5 Ways To Live On A Shoestring Budget In College

While you may never be wealthy while in college, you don’t have to be dirt broke. Sometimes new college students put their new freedoms toward money too, spending unnecessarily because no one is there to tell you not to.

Using these ways to save money will require little alteration to your daily lifestyle, but can drastically change your bank account.

Use your meal plan: You pay for it so you might as well use it. Yes, it is nice to treat yourself to dinner with friends once in a while, but why spend even $5 on McDonald’s on a Wednesday afternoon when you can grab a “free” sandwich from the dining hall. Usually colleges have more than one food spot on campus where meal points are accepted, so you can have many food options. At the end of the year your dining hall points will expire so use them while you can. You’ll see how fast your savings will add up when you stop those take out runs every night.

Be willing to share: One of the best things about having a roommate is being able to share clothes, in an instance your wardrobe doubles. No longer do you need to make an expensive trip to the mall for a black dress or blue button up. If you and your roommate are not the same size borrow from hall mates, and remember hoodies, sweatpants, and t-shirts are pretty much one size fits all. Don’t limit yourself to clothes either. Sharing a textbook with your roommate or floor mate who is taking the same class can save you a lot of money.

Carpool: Anytime you and your friends take a trip in the car, whether it be down the street, or a long road trip, pack as many people as you safely can into the car. Pick a time that you and your hall mates are all available to go the grocery store and go together. Take turns driving and have everywhere chip in for gas money to make it fair. Put a jar in everyone’s cup holders and each time you all get in and out of each other’s cars, drop in some change.

Use the library: Remember, the library is free! Many times required class reading is available through the library. Ask the librarians about cataloged journals and articles that they can make a copy of for you for free. You can also use the library to save on entertainment. Rent movies, TV series, and CD’s to save on movie nights, and iTunes bills.

Student discounts: You student ID is not only for getting into your dorm or dining hall. Many retail stores, websites, movie theaters, grocery stores, tanning salons, and restaurants give 15% off discount to students. Colleges also affiliate with local stores and restaurants for additional discounts and special savings. If you aren’t told about student discounts—ask. Retailers may not advertise it, but hidden student discounts can add up.

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Lisa Manente

Lisa Manente

Lisa Manente is a senior at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. She will be graduating with the BA in Media Studies and Communications in May. Editing the Entertainment section for her university’s newspaper and magazine has fueled her passion for entertainment journalism, which is the career path she plans to explore. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, listening to music, and catching up on celebrity gossip.