8 Ways to Save Money in College
One of my very first collegiate thoughts was "I don't have to be home at a specific time? Whoa."
This freedom brought with it a host of challenges, including perhaps the most difficult: managing my own finances. While I look back fondly on those formative years, I often find myself wishing I could go back in time and instill just a few of the following tips upon my youthfully naive counterpart.
Hack Your Ramen
Don’t have time for the cafeteria? Stay home and try these incredible Ramen Hacks. Had I known about these while I was in school I could probably still look at a package of Ramen without my stomach turning.
Skip the Credit Card
You can do it, I promise. While your other friends foolishly wave their plastic around, be satisfied that you are not falling deeper into debt. Once you graduate, you will be living in a fab apartment while your friends are hanging out at home with their parents because they are still trying to pay off that debt.
Apply for Scholarships
There are SO MANY types of scholarships out there. When I was a junior, the English department offered a $1000 creative writing scholarship. Since I had tons of existing writing samples from various classes, I chose 4 of my favorite short stories and submitted them at the very last minute. Miraculously, I won. To date, that $1000 was the best random cash I have ever received. Ask around, do some research and see what’s out there.
Keep the Change
Instead of dropping coins in random spots around your dorm room, keep a dedicated container for your change. Equally important: make an effort to clean out your backpack or purse at least once a week. It will lighten your load while fattening your wallet.
Don’t Make Impulse Buys
Always make a list when you go to the grocery store, and DO NOT, under ANY circumstances go shopping when you are hungry. If you're anything like me, you'll end up with a cart full of really awful (yet delicious) food that you don't actually need.
Don’t Buy Music
Music is an imperative part of being a college student...just don't waste your hard earned cash on iTunes. Instead, use Spotify or Pandora. Spotify is my personal favorite. It provides instant access to almost everything you could ever want to hear. The first 3 months of Premium service is free, and it’s only $9.99/month after that.
Sell Your Fridge
I can’t believe how many of my friends in college chose to throw away their perfectly good, lightly used refrigerators, rather than go through the hassle of selling them. Put that thing on Craigslist and make someone else carry it.