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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Ten ways to save money in college

Investing in a Keurig or other coffee maker will save you money over time. Taking trips to a coffee shop to drop $5 on a specialty coffee every day can become costly.
Investing in a Keurig or other coffee maker will save you money over time. Taking trips to a coffee shop to drop $5 on a specialty coffee every day can become costly.

It might be your first year in college, but that doesn’t mean you have to make rookie mistakes.  Start the year off strong by getting serious about the way you spend money.  These ten tips will help you make smarter choices about your expenses and save a little money too.

  1. Make coffee at home. Specialty beverages from nearby coffee shops or the local Starbucks are bound to tempt you, but don’t give in.  It’s much smarter to invest in a coffee maker or Keurig than it is to spend $5 a day for a cup of joe.  It’s time to make k-cups your new best friend.

  2. Download the “Flipp” app.  This app is a lifesaver.  Flipp gathers weekly catalogs from your favorite grocery stores and compares prices so you can make sure you’re getting the best deals.  The app also lets you create a grocery list and helps you find coupons for the items on your list. Use it when you need to purchase things that aren’t covered by your meal plan.

  3. Take advantage of your student I.D. It’s always on you, so why not use it?  Many local places offer a student discount with valid I.D.  It’s a lifesaver for late night trips to Waffle House, where you can get 10 percent off when you flash your card.  Many other locations offer student discounts from time to time--it never hurts to ask when you’re checking out.

  4. Get a Kroger Plus card. This is a must.  Having a Kroger Plus Card helps you save money on groceries AND gas.  With a Kroger card, you earn one fuel point for every dollar you spend in store.  Rack up enough points and you could save 30 cents off of every gallon of gas when you fuel up.  That can make a big difference.

  5. Ditch the card, pay with cash. It’s so easy to swipe and not think twice, so leave your card at home and keep cash on you instead. There’s just something about having to physically take cash out of your wallet that makes you feel a bit more guilty about spending it-- and more inclined not to!

  6. Make the most of your meal plan. Don’t buy things that are already available to you. You’ll never need to add nuts, bananas, chocolate chips, or even disposable silverware to your shopping cart because you can get them with your meal swipe. The Caf, UC Food Court and Farmer’s Market all have these items and many more you can take back to your dorm. Think before you spend!

  7. Don’t underestimate the dollar store. The dollar store can help you save some serious cash and offers many of the same items found at regular grocery stores. You can get toiletries, cleaning and school supplies, and even glassware at prices that will make your wallet happy.

  8. Download a budgeting app, like Penny or Mint.  Both of these apps track the areas where you spend the most money. You can look for patterns in your spending and work to limit those expenses in the future.  

  9. Sell your old clothes. If it doesn’t fit or hasn’t made it out of the house in a while, it might be time to say goodbye.  If you’re strapped for cash, you can take your old/unwanted clothing to Plato’s Closet.  Employees will go through your clothes and offer to purchase certain things from you. Take whatever they don’t want and donate it to the local Goodwill.  Everyone wins!

  10. Ask friends to come over instead of going out. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to go out with your friends to have a good time.  You can hang out without spending money!  Watch Netflix with your friends, check out a movie from Tarver Library, or simply have a conversation (shocking, I know). If you feel like you have to “go somewhere” to hang out, refer back to tip number six and hit up Einstein’s or Bear Necessities. You can also check out one of the many free events Quad Works holds throughout the school year.


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