Saving money while being in college is not the easiest task. Something always comes up, friends want to go to dinner, night out at the bars, or time for some new winter clothing. It is hard to keep money in the bank while trying to enjoy four, maybe even five years of college. Below are some tips on how to make your money go farther while in college.
1. Coupons are your friends. It may sound funny but look for coupons in the newspaper or online. There is always some kind of coupon that could save you money at the grocery store and restaurants around town. So many restaurants take out advertisements in the newspaper or online that will help you save money when going out.
2. Make a plan. After you go grocery shopping for the week sit down and look at your bank account. You also know how long your food will last you, whether that be one week or sometimes two if you are lucky. Once you have that figured out, see when you can go out to eat or drink with friends and afford it. If you end up going out on a night you were going to cook, just cook another night, since you know you budgeted your money that way. It is easier to save and spend money when you have a plan of action revolving around spending money on food, clothes or drinks.
3. Divide your money in half. What I mean by this is, take half of your money and put it in your checking account and take the other half and put it into your savings account. By dividing your money in half, this allows you to save more than you usually would. Only add money to your checking from your savings when you are running low. If you are not running low, leave the money in your savings so you have money for a rainy day to spend.
4. Lastly, do not overspend on things you do not need. When grocery shopping do not spend money on large amounts of food. You know how much you can and cannot eat, so when grocery shopping do not overbuy food that you will end up throwing out. Canned foods, typically last longer, which allows you to keep a few at a time and have for a later date. You do not need to buy a bunch of perishable food every week that you will not end up eating, it is not only a waste of money, but a waste of food. Unless you are buying canned food to last you for a couple weeks to months, do not buy more than one or two items of food that will perish in a week.
It is hard to budget money in college when there are always opportunities to go out and spend it. If you save your money though you will be able to buy other things in the future and have some money in case of emergency or you want to splurge while shopping.
Collegian writer Tamra Smalewitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @tamrasmalewitz.