By: Hollis Conners ~Features Editor~
If there is one thing many college students are constantly thinking about, it’s money: how much they need to pay rent, how much debt they are drowning in and how much they shouldn’t have spent at the bar last weekend. Every cent counts, so here are a few tips and tricks to save up some extra cash and live frugally.
General Well Thought Out Advice
1. Ask for student discounts: They are everywhere— Cinemark in Oakley, stores in the Kenwood Mall like JCrew and Madewell and Buffalo Wild Wings are just a few examples.
2. Drink water: When you go to restaurants, don’t order a Coke. Get a cup of water for free while also saving the calories for more food. Also, don’t buy bottled water. A package of water costs about $10. Instead of spending that every week, spend $10 one time on a water bottle and get free water all year from a sink or water fountain. If you still hate the taste of tap water, get a Brita Filter, or a cheap version of a Brita. It will still save you more money overall and is more environmentally friendly.
3. Make coffee on your own: Buying Starbucks or Coffee Emporium every day is not friendly to most student budgets. Buying a $5 coffee five times a week is $25 a week, but you can buy a bag of Folgers Ground Coffee that will last at least a month for $10. In the long run, buying a cheap coffee maker will cost less.
4. Create a budget: Having a limit to how much you can spend per week will help monitor your spending and reduces the “little purchases,” such as getting gum at the store or a bag of chips from the vending machine. Small purchases add up fast.
5. Make a change jar: It seems silly, but a month’s worth of change can really add up.
6. Avoid spending money at the bars: A drink at the bar can range from $7 to $10. Is it really worth spending $50 at the bar in only one night?
For Dorm Dwellers
1. Use your meal plan: Having cafeteria food two or three times every day can get old, but going out to eat a couple times a week can really make your bank account dwindle. Students often have leftover meal swipes at the end of the semester. Use all of them; you paid for them anyway. If you still don’t want the Caf, try to attend free events on campus that include food. Check out the Student Government Association (SGA) calendar on Orgsync for some of these events.
2. Use Amazon: Books are often cheaper on Amazon than the bookstore. You can even rent from Amazon. Posters and other dorm accessories are also cheap. Many posters and picture frames cost between $2 and $3 if you look hard enough.
3. Go to free events: Constantly going to the movies and the mall can be fun, but these places will suck the money out of your pocket. Attend the late night movies on campus or go to Muskies After Dark and Xavier sporting events, all of which are free to students.
4. Go to class: It’s already paid for, so you might as well go. Skipping a lot of classes is almost like throwing money out the wind.
1. Get a Kroger Plus Card: Not only will it let you utilize some great deals when you shop at the grocery, but you can also gain fuel points to save money on gas.
2. Make a meal schedule : Plan out your meals ahead of time, make a list of all the food you need and only buy from the list. Don’t buy food you don’t need simply because it is a “good deal.” Also, shop on a full stomach. Shopping while you are hungry will entice you to buy excessive amounts of food.
3. Find alternative transportation: Gas prices are high, so if you live near campus, consider walking, riding your bike or carpooling with friends who live in your house or near you.
4. Turn off the lights: If you live in a house off campus, chances are you are paying for utilities. Leaving lights on and chargers plugged in the walls can rack up the electricity bill. Take some extra steps and turn off lights and electronics you aren’t using.
5. Pay bills on time: Late fees are not your friends. They are in fact your bank account’s mortal enemies.