7 Thrifty Tips Every College Student Should Live By

This is my first year in college and I was doing great for the first few months. I was living like a king, not fully understanding the value of money…until it came to an end.

I had a meal plan and a debit card with money from my summer job, and I figured I wouldn’t have to dip into my savings in order to survive. I kept eating meals everyday on campus from the fast food places like Panda Express and Subway (P.S. the freshman 15 is a real thing) and getting coffee when I studied in the campus coffee shop. One thing lead to another and I had less than zero dollars in no time. Desperate for a change, I did some research and learned some amazing money saving tricks to help me live within my means. Here are seven thrifty tips to help you stay on track financially!

  1. Upcycle and Recycle: As Americans we are very wasteful. We get rid anything that had been damaged or that we’ve become bored of. But not everything belongs in the dumpster! There are many different ways to reuse an item whether we refurbish and repair it or completely transform it into something new. New furniture can cost you an arm and a leg, but if you unleash your creative side and get handy, you can transform something completely old into something new without leaving a dent in your wallet.
  2. Live Minimally: My theory, don’t spend more than you need to. As a college student you don’t need that new car, or the newest style and trend in fashion. In my opinion, as a college student, you don’t always need to look good, or even presentable  during your general classes. that being said, save money by living as simple as you can, and you will realize you don’t need all the bells and whistles to get by in life.
  3. Pay Off Your Debt: I am not a person who is going to tell you not to get a credit card in college. Honestly I have 3 already. Credit cards are a good thing if you get the right one, and understand how to use it. My newest card is one that gives cash back and I love it. I spend as much as I would with a debit card without overspending, but I’m earning little bits of money every time I use it. As an added bonus if you pay it off as soon as you use it, you dramatically boost your credit score.
  4. Make Your Own Cup Of Coffee: You might have it embedded into your routine to purchase a caramel latte on your way to class. While it may be convenient to do so, it is a pretty expensive part of your routine. Normally a cup of coffee from a coffee shop costs around $4. If you get a cup of coffee 5 days per week, your seemingly harmless coffee run costs you $80 a month, pastries not included. Food on campus is almost always overpriced and though it is easy to access, it would benefit you to prepare some of your much needed java in your dorm room. If you have a coffee maker, use it!   You might not be a barista but you can tailor your cup o’ joe to your liking. How ever you like your coffee it will probably be better quality and less expensive if you make it yourself.
  5. Cook As Much As You Can: As I said before food on campus is overpriced. For example, outside of the campus a footlong sub sandwich is only $5. When you step onto campus that same sandwich is $8. See the drastic price difference? I personally enjoy making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They’re delicious and cheap. They also sell them here on campus for $2. In the moment you might not think about it but it only costs $0.10 to make a homemade PB&J sandwich. College doesn’t limit you to just making sandwiches. There are cookbooks out there that are full of dorm-friendly recipes! It might seem like a chore to attempt to make a meal instead of just buying one but when you’re a broke college student, you just gotta make your own damn sandwich.
  6. Have an Emergency Fund: This seems like the last thing on the mind of most college students. Imagine you’re on your way to a friends apartment and your car gets a flat, wouldn’t it be nice to have the money to fix it? Everyone will at some point find themselves in a position where they actually need extra cash for a certain situation, so it is very important to have a bit of money set aside for those “unlikely” scenarios.You must remember that an emergency fund is only for emergency and no, Yeezys aren’t an emergency.
  7. Learn Life Skills and Use Them:  Remember in Home Economics class when you learned how to sew and make pancakes? If you have no recollection of that, congratulations, you’re normal. School budgets have decreased thus cutting out Home Ec classes and classes pertaining to the practical arts. It’s not too late to pick up a few skills like sewing and auto repair. It will definitely benefit you at some point in your life. Kellianne definitely didn’t have any home economics classes in high school but she found it easy to pick up on some skills via Youtube.

It’s not too difficult to get into the groove of being thrifty. A lot of small changes will result in a big result. College is a rough ride, its basically adulting with essays! Learning to budget and to spend your money wisely is a skill that will last you a lifetime and will help you reach your financial goals faster and easier. I challenge you to try at least one money-saving tactic today. You may be surprised it’s easier than you think!

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