I post a lot about college on my blog, the reason being I’m still only 1 year out – it’s what I know.
I became obsessed with my finances later in my college career and started trying to set myself up the best I could for post grad life.
One of the things I didn’t worry much about was the amount of money I was spending. Whether that be on food, booze, clothes… even textbooks I needed for class.
But once I started doing some research I found some easy ways to save money during undergrad.
1. Shop at discount stores. When buying groceries, shopping at places that sell in bulk or sell off brands will save you a ton of money. Here in the Midwest college students live off of Aldi. Or at least I did! It’s convenient, cheap and they have nearly everything you will ever need. Another option is warehouse stores such as Costco and Sams club. If you know someone with a membership it can be very convenient to buy your groceries in bulk in order to save money!
2. Buy less booze at the bar. Now I DID NOT say stop going out or stop drinking – I know how unrealistic that is! So instead have a little more before you go out and only have one to two drinks at the bar. You can buy a four pack of craft beer at a liquor store for the price of one at the bar. You don’t have to stop partying – just be smart about it!
3. Skip shopping sprees at the mall. I know how important looking good can seem when you are getting ready to go to the bar. However I also know that I stuck to the same three to four “go to” tops, no matter how many new ones I bought. It’s okay to splurge on an item every once in awhile but don’t make your main source of entertainment spending shit loads of money on material things.
4. Never underestimate how fun a night in can be. Some of my best memories from college were staying in and getting drunk with my roommates watching movies. It’s infinitely cheaper than a night out and almost always a much better time! Which brings me to the topic of roommates.
5. Have them! The more people you live with the cheaper your rent will be. I went to school in a big city and the housing options were limited to “luxury apartments” and crappy houses in the bad part of town. So I took advantage of roommates and lived with three other girls in a 2 bedroom apartment. While it was still expensive, it saved me a lot of money every single month.
6. If you can – live at home. My senior year of college I decided to live at home and commute to class since my parents lived just outside of the city. I only had class two days a week and realized that paying $800 a month for my apartment was no longer worth it for me. Knowing my loans would be kicking in in 9 months was reason enough for me to save the money! I was still able to go out and just crashed on a friend’s couch if I was unable to drive. I promise you won’t be missing out on much!
These are the simplest and most effective ways to save money throughout your college career. You might have to sacrifice a night out or two, but not all of them. You might have to life with a shitty roommate – But honestly that’s just part of the college experience.
You live and you learn – And what I learned was to save money where and when you can!