We all know that the average college student is not exactly rolling in dough. It’s hard to work 40 hours a week when you are taking a full course load, studying, being involved in campus, pursuing an internship, and trying to get enough sleep somewhere in that mix. As a result, we students need to be somewhat frugal with our money or else we might end up eating Ramen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (Trust me, this is not at all pleasant.)
Here are some great tips to help you save almost $1,000 this month:
1. Brew your coffee at home instead of going to Starbucks. If you go to Starbucks every school day to get a burst of energy, you might as well just start handing them a portion of your paycheck each month. Face it: Starbucks is EXPENSIVE! Sure, the coffee is good, but is it really worth $4 or more for one cup o’ joe? I don’t think so. Try brewing your own coffee each morning or hitting up cheaper coffee shops, like McDonald’s. By eliminating Starbucks from your daily schedule, you could save up to $80 a month.
2. Carpool to campus. I like to give myself a few hours off in between my classes so I can come home and relax throughout the day. Unfortunately, all that driving between classes can quickly empty my car’s gas tank. Since it costs about $35 to fill up my car, spending a tank of gas just driving to class each week really hurts my pocketbook. It makes more sense to share a ride with a friend or take some sort of public transportation to get to school. In addition to saving a lot of money by not filling up your tank every week (around $140 for my car), you will also be helping the planet.
3. Pack your lunch. Eating lunch out every day can be quite expensive, even if you are going to a cheaper restaurant. If you go to Subway every day and get a foot-long sub, chips, and a drink, you are spending at least $37.50 on lunch each week. If you go to McDonald’s, Burger King, or any other fast food restaurant, you are likely to pay around $5.00 for a meal. By packing your lunch or eating at home every day, you can save at least $100 a month.
4. Wait for movies to hit the dollar theater. Most towns have a movie theater that shows slightly older movies at a much lower price. For example, I could go to the main movie theater in my town and see a movie that came out last week for $8.00. Or I could go to the dollar theater and see a movie that came out last month for $1.00 If you go to see one movie a week, you could save $28 this way.
5. Quit or reduce how much you smoke or drink alcohol. Even if the health complications caused by cigarettes don’t make you give up/reduce your smoking, consider this: cigarettes are expensive! Most packs have jumped in price to costing more than $6.00 each. So, if you smoke a pack a day, you would be spending $42 each week – or $168 a month- on cigarettes. The same principle goes for drinking alcohol. A night at the clubs could easily cost $50, including entrance fees and drinks. A bottle of liquor or a case of beers can start around $13, but can also be much more expensive. If you are going to the clubs every Friday and Saturday night, you could be spending around $400 each month.
6. Go for cheap in-home entertainment. Personally, I could not survive without rented movies, but movie-rental companies like Blockbuster have started charging more and more for their movies. So, instead of paying these fees, I head to the nearest RedBox. Redbox offers the same movies as Blockbuster offers, but only charges $1 per night. As long as you watch a movie and return it the next day, you could save around $5 per movie. This could be around $40 a month, if you rent two movies each week.
Just because you are in college doesn’t mean you have to live like a poor college kid. Use these tips to make the most of the funds you have and still enjoy yourself!