Tip Jar - NIU - Financial Cents

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tipjarFinancial Cents Tip Jar

These are easy-to-do tips that are a great way to help you save money and stay on track financially:

  • Keep your hands clean: You will keep yourself from acquiring all kinds of viruses and bacteria, saving you on medical bills and medicine costs.
  • Remove your credit card from your wallet: Try to only use your credit card in times of absolute need. Try to use cash for everyday purchases. This will make you think about the purchase more and save you on interest for the purchase.
  • Try generic brands of items you buy regularly: You will likely find that the store brand is just as good as the name brand but saving you a few cents that the company spends on marketing.
  • Fill out the FAFSA: visit fafsa.ed.gov to fill out your FAFSA Application, or visit NIU's Student Financial Aid Office for information and assistance.  Fill out a FAFSA every year to receive federal education grants and loans.
  • Master the ten second rule: This can help limit impulse purchases. Before you purchase an item, stop for ten seconds and think "why am I purchasing this item, and do I really need it?" If you have trouble answering this question, put the item back.
  • Do not speed: If you speed, you run the risk of a costly speeding ticket, not to mention that speeding is inefficient on gas and can cost you more money to fill your tank more often.
  • Check your cell phone bill: Go over your past cell phone bills and look for items that you do not use. Also look to see if you are not using as many minuets or text messages as you plan allows. You can decrease those for added savings.
  • Take public transportation: Take the Huskie Bus! The Huskie Bus Line not only takes you around campus, but the shopping areas of DeKalb and Sycamore. The bus will also take you to the Elburn Train Station. There you can jump on a Metra Train bound for downtown Chicago.
  • Go to a matinee: By seeing a movie during the matinee you can save an average of $2 a ticket. Some theatres also discount for students. There are also theatres that release movies a few months after its original release date and heavily discount the tickets. Shop around for the best value.
  • Make your own coffee: Instead of buying your coffee every morning, make your own. If students spend on average $2.50-$3.50 on a cup of coffee, in one year that is over $500. That means over a 4 year college career you will have spent over $2,000 on coffee.
  • Grocery tips: When you go grocery shopping, always use a list and stick to it. Never go hungry, use the store card savings, avoid “one item” trips, and stock-up on sale items.
  • Save your coins: Put your extra change in a jar that your hand does not easily fit into. This will help your extra change add up and be harder for you to get at for impulse purchases.
  • Start an emergency fund: It is better to be safe than sorry.  In case something unforeseen and urgent arises, the money you set aside in an emergency fund will come in handy.
  • Use sites like eBay or Craigslist: These sites are great for turning items you no longer want or use into cold had cash.  Also you these sites to purchases items at a cheaper price. 
  • Walk or Bike more often: not only will this save you gas money, parking fees, and car maintenance, but will also help you stay fit. 
  • There’s an app for that: In the age of smartphones, managing your finances has become increasingly simple and convenient.  Check your phones app store or marketplace to find a suitable money management app.
  • Use the Rec Center:  Instead of paying for an expensive gym membership, enjoy that luxury for free with fitness centers that are free for students.
  • Stay in shape: Staying fit not only trims your waistline, but also your spending waistline.  Staying healthy reduces your chances of getting sick, which can cause you to miss work days and spend money on medicine.  Staying healthy can also lower your chances of future medical/health problems, which are often very costly.  Not to mention a cheap way to relieve stress.
  • Check your credit report for free: You are entitled access to a free credit report from each of the three national credit reporting companies every 12 months thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  AnnualCreditReport.com is the only authorized source for the free annual credit report.
  • Money Conscious Dates: Going on a date does not mean you have to spend lots of money.  You can find fun, creative, and cheap ways to enjoy a date such as packing a picnic, going on a walk, watching a movie, playing a board game, or even $1 bowling nights
  • Drink more water: Drinking plenty of water can reduce your urges to purchase a drink while you are out.  Drinking a large glass of water before a meal can reduce how much you eat, thus lowering your food bill.  This will also help you digest your food better and keep you adequately hydrated.
  • Clean the air filter in your car: A clean air filter improves your gas mileage, adds horsepower, and helps your car in the long run.  This is a fast, cheap, and simple way to save money.  Do a quick search online to find the simple steps to cleaning an air filter. 
  • Eat breakfast: This allows you to get the energy you need for the day, and prevents you from splurging on expensive coffee and large lunches.  Breakfast foods, like eggs, oatmeal, cereal, or toast, are usually very inexpensive too.
  • Make a budget: Creating a budget is fairly simple, and allows you to better visualize your financial picture.  This is vital to keeping your finances in order.
  • Review your budget: This step is very important to staying on track financially.  Reviewing your budget shows you what areas you need to improve upon.
  • Apply for scholarships:  A scholarship is a great way to help pay for the cost of college.  Most applications do not take very long to fill out, and the financial award can be very substantial.  Visit the NIU Scholarship Office more assistance and information.