is finished, we are going to be working all the time and should have fun while we are supposed to.”
There are many ways to save money. Brittany Tascher, a first-year Culinary Skills Training student, found some tips for saving money wherever she can.
“I am looking into freezer meals, which are meals you spend one day prepping for to eat healthy (and cheap) for the month. You can package them into single serving portions and throw them in a crock pot when you head to class and come home to a home-cooked meal,” said Tascher.
“There are also a lot of cheap options like breakfast burritos that will only cost you around 45 cents a serving, I find most of my recipes on Pinterest.”
Besides online ideas, there are deals and apps as well. Tascher said, “Check out apps like Flyerify and Flipp. They are great for finding what is on sale, so you can plan meals around what is cheapest. Groupon also has food deals in your area.”
Other frugal suggestions for fun are open mic nights, karaoke, cheap night at the movies or just free shows at a café downtown. Beach days or picnics in some of the beautiful parks in our region help too.
Dawn Mallette, a student in Recreation Therapy, said she feels having room in her lifestyle for entertainment is best for her well-being.
“It’s important to include entertainment in a budget because it allows access to activities not related to academics. It’s sort of like an escape from school and an outlet to de-stress and just relax.”
Being a student is about forming connections and getting ready for the rest of one’s life. Throughout, there are going to be times when a budget won’t be realistic.
Scott Vodon, a second-year Photonics student, stresses that a budget shouldn’t always be hardline.
“If your budget is so strict that you are unable to justify buying a coffee or a slice of pizza sometimes, you should rework your budget a little bit. A budget is a guideline and shouldn’t create stress in your life, only prevent it.”
If you are interested in creating a custom budget there are many on the Niagara College Financial Aid website, and most online banking apps also have budgeting software.