If you aren’t one of the lucky few who’s parents pay for all your expenses in college, you’ll probably spend your college years on a tight budget.
Being on a budget is one thing…staying on that budget is much much harder! College budgets are tight too!
These tips will help you cut costs so that you can better stay on your budget and not feel super stressed out about money all the time.
Use Your Student Discount!
In my college town there are so many businesses that give student discounts and I fully take advantage of them!
I go to bars with college nights, shop at grocery stores that give me a 10% discount on everything, and even use a bank that gives me a student bank account that doesn’t have yearly fees!
You should take advantage of these deals too! If you’re in a bigger town, a quick google search will probably give you a list of businesses that offer student discounts! if not you can ask around or just ask the cashier whenever you’re checking out anywhere. Once you have a good list of places with discounts, frequent those places!
Eat at the Dining Hall
If you’re on a meal plan, just eat at the dining hall. I know how hard that actually is. When I was living in the dorms I always tried to eat anywhere that wasn’t the dining hall because I was so tired of it!
Even though my dining hall was pretty nice, it got so repetitive and boring! The only problem was that I had already paid for the meal plan and it was a use it or lose it deal. So I was essentially just paying extra money on top of the food I had already bought! Now that I write it, I’m a little embarrassed!
If you’ve already paid for your meal plan, just eat on the meal plan! It’s hard but it’s a great way to stick to your budget!
Don’t Go Shopping
This is another thing that I have done and am embarrassed to admit. I used to spend WAY too much money shopping for clothes.
The problem was that my friends and I would go shopping for fun! Hang out at the mall or walk around Target. Just to kill time and hang out. No matter how hard I tried, I would always find something that I loved and couldn’t live without!
Part of the problem was that during this part of my life my weight fluctuated a lot and I wasn’t very happy. So I always had the justification of needing clothes that fit and it made me feel slightly less depressed for a little bit.
So maybe you can go shopping and leave the store without spending any money! It’s much easier to spend money when you’re in a store though than when you’re not!
Try and find other, free, things to do with you’re friends! If you love shopping , try thrifting!
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
In college you rub elbows with some really rich people. These people are always going to have the newest phones and laptops, apple watches and nice clothes.
I feel like it’s so easy to compare yourself and want newer and nicer things constantly! This is one of the easiest ways to break your budget! Trying to keep up with people who don’t have to actually pay for those things (their parents do) is just not realistic.
Use Venmo to Split Bills
If you’re trying to watch your spending, Venmo can really help.
It’s easy to take care of the bill for your friends and forget to have them pay you back! You can pay for your friend’s food once you’re rich, right now you have to worry about you!
I’m sure everyone knows about Venmo so I don’t think I need to talk too much about it. Just make your friends pay you back!
Have Cheap Hobbies
If your hobbies are expensive and there are other things you also enjoy that are less expensive, switch to the cheaper hobby!
For example, I love flying planes. It’s a cool and amazing hobby, but it’s REALLY expensive! So while I’m in college I paint and knit and blog. These things are way less expensive and I still enjoy them! I can get back into flying once I graduate!
If any of your hobbies are super expensive and you can put them off until after graduation, do that! You’ll miss it for a while, but it’ll make it so much better when you return to it later!
If you’re stumped on which hobby would be best for you, check out my 9 Productive Hobbies for College Students Post!
Keep You Expenses Low
If your expenses are low, you’ll have more wiggle room in your budget to spend money on stuff you enjoy!
This means not signing up for memberships, grocery shop on a budget, and don’t rent a place that is too expensive.
Just like your expensive hobby, these things will all be there when you graduate from college! Sacrificing a little now will really pay off in the long run!
Write Everything Down!
If you’re like me, writing things down makes things real! It’s easy to forget when or how much money you’ve spent.
Writing everything you spend and make will really put everything in focus when you’re thinking about your money and your budget.
I use a super simple page with columns to keep track of my budget. I write down my monthly saving goals and upcoming big expenses that I need to be aware of. This way I know what’s happening with my money! If you’d be interested in downloading the printable that I use you can download it for free here! If not you can totally make your own! No pressure haha.
Did I miss anything?
I’m not all knowing! Did I miss something? Do you stay on budget in a different way that can help other students?
Let me know in the comments below!