How to Be Frugal With Your Money in College
March 02, 2020
You can have fun in college and save money for your future at the same time.
It’s easy to forget how important it is to make wise decisions with your money as a college student. Once you get that paycheck, it’s tempting to spend all of it in a day or two. But we have to remind ourselves how much it costs just to be at college. Whether you’re paying for it yourself, your parents are helping you out, you have scholarships or you had to take out student loans, college is a huge investment, both financially and mentally. Though your paychecks might seem small now, you can use them to save for your future.
Attend free events or clubs on campus:
Whether your campus is small or large, it’s likely that there will be tons of free events and student activities going on throughout the week. Take advantage of them! Colleges will host guest speakers, movie screenings, fairs and other things that can occupy your time. Joining a club or student activity is a great way to explore your interests and make new friends. It creates small communities to be apart of, right on campus.
Start a savings account:
If you start saving little by little with each paycheck, it can lead to a financial backup by the time you graduate. It can also allow you to train yourself to save your money when you get a full time job in your career field.
Take advantage of your student discounts:
A lot of museums, restaurants, theaters and other places provide students with free or reduced prices. Walk, take the bus, or ride the train to the nearest attraction to get yourself off campus. All you have to do is show them your student ID. You will save a ton of money while exploring the sites and attractions outside of campus.
Rent a movie instead of going to the movie theater
Let’s face, movie theater tickets can be crazy over-priced. Fortunately, it is much more affordable to rent a movie online on Amazon, iTunes, or through a cable provider. You can watch it by yourself in your pajamas, or you can invite some friends over for a cozy movie night. Popcorn is probably way cheaper at a local grocery store too, so you can create your own little movie theater in your dorm.
Keep a budget sheet to keep track of your expenses
I’ve been using a budget sheet template to track how much money I spend each month, and it’s been really helpful for me, as I can separate necessities from wants and treat myself occasionally without interfering with my savings. These templates are free and you can get them on Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets.
By the time we graduate, we will have to find ways to financially support our life goals, whether that is looking for an apartment, going to grad school, buying a car or paying off our student loans. Fortunately, colleges themselves and places around them know how much college can be and the consequences of that, so it’s possible to enjoy the college experience while saving your money. If we can help our future selves now, we can make our post-undergrad lives less stressful and more focused on our aspirations.
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