We’ve all been there, college is full of tight budgets and navigating schedules. It can be difficult to earn money while also keeping up to date in your classes. When you’re being pulled in a million different directions, the last thing you want to think about is how to better manage your money. Society19 is here to help! Here are 5 ways to save money to better fit your college budget.
1. Union Owned Grocery Stores
In any college budget one thing is guaranteed, you need to eat! Cafeteria plans in college can be expensive and not always feasible to what you’re craving. There is a solution! To those who aren’t familiar with union owned grocery stores, I’ll explain. Essentially, these stores are owned by the people and are overseen and regulated by a set union. But why does this matter for a college budget? The prices are the cheapest you can get in any store known to man. Since unions are funded by the members and sponsors within them, they can afford to make their prices dirt cheap without having that added turn over price that most groceries stores have in order to turn a profit. Even Walmart pales in comparison to these great prices! The only downside of these stores is that they are not readily available in all states and cities across the United States. Depending upon where you live, it can be exceedingly difficult to find these stores. For instance, California is known for their numerous union owned grocery stores, yet on the east coast, they are less prevalent. Yet they still can be found. One is as close as Lawrence Massachusetts! When you’re looking to shop with the ultimate savings, try this hack out.
2. Monitor Your Heater And Air Conditioner
This hack seems intuitive, but do you really know what it means to monitor your heater and air conditioner? When it’s uncomfortable indoors, it can be really tempting to crank that heater or air conditioner for immediate relief. But what comes after instant gratification is something you will later have to pay for when the electric bill rolls around. With winter around the corner, tis the season for this perfect hack. The best thing to do when on a budget in a cold winter is this, turn on your heater and time it. I personally turn on my hater to 70 for around 20 to 30 minutes before shutting it off. After the heater is shut off, you will still be left with heat in your house. In addition, before your heater turns off it will go through it’s full cycle, leaving your house warm and toasty without breaking your budget. This can be done with the air conditioner as well. Although with cooling tactics there is an easier solution. If you’re feeling a little toasty inside, simply crack open a window. Not only will it give you some cool air, but it will make your apartment feel far less stuffy than when you started. If you’re looking to save money on your power, try this hack out.
3. Thrift Store Shopping
While thrift stores are becoming more of a popular trend, they are also perfect for a college budget. If you have the urge to binge on buying yourself a new wardrobe, this hack is perfect for you. If you are armed with $20 you are guaranteed to come out with handfuls of goodies and styles. And due to the expanding popularity of thrift stores, there is so much more to choose from now that wasn’t available before. There are even online thrift stores now to guarantee you that great look you want without breaking your bank. Don’t want to buy used clothes? Don’t be fooled! Some clothes have never been worn before being donated to these stores. You heard me right! You can find brand new items in a thrift store if you know where to look. Online stores will sometimes show the wear of clothing as well, making your search for new items on a cheap budget faster and easier than ever before. If you want a new look but can’t afford those new wardrobe prices, thrift store shopping is a must try!
4. Set Budgets For Yourself
This hack is, well, not really a hack. Managing your budget is paramount in being successful in the working world after college. So what better place to start those practices in college? Leaving yourself with a budget for different amenities such as food, power, rent and free spending will not only leave your finances happy, it will alleviate the stress over your budget. Having a plan allows you to relax and not be in constant revolving stress about every purchase. For instance, I used to set a food budget for myself around $40 to $50 per week on food. I set aside another $100 for power and $200 free spending on top of rent. Setting your budget allows you to understand what you financially can and can’t do in a whole new light. This hack allows you to plan accordingly for future plans and financial decisions both in and out of college. If you’re looking to get smart with your money and plan for your future, this hack is a great place to start.
5. Selling Your Textbooks
One of my favorite hacks for fast and easy cash is selling your textbooks. Some of the prices for these books can be enormous and sometimes downright ridiculous. And even more stressful, your college bookstore may not take the books back that you spent hundreds of dollars on. So what do you do? Sell them! Online stores such as Amazon or Ebay, are textbook central and will allow you to make most of your cash back on your expensive textbooks. Don’t know where to get started? Simply make an account, post a picture of your textbook and set your price! Note, that you will want to research around for other prices of the same textbook. You want to ensure you’re not underselling or overselling your book so that it will sell fast and not sit on the market.