Tips and Tricks for Living on a College Student Budget

We have all heard the stories from our parents (and pretty much anyone older than us) that college is a time when you’re as broke as a for money

Unless you’re able to land a part-time job that helps you make some serious cash, you’re going to be living on a budget smaller than you could have ever imagined. Because of this, budgeting is something you’ll have to become familiar with sooner rather than later.

If you’re like me, budgeting sounds like the most boring and frustrating thing in the world. Crunching the numbers is the absolute worst.

But really, once you figure out what your monthly expenses are, it gets a lot easier from there. Simply add up all of your bills — including rent, insurance and car payments — and see what you have left after that. There are many different savings tips that you can do to get by.

This is your “fun” money!

To make sure that you don’t throw away all of your “fun” money in a short period of time, here are some tips and tricks to help make it last. Here’s your guide to a college student budget:

Use cash when possible

There’s something about using a debit or credit card that just doesn’t carry as much weight as spending the actual dollars do. When you see that $20 go into a register, it makes much more of an impact than the nonchalant swipe of a card. If you’re going out for a night of drinks, only allow yourself to use the cash that you budgeted with. That will help you avoid overspending and from ordering far too many drinks than you can afford.

Check out the discount stores

You’d be amazed at all of the things you can get at stores like Family Dollar or the Dollar Tree. You can find everything from toilet paper to snacks at a very discounted rate. While you’re definitely dealing with “off-brands” here, you’ll find that you can’t even tell the difference. After all, a pretzel stick is still a pretzel stick, no matter where it came from.

Split bills when possible

The easiest way to save money is splitting a bill with somebody else. Some easy ways to save money include going grocery shopping with a roommate (that way you’re not doubling up on the same items, and you have someone to cut the bill in half with) or riding to class with a roommate or neighbor so you can cut costs on gas. When you’re headed home for a break or holiday, try to find someone to ride with you — not only will it help out on gas, but you won’t have the face a long car ride alone.

Look out for deals

Businesses in college towns understand just how broke their clientele are, which is why you’re more likely to find deals at bars and restaurants. Ask around and get some recommendations from friends about good places to go. Not only will you be able to enjoy your night out, but your wallet will feel a lot better afterwards!

Take advantage of free resources

Your campus most likely offers everything from free movies to free food. Many of these things won’t be pointed out to you, so you’ll have to seek them out yourself if you want to save a few extra bucks. Be aware of this and keep your eye out for free stuff on campus. If you’re not sure where to start, try visiting the Student Life office for some ideas. After all, free is the cheapest it can get, right?

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