Once you get to college, you only have so much money to spend. Whether you’re burning through your savings, making money at a part-time job to cover living expenses or using a student loan to pay your way, you’ve got to stretch the dollars as far as they will go.
Your journey to financial prudence starts here. Let’s look at a few things you can do to save money while in college.
Skip Dining Out or Just Have a Salad
Whether you want to stay with the in-crowd or skip some restaurant trips is up to you. It is a good idea to do some café visits and not bar visits because the drinking can quickly get out of hand and the costs skyrocket. Having a coffee instead of a big meal or eating a salad and not something more substantial saves on expensive restaurant costs. Dining out can quickly become a major expense and burn through your cash.
Learn to Be an Excellent Cook
Learning to cook from basic ingredients saves a fortune on buying ready-meals and pre-prepared snacks. When you can knock up a tasty meal quickly, you’ll be far less reliant on more expensive processed food items, canned goods and take outs. If you’re living in a dorm, you’ll also become popular when word gets out that your cooking is top notch.
Buy Previously Owned, Not New
Wherever possible, consider buying local items second-hand. A Craigslist Texas search is likely to find the items that you’re looking for at a fraction of their original cost. Let other people pay the depreciation on the item and get it for 20-50% of the original sticker price.
You can always buy a used desk and re-cover it, or a sofa and put a throw over it so it’s more comfortable. Get inventive about what you’re going to do to save on expenses when you’re first arriving to college.
Ask for Student Discounts Everywhere
Many businesses offer student discounts on everyday items when they’re asked. This applies to stores that have a scheme set up to offer a fixed discount when presented with a valid student ID card, but also smaller businesses might be receptive to reducing the sticker shock if they think that they might get your regular business or recommendation to other students. You can even go shopping based on which stores offer a discount for students to always save money.
Don’t Forget to Pay Bills
Paying your bills in a timely manner avoids getting stuck with $25 and $50 late fees. These add up fast and are a complete waste of money. Don’t bounce checks as you could get in trouble for doing this. Wherever possible, spend with cash and use the envelope system to segment your spending into different categories to avoid overspending your budget. By keeping a close eye on your finances, you’ll always have the money to pay bills without being late.
Being smart about your spending and looking for discounts everywhere should become second nature after a while. It’s also not a bad way to live life when you’re out of college too because you can save towards future goals in life and have financial independence this way.