College can be a wonderful experience, but it can also severely drain your bank account. You’re already spending thousands on tuition, so instead of taking out even more loans for your daily needs, try to stick to your budget as much as possible.
We know the average part-time student job only goes so far, to help here are several college life hacks to save money.
Take Public Transit
Having a car can be convenient but it will also be one of your biggest personal expenses. In addition to actually buying a car, you’ll need gas, maintenance, and on-campus parking pass. You also run the risk of unexpected breakdowns, accidents or the occasional tow fee for accidentally parking in the wrong place.
Most campuses will have a bus that takes you from place to place, or opt for a bike if you know you’ll need a faster form of transportation than just walking.
Brew Coffee at Home
Spending $3 on a specialty coffee drink every day can add up fast! Instead of getting your coffee at expensive shops, commit to brewing it in your dorm room or apartment. Buy a large thermos if you require several cups of coffee throughout the day.
Just by brewing your coffee at home five days a week, you could save around $759, according to this money-saving life hacks infographic.
Roomie Cash Bucket
Start a roommate cash bucket. If you have spare change, drop it in there. Tip your roommates and yourself.
Create rules around your cash bucket. Maybe the cash bucket is only used for a late-night fast food runs when you’re binge studying or if you need gas. Maybe the bucket is cracked open like a piñata when its full and your roommates decide what to do with it together.
If you take money from the cash bucket, do something around your dorm room or house to make up the difference. Maybe wash the dishes or buy all the snacks for next week.
Get Thrifty With It
Shabby chic is in. You can DIY or repurpose items to upscale your dorm or apartment. Get thrifty with it and save money:
- Hit up yard sales on Saturday mornings. Wood furniture is the easiest to repurpose, such as taking out the drawers of a dresser and turning it into a bookcase. You can also paint and refinish wood to make it look like new.
- Try searching for secondhand sales online. Yard sale and neighborhood groups are also found on social media. Check out your area yard sale group on Facebook, for example.
- Ask relatives and other students if they have old furniture you can have. Someone’s basement has a gem waiting for you, and art student friends can help you paint something cool for your pad.
- Thrift stores are wonderful to check out for pots, pans, clothes, and other odds and ends. Different stores have different times, with some focusing more on household goods than others, and the quality can be as good as a brand new item.
Batch Cook It
Dress up Ramen with fish, some frozen veggies, and lots of dollar store spices. Pop it in the oven while studying, and in under thirty minutes, you’ve got a meal you can stretch for days. Freeze some of it for a few weeks from now, and you won’t have to eat the same thing every day.
Now pick a few other meals you’d like to batch cook. Spaghetti? A vegetable medley? Chili? Soup? Breakfast muffins loaded with sausage, cheese and more? Batch cooking saves you money, time and your stomach from hunger pains.
Borrow textbooks from classmates who took the course last semester or shop at sites like Half Price to save money on textbooks.
Check for the title at a public library, and see if you can check the book out for those few weeks you need it. If the title is a reference book, photocopy the chapters you need. Ask other students or upperclassmen if they will share their books with you.
College is a wonderful time to learn more about yourself and what you want from life. If you start spending wisely and keeping a budget now, your dreams will become a reality much faster. Sometimes a few college life hacks are required to get you there.
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