Ctrl+Shift+Esc: Money Management

For most of you, college is a chance to start over—an escape from high school drama, parental control and a chance to be a different person. This newfound freedom often puts many in a tight spot money wise—you’re loaded on the first of every month and a few samosas later, you don’t know where all the money went. So welcome to adulting 101, budget planning. If you’re here to find out how much you need to ask your parents for, scroll to the bottom of the article. For a more detailed explanation, read on.

  • Stationery:

If you’re a first year, an expenditure review at the end of the first month would make you realise how much money you’ve spent unnecessarily. Stationery, an essential, takes up a lot of money—if you invest in it unwisely. While you might buy six notebooks for six subjects, remember that your zeal would last only for a month or two. You would definitely stop taking notes/ reduce the amount you write after the excitement wears off. The right way to go about your initial stationery shopping would be to spend wisely. Invest in one 320 page book for math, and one six subject notebook for the other subjects. Buy more books according to your needs.

Amount spent on books if you get attracted to the fancy set of 6 book deal: ₹250 + ₹100 for an extra math book = ₹350

Amount spent on books if you buy one big math book and one six subject notebook: ₹100 + ₹140 = ₹240.

  • Dhobi:

Due to the lack of washing machines in some blocks, people spend a lot of money on getting their laundry done. Here’s how you can save:

  1. Don’t give all your clothes. T-Shirts and tops made of thin materials are easily washable and take a maximum of two to three hours to dry. If you’re too lazy to do your laundry all at once, you could do it over two days—soak the clothes on day one, rinse and dry on day two.
  2. Ask the dhobi for individual prices when he/she asks you for the amount. This saves you from being cheated and you could also argue for a lower price per garment.
  3. Pay the dhobi with each set of laundry you get done, don’t pay it all at the end of the month. Not only will you be low on cash by then, you will have no way of knowing whether you’re being charged the right amount.
  • Lifestyle and Food:

If you’re a big foodie and can’t stand what the mess serves you, chances are that all your money goes on food and other necessities. How do you maximise flavour and minimise cost?

  1. Eat out no more than thrice a week. Find out your top 3 unpalatable meals and eat out or order in on those days. Ordering food from Apoorva mess on a regular basis is cheap and is great value for money. The only drawback? Way. Too. Oily. If you find a way to get rid of the excess oil, then by all means go for it.
  2. If you lol’d at point one because there is absolutely no way that you’re going to eat out just thrice a week, fret not, there’s another solution. It’s not a hidden fact that money gets cut from the mess card irrespective of whether you eat or not. The best way to get tummy khush aur mummy khush would be to eat a little at the mess/ food court before you step out to grab a bite.
  3. Unless you’re some sort of God, there is no way you’re going to have breakfast every single day. I personally spent a lot of money on buying samosas, juices and shakes during breaks to soothe my hangry attitude. This not only resulted in me spending a lot but also took a toll on my health; consuming artificial sugar every day is a very bad idea. A solution to this is buying a plastic box. Yes. Old school. If you’re sprinting to class, take a short detour, stuff some bread/paratha in your box and continue. This way you can buy just a hot chocolate, tea or coffee to drink along with your food, hence saving a lot of money.
  4. Grocery shopping: Stick to the list and buy big bottles of everything. Stores have somehow strategically placed all the temptations ahead of the necessities. Try sticking to your list and buy only what you really need. Yes, buying big bottles of shampoo or shower gel would set you back by quite a lot but it’s cheaper in the long run—you’d have to go to the stores only once or twice the entire semester if you do so.


Additional Tips:

  1. Get a cycle. This way you could get to class on time even if you wake up a little too late. The time and money spent on a ₹30 auto ride from the block to AB5 plus all the walking is way more than what it would be if you just cycled. You could also cycle to nearby places like Egg Factory, TC, etc. instead of spending money on autos. Remember: Autos do not come cheap in Manipal.
  2. If you borrow money from someone, pay it back as soon as possible. This would prevent accumulation of debt and saves you sudden expenditure.
  3. Maintain a record of how much you’re spending. Download Walnut or similar money managing apps from the app store. This way you can gauge when you’ll run out of money and spend accordingly.
  4. Try saving 20% of your pocket money. You may need the extra money to buy birthday gifts, cake, or medicines.
  5. If you fall sick pretty often and have made KMC your second home, remember to always read the prescription. Many a time, you’d probably have the medicine and wouldn’t have to spend money on medicines. Don’t blindly buy it all.
  • How Much Pocket Money Do I Need?

Do remember that the estimate I give you is how much you need to live a comfortable life. It’s a very generalised list and since everyone’s personal expenses may differ, do add or subtract accordingly.

For boys:

Dhobi – 3 pairs of jeans a week * 4 weeks ₹180-200
Food + Others ₹600-800
Snacks during breaks – ₹15 per coffee * 2 * 4 weeks ₹120 – ₹150
Auto – Cost split between 3 people ₹100-150

Minimum Amount: ₹1000 – 1300

For girls:

Dhobi – 2 pairs of jeans a week + long kurtis * 4 weeks ₹200 – ₹250
Food + Others ₹600 – 800
Snacks during breaks – ₹15 per coffee * 2 * 4 weeks ₹120 – ₹150
Auto – Cost split between 3 people ₹100 – ₹150
Pads/Other necessities ₹200
Parlour (Extra) ₹500

Minimum Amount: ₹1720 – 2050

While some may find it hard to manage with 7 to 10 thousand a month, most people make do with what they get. You can spend a maximum of ₹500 a month and live comfortably; after all, most expenses are already taken care of.  Remember, balancing money is the key to having enough.

–Nethraa Kannan for MTTN

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