How To Save Money Before You Get To College

College is expensive. We all know this; we’ve heard it hundreds of times. But something that many college newbies don’t understand is that it isn’t just tuition cost they are being warned about.

Along with moving away from home comes paying to live on your own. Most likely you’ll be eating out more than you have in the past, you’ll be paying for public transportation more, going to go to clubs and bars gets costly, and everyday things like materials for projects, grabbing a water bottle between classes, or picking up a handbook you didn’t know you needed for class, all add up.

Trust me, asking mom and dad for a handout every week is not fun. So before you even get to college it’s a good idea to have a cushion in the bank that you can count on.

Thankfully, I got the same advice before I went away to school, and I was happy I did.

Here are some tips for saving money while you’re still in high school, that I know firsthand really work.

  • Start a Coin Jar: The power of coins is highly underestimated. Each time you throw change into the bottom of your bag or let in fall into your seat cushions, you’re throwing away potential spending money. Every time you get change put it safely away into your wallet until you get home, then right away throw it into a coin jar. You’ll be surprised how fast it can add up!
  • Use Cash for Small Purchases: If you are a person who uses your debit card for every coffee or gum purchase you may not have a lot of coins to collect. Instead make sure you always have at least a $10 or $5 bill in your wallet. This way when you need to make a small purchase you’ll have the cash and you’ll likely get back change for your jar.
  • Pack a Lunch: Buying food is my biggest money suck, as I could imagine it is for many young people on the go. Before you go to bed at night pack your own lunch, snacks or make your own coffee that you’ll need for your busy day ahead. Think about it, if you spend $5 on lunch Monday-Friday, by packing your own you’ll save $20 a week, about $80 a month, and just under $1000 a year!
  • Look for Coupons: Next time you go to the grocery store, need a haircut, or are going clothes shopping, find some coupons online first. With websites like Living Social and Groupon, the job is much easier. If you planned on going to dinner at Olive Garden, but there is a half off deal for Outback online, be willing to adjust your plans.
  • Share is Caring: Anytime that you and your friends can split the cost of something, do it! Carpool to save on gas, invade each other’s closets to avoid having to buy 4 prom dresses or suits, or take turns using purchased video games, movies, or books so not everyone has to buy all of them.

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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.