Being a full time student can be tricky sometimes, especially when you like to buy many (sometimes useless, unnecessary) things. For example, when you need to buy a coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks because “they make it better.” Or when you need Chipotle once a week because “why not?” or spending an absurd amount of money on online shopping because you want to “treat yourself.” It’s these mindsets that make us happy, but make the number in our bank accounts drop like crazy! What if there was a way to still “treat yourself” while spending minimal/ no money. Here are a few ways to save money in college:
- Take advantage of your dining hall. You pay for a meal plan; you might as well use it. Most people walk into a dining hall and just see the main meal and then say “they have nothing.” But if you open your eyes a little wider, you will see, they have many options, that when combined, might equal something you are willing to spend $10+ on. For example, I am sure all dining halls offer a coffee/ tea station. Take advantage of it! They most likely have several sweeteners, milks, flavors etc. that’ll taste just like your Dunkin’ order, and will save you that $3 a day.
- I know this is easier said than done, but if you create a budget sheet to limit yourself on what you can and can’t spend your money on that week or month you will never be surprised by your negative checking account again. Set aside x amount of money each week for “treating yourself” and really try to not exceed it. If you find that you will ignore your budget and will just go over your budget try this tip: If you have a debit card, keep all of your money in your savings account, except your budget, keep it in your checking account. That way, if you “need more money” you will then need to transfer it from your savings to your checking, and although this task is easy, it gets very annoying, and it also forces you to have to go into your bank account often and actually see the numbers.
- A lot of meal plans at universities come with some sort of dining plan. Use those dollars!! They are basically your monopoly money on your campus, and they can be used at more places than you think. So if you’re the type that likes to buy lays chips when you go grocery shopping, don’t. Buy them with your dollars that come with your meal plan! Chances are almost all cafes on the campus that accept the dining dollars, are selling name brand snacks that when you food shop, are spending your own money on.
- Take advantage of anything “free.” A lot of times, universities will give out “free things.” Whether it be, free pizza, free apparel, or free coffee. Technically you have already paid for these things because it is somehow included in your tuition, so get your bang for your buck, and eat all the free food you can!
These hacks might not save you millions, but they will definitely save you maybe an extra $30 a month, which to college students, is a lot!