As a college student, I had to watch my money carefully. I was on a very fixed income and had to make sure that I had enough to pay my bills, take care of school expenses, and hopefully have a little bit of fun money.

If you’re living on a shoe string budget, here are some ways you can build savings, cut expenses, and maybe get an extra income stream started.

  1. Use Way2Save or Keep the Change. If you don’t have the willpower to set aside money, let your bank do the job. I’ve been save a few hundred dollars with Way2Save that will eventually go towards paying my student loans.
  2. Un-bundle your cable, internet, and phone. Instead of just getting what your local cable company offers you, create  personalized bundle that can save you cash for the services you use. (Save around $70-$100/month)
  3. Switch your auto insurance. Don’t just stay with your old company; shop around and see if you can get a better deal. Just mentioning that you’re thinking of moving can get you a better deal. My mom and my brother were able to lower his insurance premiums from $100/month to $35/month. We cut out insurance bill in half by switching. (Save around $50-$80/month)
  4. Use BillShrink to find better deals. See if your bills are higher than they should be by using Billshrink. The site can even give you alerts on where the cheapest gas stations are in your area.
  5. Keep track of your money leaks with Mint. Mint can help you keep on top of what you’re spending and you can get weekly updates on all your balances. Mint can also analyze your financial accounts and suggest some better options, saving you some more money. (Keep around $20-$50/month)
  6. Freelance your skills. If you have a marketable skill that you’re going to school for, why don’t you gain some experience and earn money and use it? Help local business get a website for example or assist a non-profit with their bookkeeping.
  7. Tutor other students. I did this during high school and college. It was well paying (I did not tutor with the school, I did it myself) and I was able to make $20-$25/hr.
  8. Sell all your unused junk on Ebay. You may be able to sell on Craigslist, but it’s harder to get top dollar for your items.

Looking back, I realized that being conscious of where my money was going and created some extra income helped me the most. I used what I learned to pay off my credit card debts and later on, pay off our car loan.

Your Thoughts on Creating Extra Money

How have you either created another income stream or optimize your spending?