How To Save Money As a College Kid

With paying for growing student loans, steep textbook expenses, and painful tuition costs, it’s no secret that college is expensive. Let’s be real, every college student is facing the struggle of being “a broke college kid.” No one should have to sacrifice fun college experiences for these necessary heavy expenses though, which is why I believe strongly in finding simple ways to incorporate frugal habits into my daily life. From one broke college kid to another, here are a few that I’ve found to be the most successful:

  1. The $5 saving plan – An old friend of mine actually brought this idea to my attention. The plan is simple: Create a “$5 Jar” and every time a $5 bill lands in your hands, stick it in the jar. No taking money out of the jar or “borrowing money from it just this one time,” because the habit will be broken. So, basically… no cheating! Though I haven’t delved into this challenge myself (yet!), my friend has saved well over $100 since she began. Who doesn’t want that kind of extra cash?
  2. Start a Budget Journal – This is something I can actually confirm has helped me track my finances. There is something about writing down everything you spend money on that makes it much more real and allows you to be more aware of your spending habits. The other wonderful thing about keeping a “money journal” is that you can customize it to your liking. It can be weekly or monthly. You can add rows for rent and utility bills, grocery shopping, and trips to the gas station. Or, it can simply be a “fun money” journal, tracking what you spend the most cash on outside of obligatory expenses. Completely up to you! Just pick up a blank journal and you’re one step closer to saving some serious cash.
  3. Avoid eating out – I know… this is a tough one. Believe me, I too think about throwing away my entire savings account on healthy salads at Ingredient, large pizzas at Domino’s, and simple subs at Subway and Pickleman’s. But the reality is, most of these things you can simply buy at the grocery store and make at home for far less money. These restaurants may be convenient, but convenience comes at a cost. Once I started packing my lunch every day for class and actually learning how to cook (cheers to adulting!), I had more money in my wallet.
  4. Skip the Starbucks orders – At this point, you are probably questioning why you’re even reading this blog post, but just hear me out. Grabbing that coffee order every day at Starbuck’s adds up fast. With each drink costing around $4, you could be spending up to $20 each week ($80 a month!), on just coffee. I understand the necessity of coffee—I’m a self-proclaimed caffeine addict as well—however it’s so easy to make coffee at home. Also, with so many travel mugs in a variety of designs, there’s no excuse not to make your cup of joe at home!
  5. Student discounts – You’d be surprised at just how many stores and restaurants offer student discounts. Additionally, it never hurts to ask stores if they have any discounts for students—most don’t advertise them! Some examples include:
    1. Spotify Premium – $4.99 for students only.
    2. Apple – Save over $100 on a Mac or iPad with student offers.
    3. Forum 8 and Regal Stadium – student prices every day after 6pm with a valid student ID

Of course, these are only a few ways to save, but every little bit counts. Trust me, and you (and your piggy bank) will be thankful later on.