12 Money-Saving Habits That Made Me a Not-So-Broke College Student
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12 Money-Saving Habits That Made Me a Not-So-Broke College Student

College and everything that goes along with it is expensive, but it doesn't have to be.

12 Money-Saving Habits That Made Me a Not-So-Broke College Student

Up until college, I was awful at managing my money. Like most high schoolers I fell victim to impulse shopping, fashion trends, and expert marketing techniques. Don't get me wrong — I love fashion and the last-and-greatest items as much as the next girl. But in college, I had to get smart with my money and get smart quick.

All of a sudden, bill-free me now had rent, utilities, tuition, groceries, and seemingly a dozen other expenses I had to manage. I scoured the internet and read a book or two to try to find information on how to handle my money best. There wasn't really a plan or budgeting system that worked for my specific situation, so I modified the tips I found and started doing my everyday tasks a little differently.

Here are 12 money-saving habits that turned me from a broke college student to a money-savvy young adult:

Keep my checking account low and my savings account high. 

Think of this as a trick on your brain. When I have the bare minimum in my checking account, I am less likely to make impulse purchases or eat out more. Even though I have a substantial amount in my savings, the money in my checking is used only for the essentials.

Secondhand shopping is my best friend. 

If I need to get some new apartment furniture or I'm in the mood for new clothes, I hit up thrift stores and boutiques first! Usually, they're lower prices and sometimes the items are hand-selected. Buying secondhand is also good for the environment!

One credit card and one credit card only. 

Sometimes, too much of a good thing can be detrimental. Have one credit card for emergencies and building credit, and cut up all of the rest - yes, all of the others. When you use your credit card, pay off your bill each month. Doing this is easy when you make sure the amount you're going to spend is already sitting in your bank account.

Grocery shopping is only the essentials. 

Make a grocery list and stick to it. Have a few items on the list that can serve for multiple meals, so for example, a loaf of bread can work for sandwiches, paninis, avocado toast, and grilled cheeses! Also, never shop on an empty stomach.

I don't touch my savings. 

Whenever I receive a paycheck, half automatically goes into my savings. The same goes for birthday money, student tuition returns, tax returns, holiday cash, and just-because cards. This is an easy way to start building your savings and becomes automatic after a while.

Firmly grasp the difference needs and wants. 

Whenever you're shopping, really consider what you want and need and purchase accordingly. I'm not saying deprive yourself and stick to the first level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, but consider the fact that you might not need a third craft coffee this week.

Go out to eat once a week. 

Sometimes this is hard to do because of FOMO and laziness, but eating out eats up so much money over time. It can easily get to be $70 each month if you're not careful. Personally, I stick to one meal and one coffee each week.

I plan my schedule to cost me less in transportation. 

This isn't the easiest to do either, but you can save a lot of money on gas this way. I try to schedule my classes to have the same schedule and sign up for longer but fewer work shifts. So for example, all of my classes are on Tuesdays and Thursdays meaning I only travel to campus twice a week. Work follows a similar pattern.

Bring food. 

Like I mentioned before, eating out takes a lot of your money. So do vending machines and on-campus restaurants. Bring snacks and even a full lunch to hold you over during breaks!

Textbooks are almost always rented or bought through others. 

Aside from housing and tuition, textbooks are probably going to be your biggest expense. Check out online secondhand sellers, Facebook marketplace, eBay, and even Amazon's rental service for the best prices.

Cut any unnecessary subscriptions. 

As much as you think you do, there's a lot of subscriptions you don't need. Cleaning services and car detailing you can do yourself, one music streaming service will most likely suffice, and multiple television streaming services can be narrowed down to your favorite one.

Free is for me. 

Check out the free services on campus! Also, a lot of organizations pass out free food, free t-shirts, and coupons to students, so take advantage of that.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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