So you’re not the best with finances, but who is? Actually, a lot of people are, but a lot of college students are NOT.

It can be very difficult making the transition from high school to college, especially if you have never been taught how to manage money or your finances.

You may have a job in college, you may be getting money from your parents or another source, but wherever your money is coming from, you should always be on the lookout for ways to save, NOT spend it.

If you are strapped for cash or just need a few tips on how to save in small ways that add up quickly, we may be able to help. It’s not always about taking a cut from your paycheck each week and depositing it into a savings account (good idea for some, but not practical for others who don’t make enough money).

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What you should be doing on daily basis is cutting back where you can, cutting money corners when possible and saving your spare change in a bucket on your desk.

There are plenty of ways to do this, all you have to do is be more aware of your spending habits and be open to consciously changing them.

Stop buying brand names

One of the best ways to save a ton of money is to stop buying brand names in the store.

Obviously, we all love Bounty and Charmin, but guess what? Scott is a lot cheaper and so is the Stop & Shop brand. Same with tissues, meat, juices/milk, cereal, and a whole lot of other things.

Of course, the brand names are usually better, but it’s all in what you are used to.You will save a lot (sometimes the difference between a name brand and store brand is a couple of dollars) and it will certainly add up quickly if you tend to go shopping once a week.

Walk when you can

Why turn on your car and waste gas to drive across campus (or wherever) when you can walk, take the shuttle or hitch a ride with a friend?

Gas is really expensive so every time you think you are just making a quick stop across campus, you are costing yourself precious dollars.

Take the shuttle because it’s usually free or hitch a ride with a friend who is already heading to campus, the library, the grocery store, or the mall. And if your legs aren’t broken, start walking! Walking to class is a great form of exercise as well, especially if you go to a big school where classes are more spread out.

Eat cheaper

Instead of ordering take-out everyday (think about how much money you actually spend on take-out from the week/weekend), go to the grocery store and pick up some discount items like peanut butter, canned tuna, oatmeal, meat on sale and even fresh produce.

It may seem like you are spending a lot at the time, but if you buy a bunch of items at once that you can cook over the course of the week, you will find that you cut back on your spending immensely.

Learn how to cook easy meals that won’t require you to spend a lot of cash. I’m not telling you to whip up a 3-course steak dinner on Monday night, but if you buy a package of steak tips or chicken breasts, you will feed yourself for the week and possibly the week after if you save the food properly.

Peanut butter is a wonderful product that is not only cheap, but delicious and filling. Check out these recipes for all things peanut butter; you are sure to find something tasty that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Stop hanging out with big spenders

Part of your problem may be the company you keep. If you are surrounding yourself with people who can afford to eat out every night or go to the bar every weekend and drop a ton of cash, you may be trying to keep up with people who are temporarily out of your league (money-wise).

Whether these are trust-fund kids or they just have a sweet job, it doesn’t change the fact that you don’t have the same type of income and you certainly shouldn’t be spending money like you do.

If you find yourself struggling to keep up with your big-spending friends, you may need to excuse yourself from plans or sit out on going out to dinner every week. There is no reason why you can’t go SOMETIMES or treat yourself, but you shouldn’t be making this type of behavior a weekly (or daily) occurrence.

Ask about student discounts

You may be totally unaware of that fact that many of the places you frequently shop at may offer student discounts.

Ask the grocery store, the movie ticket vendor, the concert hall, the restaurant, bar, gym, hair salon, or ANYWHERE you shop because a lot of times, these stores/businesses like to entice student shoppers with a nice discount. Even clothing stores have been known to offer student discounts so ALWAYS ask!

Don’t forget to ask at the bookstore or the places where you buy your technological items like computers, televisions, iPods, or whatever! If you have a valid student ID, many times you can get an awesome discount.

Again, businesses know that students are strapped for cash so they like to entice you as a shopper by offering you a discount that you may not be able to get somewhere else. The point? Never be embarrassed or ashamed to ask; it can’t hurt and who cares? You will probably never see the cashier or person at the front desk again anyway!

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