Breathe in the crisp fall air, you’ve settled into your dorm by now but the feeling of newfound freedom lingers. Moving out of your parent’s house for the first time and off to college, the bliss of having your own place! Sure it’s a little crowded and noisy but it’s yours! In between cramming for an exam and rushing off to meet up with friends, you find the time to crash on your bed for a mid-afternoon nap. You’re living the typical student life with the exception of one thing… you’re reading these tips so your summer savings isn’t gone in the first couple months.
College students are notorious for being broke. Getting a part-time job will help you have a leg up on your peers. Bonus if you snag a job that has great perks! For example, working for a grocery store often gives you discounts on groceries. Or if you can get a paid internship, it looks great on a resume and helps build a network - for finding a job after school.
If you can set aside extra money from your budget each month, start paying some of the interest on your student loans. Student loan payments are typically due six months after graduation. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start paying them off while you’re still in school. Even if it’s a small amount, you will graduate in much better shape.
Cooking at home can be a lot cheaper than eating out. Get creative on your ramen meals by adding an egg and veggies. to add protein while keeping it a cheap, easy meal. Keep an eye out for coupons or sales for items you normally buy in the grocery store. Then when they are on sale you can buy a larger quantity and freeze the leftovers for a later date.
You can even have dinner with your roommates or friends at home where everyone brings something and you all share. The cost is shared and it can become a social event. When you and your friends are looking to dine out, instead of paying full price look for happy hours in the area, by eating early or late night you can often get discounted prices.
Bring Your ID
Speaking of discounted prices, your student ID is like a reusable coupon in itself. Carry it in your wallet because many businesses around town offer discounts to students. Click here for a list of some of the places that offer them.
If you are in a dorm room, consider it home for the majority of a year, so decorating the stale white walls will probably improve the space and your mood. Usually you can’t paint the walls but you can still add color to the space by getting a rug or hanging a tapestry to the wall. Just keep in mind the price, your dorm isn’t permanent so spending a lot isn’t ideal. See if you can find something inexpensive online or even a used item from a garage sale. Get crafty with items from your local dollar store or decorate with washi taped picture frames on the wall.
Enjoy your years in college. Keep an eye out for what’s happening on campus. Many colleges host free events for students that include movie night or local bands. The best advice is to stick to your budgeting! You’ll know exactly how much money you’ll have to spend each month and what living within your means is to you.
Related Post: Should You Spend, Save or Invest Your Graduation Gift?