Christine Crigler is a Journalism and Creative Writing graduate from Susquehanna University, currently living and working as an Assistant Editor in New York City. She spends her time trying to squeeze as many experiences as she can out of the Big Apple, while working toward her life and career goals in a constant pursuit of happiness.
Scrambling to make as much money as possible during the summer or trying to find another side job that has a higher wage per hour ratio are not at all what you want to spend your time on while you’re out living the best years of your life. I mean, wouldn’t it just be easier if the things that we need, food, school supplies, clothes, didn’t cost any money at all? College students live in the bubble that is their campus, why can’t their wallets live there, too?
Regardless, one of the best ways to keep your wallet on the pudgier side, and therefore the happier one, is to simply spend less money. These are five ways you can save that precious money, without missing out on anything.
- Make use of your school cafeteria, or cook with friends when you can. Mainly, avoid eating out as often as possible. Now, cooking for yourself is NOT FUN. Nor is it cheap, of course, unless you are smart about it. An easy solution is to take advantage of your cafeteria while you have it, because even though the food sometimes straight up stinks, it’s definitely better than anything you could cook yourself (unless you grew up with a chef). Also, if you live off campus somewhere, make dinner plans with your roommate(s) or friends. Not only will this cut down on the amount you end up spending on the homemade meals (and you won’t be ordering take out quite as often), but it’s a lot more fun to enjoy some social time while completing one of the most basic human functions. Splitting basic cooking items, salt and pepper or sugar, with your roommates can also cut down on costs across the household.
- Check out free events around campus or make a list of free activities that you can do. Hanging with friends at an outdoor park or on the quad is more fun than you think! And would you believe that your campus even HAS free events? Check out that student center billboard. Trust me when I say, you will be surprised by what they offer. You could find anything from a free music event at a coffee shop with tasty free appetizers and drink tickets for the first 50 people to arrive, to sporting events you might not even have known exist on your campus.
- Go through the clothing and furniture that you have – often. Not only will this free up your wardrobe for season-appropriate clothing (and keep the clothes still in there less wrinkled) or other items, but if any of those items that you plan to discard are nice, you can go ahead and sell them. Thrift stores everywhere accept slightly worn clothing or barely used furniture for a pretty good price. And if all else fails, there’s always the internet. A little extra cash never hurt anybody.
- Purchase your books from Amazon, instead of the bookstore. Or if you feel like doing a little research, see how much it might be to rent your books from the bookstore, first. Since you can always sell books you purchase back on Ebay or Amazon (or even to your school), this option proves to be more fruitful. Also, some publishing companies now have new agreements with colleges in which students can purchase their books through the college for a majorly discounted price (I’m talking 50%+ off, and for those of you who have science, history or math textbooks, this is a big deal). This can be found through the college’s library if it is offered.
- Keep your college ID on you at all times, even when you leave campus, and don’t be ashamed to show it off! More often than not you can receive solid discounts on retail items, at restaurants or during events, just for proving that you are a student.