How to Save Money in College

If you keep up with me and Current Habits, you know I graduated college in June, so I can relate to those of you on "college budgets." Believe me, I've been there. . . I'm basically still there! My parents weren't able to pay for my schooling, which meant scholarships, grants, working and loans (sigh). So how did I do it while paying out-of-state tuition? Trial and error, but lucky for you, today I'm sharing some tips that worked for me.

1. Learn to say no. Yes, making friends is important, but you're never going to be able to do it all. The sooner you learn to pass every now and then, the better off you'll be. Real friends will understand and maybe even stay in and watch a movie with you, it's free! You also won't feel bad about spending money on the can't-miss events.

2. Find your grocery store. Maybe you can't shop at Trader Joe's because of the variety of fun treats or maybe you can't shop at Safeway because of the beer, either way figure out which grocery store you save money at. It also helps to find out where all of your money is going at the grocery store. Maybe you need to skip the snack isle and stick to fruits and veggies. Those packages foods may taste good, but chances are they drain your wallet.

3. Cook at home. This is probably my favorite because I got a lot out of it. Alex and I would do at-home date nights at least once a week. We went from microwave ramen pros to gourmet chefs. Well, maybe not, but now we both have recipes of our own to impress dinner guests. A big win for our wallets and a few recipes for the books, literally.

4. Choose roommates with similar or flexible budgets. I got really lucky on this one. I had one roommate looking to save money and another with flexibility. During our fourth year, we got a great little house with 3 different sized bedrooms at an awesome price! The roommate with a flexible budget got the big room and paid more, while the roommate trying to save chose the smallest and cheapest bedroom.

5. Buy used and sell back. I'm sure you've heard this one before, but it works. Buy used when you can (Amazon is your friend), and always sell your books back to the bookstore or try selling on Amazon.

6. Befriend a bartender. Most students turn 21 while in college and suddenly start burning through their budgets. Welcome to legal drinking. Near campus we had a little dive bar with a great bartender. One way or another we became friends with him, and the next thing we knew we were rarely paying for drinks. If you have a bartender friend like ours, always tip well!  

7. Fight your late-night cravings. For awhile my friends and I let our late-night cravings lead to one too many delivery orders. Then we got smart. We'd still snack, but our main snack choice became popcorn popped on the stove top. It was a healthier choice for our bodies and wallets.

Did any of these help you save money in college? Feel free to share what helped you in school. So many people can benefit from advice in this area.

S. Roderick

1 comment:

  1. Ahh if only I would of had this when I started University!! Where did you go to College, did you study in the States? I would love to visit. You should post about what College is really like. I imagine it to be like Mean Girls xxx


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