Food, entertainment and parties are dominating college student expenses and overtime will be costly. You don’t have to completely refrain from spending on nonessential items to save big bucks. Instead, consider the alternative ways to decrease both living expenses and discretionary spending.
If you transfer to a university and sign up for a meal plan, then use it. You invested in meals ahead of time and neglecting it is a sure way to flush money down the drain. Try to get the most out of it.
In the event you are not signed up with a food plan, then purchase foods from grocery stores. Only make visits to restaurants for special occasions. To save money, prepare your own food. Quit going out to cafes and purchasing a coffee and bagel. Buy a bag of bagels, cream cheese and some fresh fruit, and you’re set for a week. If coffee is your “must have” morning beverage, invest in a coffee maker. $2-$5 a day for a coffee may be inexpensive in increments, but overtime it adds up. And don’t even think about bottled water. Get your own water bottle and get your own free water out of the faucet.
Think about entertainment outlets. Movies, video games and new electronics could be smartly purchased. If you go to a movie theater, find out which theaters offer student discounts or matinee rates. Some theaters will even offer discounts if you work nearby.
The library has great DVDs for rent but will sometimes lack the specific movie you are looking for. Ask your friends around to share video games and movies instead of buying or renting them.
Coupons are your best friends. You don’t have to be an obsessed coupon clipper like the people on “Extreme Couponing” to save big bucks. To obtain discounts, sign up for the e-mail list for your favorite shopping outlets. They will notify of you of upcoming sales, and many will e-mail discounts to those on the mailing list. Also, “like” places you spend money on Facebook to learn about upcoming promotions. In addition, there are coupon sites and applications such as Pirq and Groupon that offer amazing discounts on dining, entertainment and more. Do some research about the specific company you are purchasing from and find online printable coupons or codes before you spend your money on it.
Try doing things yourself. Rather than paying $12 for a manicure, do it yourself and then use that same nail polish color to continue to treat your nails whenever you crave that color.
Watch the way you drive. Don’t wait until your car has barely any gas left in it to fill up. By doing this, your car will use the dirty gasoline that settles at the bottom of the tank. Your fuel filter will not be able to catch all of it, and this dirty gasoline could reach your car’s fuel line and potentially engine. Also be cautious with revving. When a car first starts up, parts inside the engine are not yet lubricated with oil, and revving would cost way more than revving is worth to repair a damaged engine. Lastly, improve your gas mileage by driving smoothly. Abrupt stops and starts not only are bad for the frequency you need to fill up, but also can cause your brakes to slowly break down.
You don’t have to refrain from partying, but watch how much you spend on alcohol and parties. Places will charge a cover fee and then even more per drink. The more drinks, the more you rack up your check. Drink responsibly and by limiting the times you drink alcohol, you could save a ton while still having a great time with friends.