Practical Tips for Saving Money at College
College expenses can be overwhelming, and tuition is by no means the only thing that must be considered when planning, budgeting or trying to make it through the school year. Here are a number of tips to help you find areas in which you can save some money –
Most college students eat more than their fair share of fast food and other convenience, pre-packaged foods. Keep in mind how quickly your food budget will be blown when you spend your money on these items. It literally takes 10 minutes to cook pasta and heat up some crushed tomatoes with garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and perhaps some crushed red pepper blended in, for a quick pomodoro sauce. There are more quick and easy meal ideas than you can possibly imagine available online. Try entering “recipes less than five ingredients” or “quick meals for two” into a search engine and take a bit of time to try out the ones that sound the best to you. Of course the ubiquitous college food – pizza – isn’t just for nourishment, it’s also a social activity and can’t be foregone completely! Pick up free campus publications when you see them here and there, as they usually contain really good coupons for commonly ordered in foods such as pizza, wings, Chinese, etc. Also, keep the notorious “freshman 15” in mind (it’s not just freshman who are susceptible to them!).
Now let’s talk caffeine. You probably feel it’s a very necessary fix after an all night study session or when you’re sleepwalking across campus to an early class. If you spend just $4 per latte, cappuccino, or whatever your favorite variety, each time you crave a pick-me-up, depending on your habit, you can easily, and quickly, wreck your weekly budget. You can purchase a coffee maker that brews a single cup at the time for about $20 on the popular mass merchandise website www.amazon.com. Some models even come with a travel mug so you can make your coffee and take it with you. There are all sorts of flavored infusions, creamers, and other “coffee condiments” that you can buy when you’re at the grocery store doing your food shopping, so you’ll have options other than plain coffee, too. If you tend to meet friends to study or pass the time at the coffee shop, invest in one of the refillable mugs which are offered in almost every shop. When you bring it in, you can get refills for a lot less than you would pay otherwise.
Purchase textbooks used whenever possible, and look for other options such as “binder ready books” which are printed pages, hole punched and ready to be added to a large, three-ring binder. Some courses/majors can require a lot of expensive supplies. For example, a photography student might have to purchase specialized equipment that can be well outside of the typical college students’ budget. If you know that you fall into this category, plan ahead and do some investigating to find out what sort of supplies might be called for. This will give you time to save money toward their purchase, or even to tell family and friends to remember your supplies list when gift shopping for holidays and special occasions.
A lot of this advice is common sense, hopefully at least some of it will make you think “oh, great idea!” and help you save money in the long run. Enjoy your college years and do your best!
This article is by Amy Johnson for Advance Me Inc. Proud to be America’s leading merchant cash advance provider.
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