Balling on a Budget

 

By: Kesia Szydlowski

 

Prior to college, the average student is dependent on their parents to fulfill their basic needs, i.e., food, shelter, security, clothing, etc. If you are lucky, your parents will continue to support most of your needs throughout college as well. But for most of the collegiate population, the students take monetary responsibility for themselves when they enter college. For the slim number of students who have time to work 40-hour weeks while going to school, this may not be a problem, but for the general mass of college students, finances can be a major cause of stress and panic.

In order to combat the gallons of Starbucks coffee mixed with copious amounts of tuition payments, here are a couple of money saving techniques to adopt into your everyday life.

 

  1. Never buy textbooks new

According to College Avenue Student Loans, LLC., textbook rental options such as Amazon.com, Chegg and Barnes & Noble offer vastly cheaper rental prices than campus bookstores. They even refer to a site called iFlipd, which allows the student to pay-as-they-go, or pay for the weeks you use the book and not the weeks you do not, for textbook rentals.

 

  1. Take advantage of campus amenities

Many campuses offer a gym, a cafeteria, a library, and study areas. Instead of overpaying for a gym membership 10 miles from your house, take advantage of what your campus has to offer you free of charge. If you do have an on-campus meal plan- take advantage of it; do not go out and spend money on a meal you could get on campus for free with your meal plan. If you do not have a meal plan, take advantage of the usually cheaper pricing that your school’s cafeteria offers. If you are tempted to go to the movies and spend $20 on movie tickets and not to mention popcorn prices, try looking at your school’s library first, they may have popular DVDs for rent.

 

  1. Budget and get a prepaid card

To avoid overspending on eating out, Buzzfeed.com suggests putting a set amount of money on a prepaid card which forces you to pick between that $8 Chipotle meal, or $8 worth of fruits and vegetables that will last you all week. Budgeting and putting a set amount of money on a prepaid card deters from impulse buys and tightens your metaphorical purse strings.

 

  1. Plan your work accordingly

Buzzfeed.com also suggests working somewhere that you would normally shop at, eat at, or go to anyway. This allows you to take advantage of discounts and employee perks on things you would normally be paying pull price for anyway. Do you need maintenance done on your car? Apply to work at a dealership or a service shop. Loving the amenities at the gym by your house? Apply to work there and get a free membership.

 

  1. Alcohol

According to collegescholarships.org, “each year, college students spend about $5.5 billion on alcohol, mostly beer.” If you cannot live without your Friday night cold one, try drinking before going out (make sure to prearrange a safe ride) to save yourself from spending on overpriced drinks at restaurants.  Also, limit the amount of cash you take out with you. No more money means no more brews. Go to where the specials are; if Wednesday offers $1 pints, then take advantage of that instead of paying $5 on usual nights.

  1. Student Discounts

Many restaurants, retail stores, movie theaters, and cellphone providers offer discounts for students. For a list of places that offer student discounts, visit KNUE, the Austin Statesman, or the Odyssey Online. Also, make sure to always ask at local places if they offer student discounts- you might be surprised.

 

Aside from getting a job and budgeting your money wisely, there are numerous ways to save as you take your finances into your own hands. Ask for you will increase your chances of making it through the financial world of college unscathed.

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