If you’ve lived on your own, you probably understand the feeling of only having $10 left in your bank account, yet knowing you still have to buy dinner. If you are in or went to college, you definitely understand the struggle of not having any money but constantly being tempted by friends to grab lunch, coffee, go out to a birthday dinner, buy drinks for a night out, or donate money to an organization you’re involved in on campus. The places college students can spend their money are endless and with the amount students seem to go out, any money you have quickly disappears. Every. Single. Time.
Photo: Michael Longmire on Unsplash
My first tip without a doubt is find a source of income. Whether it’s a part-time job or allowance from your parents or even doing those online surveys that give you $5 at a time…find something where you’ll be getting money. My next life tip and worldly advice is that having consistent work and having a lot of money unfortunately doesn’t go hand in hand. All the expenses of living alone in addition to the superfluous expenses I mentioned before that comes with college, still eats into what you make. Thankfully I’ve found a route that allows me to work, have fun, and still afford rent.
How about we get coffee instead?
Whenever I asked to hang out with someone, the first suggestion is always getting lunch or dinner. My first tip to you is: stop eating out!! Unless it’s someone’s birthday dinner or a special treat you really need to stop it. That includes fast food. Buying your own groceries (Trader Joe’s has so much good grub for so cheap) saves so much money. So next time someone asks to go out to get food, ask if they want to get coffee—or even better—ask if they want to come over and make dinner with you!
Costco is your friend
Buying in bulk really is cheaper. Having to go to Target every single weekend to get more toilet paper sucks and is costly and there’s way too many options. Buy in bulk and live off your purchases for the rest of time.
Student discounts are your friend
Always Google to see if a certain company offers student discounts! Movie theatres do, clothing stores usually do, even Spotify does! It never hurts to check and it saves a ton of money. Find what is practical for you. I listen to a ton of music so buying it all individually on iTunes (I don’t think I’ll ever figure out how Apple Music works…) isn’t practical for me. Spotify is! And instead of $10 a month, just for being a university student, I get it for $5 a month. Cha-ching. Oh—also free trials. Use those.
Your friends are your friend
Following up on that Spotify thing…if you’re friend is willing to share their account with you, do it. Split that $5 charge and it’s even cheaper. Don’t have prime but your friend does? Ask to use it when you’re in dire need of free 2-day shipping. Your friend doesn’t have Netflix but you love House of Cards, let them freeload off your account. It’s a give and take and it seriously is so helpful.
There are endless tips to saving money in college and I’m always budgeting on apps like Mint and checking my online statement to make sure I’m not overspending. The overarching theme is: rely on your friends. They get it! They’re probably struggling for money too and they’re here to help. Just like you’re here to help them. Thrive in your savings together!
My name is Meagan Donovan and I’m a 19 year old junior at Chapman University in Southern California. I am double majoring in theater studies and public relations/advertising, emphasizing my studies in the entertainment industry. A fun fact about me is that I’ve been performing since I was in third grade and I love writing my own songs, playing guitar, learning new dance forms, and acting in plays and musicals.