We talk about making money allll the time, and we’re not gonna stop because, yeah, it’s important. But honestly, saving money is just as important, maybe even more, and college is one of the best times to start saving up. Depending on how old you are, You hopefully don’t have too many expenses. So if you invest your money right while you’re young, you allow it to grow into so much more!
The easiest way to make money is to just not spend it. Brilliant no? “ A penny saved is a penny earned” is true, but let’s go beyond that and start saving hundreds of dollars every semester. The good news is it is so easy to! So with that being said, here are 4 easy ways you can save money as a student.
Maximize Your Meal Plan
The meal plan, meal swipes, “caf card”, whatever you want to call it, is REAL money that you are forced to use up, so use it! You don’t want your extra money going straight into the schools pocket!! A special occasion is different, but don’t make it a habit to eat out or uber-eats dinner to your dorm. Ordering take out is convenient and lets be real, WAY better than any caf food, but why spend money when you have a free option?!
So, if there’s coffee served in the caf, don’t even think about stopping at Dunkin or Starbucks. Okay fine, we’ll let you treat yourself once in a while if you want a nice latte before an exam, but don’t let it become a habit! Plan your meals around the caf hours if you can to make sure you don’t miss a meal. Most cafs sell snacks or pre-packaged meals, so if you know you’re going to miss dinner, buy an extra meal or snacks at lunch so you are set for later. It’s the worst feeling dishing out $20 on a dinner because you didn’t check the caf hours. If you’re going to be spending money on food, make it a fun night out with friends!
And BTW- if you hate the caf food, and simply can’t eat it, just skip out on a meal plan altogether and save that money for groceries!
College is the time to go out with your friends and have a good time. But shots and drinks at bars are INSANELY overpriced. Like over $20 for a drink or $8 for a shot. So a drink once in a while is fine, but if you need to spend $50 to get drunk every weekend, you’re spending so much money!
So instead, pick up a bottle of alcohol, invite some friends over, and pregame. You’ll save a ton on drinks at the bar and still have that “college experience” of going out. And of course, be safe when pregaming and know your limits.
I know right. Even the word is so gross. But guess what? You need to learn how to master public transportation ASAP. The subway is scary, train schedules are confusing and busses are gross. I know. It is so easy and convenient to just order an uber or lyft and know you will get where you need to comfortably without having to be a nervous wreck thinking you missed your stop. But you need to learn how to take public transportation. If you spend $50 a week on ubers, that is $50 you no longer have.
Public transportation isn’t ideal, but it gets the job done. More importantly, it is soooo cheap and honestly, you get used to it after a while and stop noticing the subway smell. It’s so normal to be intimidated by public transportation, but you just need to throw yourself into it and know that you can do it! If you don’t have a metrocard already or the train apps, get them ASAP and spend the next week figuring out the system. You will be a pro in no time.
Reusable Water Bottle
Water bottles are not only awful for the environment – they also get expensive. Dishing out $1 (or more, usually more – what a rip off) per bottle can add up if you’re drinking as much water as you’re supposed to. So go on amazon and invest in a cute water bottle that you are obsessed with and will make drinking fun. Then figure out how you can fill it for free…. because buying water bottles and transferring it is NOT what we mean.
The best move is to find water fountains around campus and fill your bottle whenever you pass one! If you don’t have water fountains on campus – 1. Why doesn’t your school have water fountains and 2. Tap water.
Yeah, tap water is not ideal, I get it. But if you can get used to the taste, you will save sooo much money! Even if you would buy a water bottle in the caf – why waste your caf money on something you can get for free?
Now that you know how to save money as a college student, you just need to actually do it! Challenge yourself to save this week by one (or all) of these tips. Let us know if you have any ways you save money in college!