Although money and I have our problems, I have had a successful year and a half of spending and saving in college. Here are the ways I have figured out to maintain a balance.
- Spend on experiences not things. This is certainly something you have heard before, but it is so true! In college you will have amazing opportunities to do fun things with your friends because of the flexibility of your schedules and the resources available to you (like discount bus trips and on campus shows). It would be a shame to use your money to buy things, like clothes (not very fun), and then be unable to go out with your friends (wicked fun) so choose carefully.
- With that being said when you must spend on things, do so wisely. Student discounts are really a thing. Just yesterday I got 10% off at Banana Republic and Nine West so always be sure to ask. Also, plan ahead when you go shopping. Identify what you really need and then figure out where you are most likely to purchase those items that way you can check for coupons before going. It also helps to go with a strong friend who will tell you not to make purchases that haven't been pre-approved (shout out to Katie who is the best at helping me there).
- Don't pay retail for your textbooks. You can check out my extensive post on that here.
- Try not to eat out if you have a meal plan. It is easy to decide to grab a bite with friends, especially when I've just encouraged you to spend on experiences, but you've already paid for your meal plan so utilize it! Try and plan activities around meal times to make sure you are on campus when you need to eat.
- Carpool to save on gas. I don't think this warrants nor requires an explanation.
- Remember what you are working towards. You are most likely going to college to learn a skill to get a job to make money. Remember that when you get out of school you will have more important and pressing expenses so you will be glad that you took the extra effort to save now. Your future self will thank you.