We don’t have to tell you that campus life is expensive. Between steep tuitions and meal plans, you’re probably wondering how you’ll have any extra pocket money to have fun. It is possible to save money during the school year without sacrificing the things you love. Here are our top tips for making the most of your budget during the school year!
1. Invest in a Keurig Brewer
Let’s do the math for a second. If you’re like us, you probably buy coffee a few times a week. With your average coffee drink coming in at around $4, you could easily be spending hundreds of bucks supporting your caffeine addiction. Enter Keurig, probably the best thing to ever happen to coffee and your wallet. The new Keurig® 2.0 K250 brewing system is compact in size to easily fit in your dorm room, and is available in seven unique colors (like Violet, Turquoise, Sandy Pearl and Orange Zest) to perfectly match your decorating theme. It can also brew over 500 beverages from over 75 brands that you already know and love—like Starbucks® and Green Mountain Coffee®, for instance. The best news is the brewer is only $119 (less than a month’s worth of your favorite Starbucks® Latte), and K-Cup® pods only run about 75 cents a cup! Now you don’t even have to wait until fall for your beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte and no more rushing to the coffee shop before class – you can just make it in the comfort of your dorm!
2. Use a money-tracking app
Budgeting isn’t exactly fun, and you’re probably not balancing a checkbook by hand like your parents do. There are a ton of excellent money-tracking apps out there, like Mint, where you can link all of your credit and debit accounts so you can see a full picture of what your spending habits are. You can even set it up so the app will alert you when you’re approaching the edge of your budget for the month!
3. Take advantage of your campus
By now you’ve probably figured out that your college tuition goes toward a lot more than classes. Your school offers TONS of free activities both during the week and weekend, like festivals, concerts, speaker series and more. Not that you shouldn’t spend money on a movie ticket to the hot release — but if the majority of your time is spent on campus, you’ll save a lot of money by taking advantage of what you’ve already paid for. Your parents will thank you.
4. Make dinner with friends
If you’re not on a meal plan, it can be hard to know how much to spend on food. Bulk food is often cheaper, but can go to waste if you’re the only one eating it. Make a weekly dinner with friends to save money and also schedule some much-needed catch-up time during busy weeks!
5. Shop where there are student discounts
Luckily, we have access to a LOT of discounts as college students. From clothing to transportation to food, there’s probably a discount out there you can use to save a bit of money. If you’re going to be spending money on these things anyway, you should shop smart!
6. Reuse school supplies
A half-used notebook should never be thrown out. Reuse all of your school supplies from the semester before. We know it’s fun to get cute new supplies every year, but it adds up really fast — and by the time you graduate, you’ll end up throwing out most of it anyway. Unless there’s a gorgeous planner you’ve been saving up for, your money will probably be better spent elsewhere!
7. Host a clothing swap
Let’s be real — you’re only going to wear that sorority formal dress once. Instead of constantly buying new clothes for every event, swap with your friends! You could have an “open closet policy” where you and your friends shop each others’ closets, or you could do a formal swap with your besties, your sorority sisters or your floormates. Chances are, they’ll have something you’ll love and your old clothes can find new homes!
We promise you don’t have to break the bank this semester! By using what you already have and making investments (like buying a Keurig!) so you can save BIG later, you’ll have money to spare so you can have a stress-free semester.