After my first semester I learned how to save money and how to properly spend it. Here are some tips from my personal experience as a college student who lives on ramen noodles.
1) Order your books from Amazon!- If you are buying your books from the bookstore you are overspending. This semester I saved $300 on text books from ordering them from amazon.com. At the end of each semester sell your books back on amazon and get the same amount of money back that you spent on the book. Really, when using amazon it’s more like temporarily borrowing.
*Sharing books with a roommate can also save you both some money.
2) Avoid Starbucks!- Avoid little mindless spending. I have a horrible obsession with Starbucks. Spending little bits of money here and there such as $4.50 for a coffee, $1 for a candy bar, $2 for a soda really adds up.
3) Do things that don’t cost a lot of money- Instead of going to the mall and watching a movie, rent one. Have a movie night with a bunch of people. Saving each of you about $9 on a movie ticket and $15 on popcorn and a slushy! A movie rental is about a dollar (such as at redbox or blockbuster). And popcorn at the store costs 1/3 the price of popcorn at the theatre. Other ideas on cheap things to do are.
– Beauty Night- Makes home-made facials, foot scrubs, etc. Do mani/pedis and gossip about the cute guys in your anatomy class.
– Take advantage of the outdoors- Go to the beach, go the the park, go for a walk, make a snow man, have a snowball fight, play frisbee, go apple picking.
– Take advantage of school events- tye dye nights, guitar hero tournaments, etc. are fun and free to you!
– Go to local museums or zoos- They are relatively cheap for the public, some are even free.
– Bake something! Most schools have a lounge, some have an oven. Make rice crispies or brownies.
– Board Games!
– Get a cheap hobby, such as crocheting, drawing, or making bracelets out of embroidary thread.
4) Girls…Think before you buy!- Make your own shorts! Buying a new pair of shorts at American Eagle is about $45….for shorts to be $45 they better be encrusted with gold. Take an old pair of jeans and cut them (there are numerous you-tube videos on how to do this). This will save you $45 and it will reuse something you would have thrown out.
5) Find deals- I have a wellness card at rite aid. That card has saved me at least $200. Look for coupons. If you don’t believe me that coupons will save you lots of money, watch this youtube video and you will. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iht_xQHxbxI. She got $21 worth of makeup at target for only $7.
6) Get a job- Summer jobs or part time jobs are necessary in college. The best way to get money is just to simply earn it and not spend it.
7) Keep college money and spending money separate- My savings part of my account is my college money, my checking is my spending money. This stops me from spending money that I need for college.
8) Make your beauty routines simpler- If you dye your hair, dye it back to your original shade, this will save you about $100 a year. Try finding cheaper beauty products that you like. Instead of going and getting your nails done, paint your own. There are many “how to” videos for nails and makeup on youtube.com.
9) Keep snacks in your room- Having munchies in your room will prevent you from constantly spending money at McDonalds.
10) If you don’t need it, don’t buy it!