If there is one thing all college students have in common, it is that we are BROKE! Learning how to save money in college is a special trait that is all too real to so many of us. Living at home and going to grade school, money was obviously not a problem. I was going to school during the day, working at a restaurant at night, and I definitely did not cringe whenever I looked at my bank account, which I do now (more than I actually want to admit).
However, dorming in New York City and going to college is a whole different story. Trying to juggle school with a part-time internship takes up all my time during the week leaving little time to actually work and make money. Luckily for me, I have learned a thing or two about not spending money and living on a budget that should not make me want to cry by the end of the semester. If you are like so many of us and are struggling to save money in college, keep reading for these ten easy ways to help you!
1. Limit the amount of takeout meals you order.
You might think ordering late night Domino’s or a burger from the dollar menu at McDonald’s actually means you are saving money, but you’re not. That money adds up and soon you will be looking at your bank account wondering where all your money went and wondering whether that extra small fry was even worth it.
2. Ditch the detergent when doing your laundry.
This is something I learned just recently by trying to get the god awful smell out of my workout clothes, and it is the magic of baking soda. Don’t spend any more of your money on buying expensive detergent and start buying baking soda. It is super cheap, I bought a decent size box at Rite Aid for 1.49 and it cleans your clothes just like detergent. My clothes have never been so clean and I haven’t even touched my detergent in weeks.
3. Start planning out your meals.
If you are not a frequent dining hall user, this tip for how to save money in college is crucial. A mix of not wanting to buy too much takeout and wanting to maintain a clean diet have forced me to embrace meal planning. This way you have all your meals stacked up for the week and you aren’t tempted to buy something that is bad for you and cost money when you are out and about because you know you have food at home. It also makes more time in your schedule to do the things you have to do because you don’t have to waste time cooking every night. We are all busy people and the less we have to worry about, the better.
4. Reduce the amount of times you swipe your credit card by carrying a set limit of cash on you at all times.
Refrain from using your debit and credit card as much as you can. You are more tempted to send money when it’s on your card because you can’t physically see how much money you are losing from using it on daily basis. Instead, try to carry cash on you at all times so you can actually see the money you are spending. If you’ve already used your designated amount of cash, you can’t buy anymore.
5. Cut out the luxuries to a level that is workable for you.
It isn’t bad to treat yourself every once in awhile, but anything that requires constant upkeep, kick it to the curb. If you are used to getting you hair done every month, start embracing your natural look. For me, it was my nails. I would get them done every two weeks religiously and once I started school I decided to just bite the bullet and take my nails off. I don’t have to worry about getting them done and every time two weeks rolls around I think about the 40 dollars I just saved myself.
6. Take the time to research available student discounts and promo codes available to you.
You would not imagine the amount of places that offer a discounted rate for students and so many people are unaware of them. Whenever I’m at a place I ask them if they have a student discount and I end up saving like 10-20 percent on all the purchases I make. That may not seem a lot but every penny counts. If you are looking for more student discounts and promotional codes, visit here!
7. Save your spare change instead of putting it in the tip jar.
This is something I was doing even before I started dorming, but it worked so well for me that I continued doing it when I went away. Put aside a little piggy bank (any old mason jar will do) that you only put your change into and every so often cash it in at your nearest bank. You would be surprised at how much money is added up with just the leftover change you leave around. The great thing is that the money is directly deposited into your bank account. It’s your own little direct deposit.
8. Use thrift stores to your advantage.
Say goodbye to Forever 21 and H&M and start shopping at you local thrift store. Obviously thrift stores are known for being very cheap and there are a lot of cool vintage things you’re bound to find. Last time I checked vintage is really in right now so jump on the trend and give your wallet a break.
9. Practice some budgeting and self control.
There are going to be many things that you think you need but really don’t and that is very important to know when trying to live on a budget. Differentiate what is a want versus what is something that you actually need. Try writing all the things you want down on a list and if you still want those same things when you have money, then get them for yourself.
10. Buy your groceries online.
No this isn’t lazy. OK, it may be- but you can justify it by telling yourself you are saving some money, and you are. Amazon prime pantry gives you the option of buying your food online and the even better thing is that they offer amazon prime free as a student with free two day shipping! How can it get any better than that, just another one of those student discounts you would be crazy not to take advantage of.
What are your favorite ways to save money in college? Comment below and share this article with friends!
Featured image source: spicyscribbler.com, pinterest.com
Jalana is living in the city as she completes her Junior year at Baruch College. She is pursuing a career in Public Relations, and will start a new and exciting internship with Elizabeth Arden in the Spring! Once she graduates she hopes to travel around Europe before the responsibilities of adulting catch up with her.