College Life on a BudgetPosted on August 30, 2011 0
We have all heard the stories about students living on Ramen noodles and water just to get by, but is this the only option when attending school on a tight budget? No! By following some of our simple tips, you can even enjoy a meal out every now and then.
Know your limit – One of the quickest ways to get into trouble financially is not knowing what you can afford. Sit down and list all your monthly expenses and income. Be sure to decide how much you are willing to spend each week for food, entertainment, gas and other needs and stick to your limit. If you find you have more going out than coming in, it’s time to tighten the belt and eliminate the unnecessary items.
Clip coupons – Did you think coupons were only for your mom? Wrong! By being a savvy shopper you can reduce your grocery bill by 50%– 75%. Look for weekly buy one, get one offers that also carry manufacturer or store coupon deals. Start a coupon exchange with other students and share the wealth. By stacking coupons with specials, you’ll be able to afford more for less.
Check out local student discounts – Many local restaurants and businesses offer student discounts. Some offer reduced meals on specific nights, while others offer a percentage off. Take advantage of these student deals whenever possible.
Be thrifty – Thrift stores are great for finding bargains. Not only can you score name-brand clothing at next-to-nothing prices, you can also find household items and school supplies. Dollar stores are also perfect places to find everyday needs like toothpaste, napkins, toilet paper and classroom essentials.
Meet your neighbors – Be sure to introduce yourself to your neighbors. Host a weekly potluck where everyone brings one dish and share! Not only will you find out who can cook, you’ll be creating lasting relationships along the way. It’s also prudent to know others in your dorm or apartment building should you ever find yourself locked out or low on supplies. Just be sure to return the favor whenever possible.
By following these simple suggestions, you can enjoy your time at college without depriving yourself. Just be sure to make smart choices, keep track of your spending and set limits. With a little self-control (and friends who can cook), you’ll never have to worry about missing a meal again.