Campus Blog

College Spending Tips

Alyssa Stegmaier

1. Budget yourself.
Give yourself a set amount of money to spend each week and don’t spend more than that. It is also helpful to take that set amount of money out of your bank account and only use cash. That way, you don’t use your credit or debit card and spend a ton of money without thinking about it.

2. You are a poor college student, remember that.
You may have just had an awesome graduation party where you received quite a bit money. That’s great! Buy a few things for your dorm room and maybe a laptop, but go for the cheapest options. That money is going to go by very fast if you aren’t careful. Save it for emergencies and remember, you do have to buy books and pencils.

3. Find the cheapest options for books.
This may require a bit of critical thinking. First ask yourself, is this a class I am genuinely interested in and therefore would like to keep the textbook after taking the class? If the answer is no, rent the book. If the answer is yes, purchase the book used. Be sure to look at all of your options and compare prices from websites with the prices from bookstores on your campus.

4. Use student discounts.
The world feels sorry for us college students and because of this, they provide us discounts on a ton of awesome random stuff! There is absolutely no shame in carrying around your student ID at all times and asking places if they have a student discount. If they don’t, no harm done. If they do,  you just saved some money!

5. Don’t eat out.
There is a reason your parents only take your family out every once in awhile. It’s expensive. Really good food costs money. Avoid going out to eat to save money in college.

6. Shop at grocery stores with cheap options.
This is very important if you live off campus. Try different stores and compare the prices in each place. Also, buying food off brand is the absolute best when you don’t have very much money to spend.

7. Only buy what you need.
Are you actually going to have time to play that new video game? Make sure you fully think through each large purchase you make. Something that I have found helpful is to consult a friend or two to get more opinions on why I want that new thing.

8. Pack your lunch.
Packing a sandwich is much cheaper than purchasing food on campus. It may take some more effort, but you will appreciate that effort in the long run.

9. Use your meal plan.
You’re paying for it, so you might as well use it. Take advantage of it and get as much out of it as you can. Ask upperclassmen what tricks they have for how to get the most out of your specific meal plan.

10. Eat free food.
That “free” food is paid for by your tuition in some way. You have indirectly paid for it. Eat as much of it as you can. There are also places off campus that might provide free meals. Be sure to look into the churches surrounding your campus and see if they host any events with free food.

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