Monday, November 14, 2016

Tips for Saving Money in College

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College is the time where most of us start to learn how to really manage our finances.  We still have that support from our parents, but for the most part, we're on our own.  It's scary, but also freeing because we're really starting to get that taste of independence.  With independence comes responsibility, though, especially with money.  Everyone is that #BrokeCollegeStudent at some point (more often than you think), so here's five tips to help save money during your college years!

1. Figure out a good budget.  If you have a job, if you don't have a job, if your income consists of your grandparents giving you $50 every month--whatever your financial situation is: budget your money.  Getting a part time job helps, but it can be tough to find one, and not everyone has the flexibility in their schedule for one.  Find out what income you're making and make a budget for yourself.  I've found that setting aside a certain percentage every week or two for groceries and gas helps a lot.  Starting out small is better than not starting at all!

2. If you can, don't buy books from the bookstore.  I feel like every college student should know this by now, but there's still a ton of students who choose to go with the bookstore instead of searching for other options.  But why in the world would you pay an arm and a leg to just rent a used textbook?  Amazon has a student Prime account option, which has a lot of great deals, and is another top contender for buying new and used textbooks.  Even googling for sites like these gives you hundreds of thousands of results.  Check out Facebook groups from your university as well because people are always buying and selling textbooks for reasonable prices!

3. Thrift shop.  Macklemore might have made thrifting popular again, but to me, it's never been out of style.  You never know what gems you'll find in a thrift store.  Plus, there are some amazing sites where you can buy and sell clothes for affordable prices. has been one of my favorites for a while.  A friend of mine introduced it to me last year and it's one of the biggest online thrift stores out there.  You can buy designer items for practically 75% off the original price!

4. Use that student discount.  A lot of places (especially in college towns) offer a student discount on their food or products if you show a student ID.  Ask around and figure out which restaurants and stores offer a discount and make a list, so you know which places to go to when you're low on money.  There's no harm in asking an employee of the store, either, if you're unsure.  Saving 10% on a meal or outfit can really make a difference in the long run.

5.  Learn to love leftovers.  If you're a picky eater like me, you probably hate the idea of leftovers.  I did too, until I got to college and started making my own meals.  I had this crazy idea that leftovers didn't taste as good as the fresh meal, so I refused to eat them.  But that meant I wasted money by buying more food when I could save food instead.  It was crazy and I realized I didn't want to lose money that way, so I started refrigerating my leftovers to eat the next day or evening, and saved so much money.

College has become so expensive over the years that it's no wonder that most students are struggling financially.  These years can be rough, but it's also a time where you learn to really manage your money.  I hope these tips help, since I've had success with them!  What other ways do you save money during college?

Quote of the day: "Dreams don't work unless you do."

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