How to Stick to Your Budget During Finals
Stresses are high, late nights are rampant, and the end is just out of reach. It's finals season. With classes and life pulling you in a thousand directions at all times of the day, quick fixes seem like the right answer to common problems like transportation, hunger, energy, sleep, etc., but how do we combat these urges, and stick to our budgets during the most stressful time of the semester? Here are a few tips to keep you on track.
One of the easiest ways to blow a budget during an especially stressful time is to start grabbing snacks and ordering takeout to save a few precious minutes. If this sounds like something you might fall prey to, you should consider meal prepping the weeks' meals all at once during finals season. My favorite way to keep myself from snacking mindlessly is to prep five decent-sized meals. I’ll usually go for a 1/2 cup of protein, 1/2 cup grain/starch, and 1 cup of veggies/fruit (make sure to throw in some healthy fats as well, to keep you feeling full).
There are tons of super useful articles all over the web detailing how to meal prep (while maintaining a good variety) on a budget.
Getting ahead of your mid-day munchies and your midnight snack urges will save you a lot of money, time, and in the end you'll be eating SUPER healthy, leaving you feeling energized throughout the last few weeks of the semester.
Hear me out here: We all know how easy it is to whip out your debit/credit card and snag a quick Redbull for two bucks at the corner shop. Don't do that. Create a strict daily/weekly budget and take that amount out in cash. Leave your credit/debit cards at home to avoid temptation.
If you're looking for a way to avoid the infamous midday crash, stay hydrated. If you're dehydrated, you'll feel sluggish, hungry, and tired (sound familiar?). By carrying a water bottle with you, you'll keep yourself from mindlessly eating and drinking (another massive budget win).
Not to mention, you'll feel more alert and energized throughout the day, which is something we could all use, especially during finals.
Caffeinate With Intention
I'm not deluded. I know you're going to be drinking your energy drinks, coffee, or tea. I won't kid myself there. What I will do is suggest planning those things ahead. Pack what you'll want ahead of time, and if you're drinking any pre-packaged drinks, try to buy them in bulk from a grocery store, rather than one by one as the cravings set in. It might only be a few dollars saved, but we all know that a few dollars is a few weeks of ramen, which is almost nothing to turn your nose up at.
Budgeting may not be the most glamorous part of adulthood, but it can be a major stress reliever, and can keep you healthier than ever. So write down a plan, and get out some flashcards, because this finals season is going to be the best one yet!