The Modern Day Piggy Bank: 4 Ways To Save During College

Remember the days when saving your pennies and dimes actually made a difference? Getting a quarter from the tooth fairy was a big deal and your weekly allowance of 5 dollars was big bucks.

Sadly those days of financial simplicity are over, but saving money is always in style.

Your first year of college can be overwhelming enough without having to worry about what’s in your wallet. Finding small ways to save money everyday can help to ease your worries.

The $5 Savings Plan

Many of you may have seen “$5 Savings Plan” floating around the Internet. The reason you keep seeing it is because it works.

The concept is simple, every time a $5 bill finds its way into your life put it aside. Grab an extra jar, an envelope, really anything that will hold your money, and start sticking those $5 bills in it.

Think about it, if you stick $5 aside every 3 days for just 1 month you will have made $50.

I have my own personal version of this and it’s super effective. I’m a server and make tips every shift. We regularly get $1 bills, so I started to put aside any one-dollar bills that I received in tips. After just 3 weeks I had $100. I can only imagine if I had done it with $5 bills.

Shop Around

Before you make any big purchases make sure to shop around to find the lowest price.The biggest place you can save money by shopping around in college is with textbooks.

I will be the first to tell you that your campus bookstore, as personable as they may seem, are going to rip you off. While it may be more convenient to buy your books from your campus bookstore, you are certainly going to pay for that convenience.

I recommend using amazon.com. The great thing about Amazon is that at the end of the semester you can sell back your books and they will credit your account.

For me this has been the best gift of all. I paid around $600 my 1st semester of freshman year, and haven’t had to pay a cent more since then. I simply use the credit from the books that I have sold back.

It’s the perfect circle of buying and selling.

Opt for at home fun

You’ll naturally want to explore the area where you’re going to college with all of your new friends, but watch how much you spend on activities.

Going out to eat even just twice a week every week can really add up. Definitely try out new places, but do so in moderation. Ten dollars here and there can add up very quickly.

Instead try having everyone over to your dorm/house and make a meal together. Or look for places with student discounts or student nights.

The same goes for activities. Host a movie night instead of going out to the movies, or a game night.

Make a budget

The best way to watch what you’re spending is to do just that, watch.

Making a budget for yourself (and not going over it) is a sure fire way to save some money. Set a realistic goal of how little you can spend in a week and make a promise to yourself that you wont go over that.

If you’re worried that you wont be able to keep track of your new budget there are some great apps for smart phones to help you out.

And if you don’t have a smart phone you can always stick to the old school method of simply writing down every purchase you make and subtracting it out of your budget.

College should be a fun and exciting time, not one where you’re constantly stressed about money. Making a few small changes in your spending habits can drastically help to save some money.

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Chelsea Halstead

Chelsea Halstead

University of Portland junior, Chelsea Halstead, is a Communications and French double major. Chelsea hails from Alaska originally, but calls Portland, OR home now. When Chelsea isn't at school or whipping up a mean latte as a Barista, she enjoys spending time outdoors and attempting to make Pinterest crafts!
Chelsea Halstead

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