As much as we want to believe that it isn't true, college does a whole lot of weird things to your wallet – and by weird things, I mean that it makes money disappear. Seems like some sick magic trick, right? How could you have a crisp Benjamin Franklin sitting in your wallet at the beginning of the week and suddenly have it gone by the weekend? It's confusing, I know.
Here's some good news, though. There are several ways to actually end up with more cash in your pockets (and you won't need to learn any magic tricks). As long as you follow these specific rules and tips, you might just have enough to go on that road trip to the beach that you always wanted to go on.
1. Don't eat out (or at least not too frequently).
It's best to stick to your meal plan when possible. If you are one of those unfortunate souls who goes to a school that has horrible food, try setting time aside to do some grocery shopping with your roommate. This also calls for some good bonding time as well.
2. Whenever you're tempted to buy something, ask yourself this: "Do I NEED this or do I WANT this?"
If your answer is the latter, then you might want to think again. Is spending $40 on those new pairs of shoes REALLY worth it? The three pairs of sneakers you have already might be enough, my friend.
3. Abuse the heck out of student discount privileges.
A LOT of places provide special discounts for students so be sure to carry your student ID around with you EVERYWHERE. You never know when you might get 15% off on food, clothes, or a movie on the big screen!
4. Don't buy all of your textbooks.
A lot of times, professors won't even require you to have certain textbooks that are listed on the syllabus. Also, if you're lucky enough, you might be able to find some PDF files of textbooks (usually you can obtain these from upperclassmen).
5. Buy a coffee machine.
No, you don't necessarily need to buy a Keurig. You could always opt out for more cheaper options when looking for a coffee machine, but the main point is to at least have something to make coffee out of. Coffee is a necessity to get through college days, and buying a cup of coffee every morning from your local cafe will really add up. Think about it. $2 per cup x 5 days = $10.
6. Avoid hanging out with people who want to go out everyday.
Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean you can't have super outgoing friends. Just don't feel obligated to be part of every single hangout! FOMO (fear of missing out) will slowly fade with time as you get used to being able to say no.
7. Take your laundry home.
This will most likely only apply to students who are going to an in-state school. Taking your laundry home with you occasionally when you decide to make a visit to your parents will help save you a little bit of money (and trust me, a little goes a long way).
8. Borrow clothes from friends.
Got an important interview coming up for an internship? Or maybe a date with the cute upperclassman who you've been eyeing? Instead of buying a whole new outfit and spending $50+, try looking through your roommate or friend's closet (with permission of course)! Just make sure to return the clothes in pristine condition so you don't lose your friends' trust in borrowing their clothes again in the future!
9. Create a budget on paper.
This is probably the most obvious tip, but it will prove to be one of the most helpful. It's easy to create a budget, but difficult to stick to it. To help you abide by it, try writing it down on a piece of paper and calculating every transaction. Doing this will allow you to see how much you're really spending and what you can cut down on.
Money doesn't have to be a daily concern if you use the right methods of saving. College is so much more than a money vacuum so have all the fun you can while making smart choices. A special shout out goes to my friends for adding in their input and personal advice!
Lead Image Credit: Katie Kim