10 Ways To Be More Frugal In College

10 Ways To Be More Frugal In College

Stop spending money on expensive stuff that you don't really need

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As a college student, it probably feels at times like it is your lot in life to remain perpetually overworked and underpaid. It seems like there's nothing left after you've bought your books for the semester, and the most that you can expect to earn from part-time work is just a few thousand dollars for the entire school year.

You'd like to have a bit of walking around money that you can use when hanging out with your friends, and you might even have bills such as monthly car payments to worry about. The way to ensure that you can have the best possible experience in college isn't by racking up credit card debt – it's by learning to live frugally and stretching the money that you have.

Follow these 10 tips, and you can't go wrong.

1. Eat The Cafeteria Food

At many colleges, cafeteria food is included in the cost for room and board. If you – or your parents – are paying for on-campus housing, that means you're also paying for three cafeteria meals a day. Why would you pay to eat out when there's food available that's already paid for?

When you do eat out with friends, do so on days when it'll really be worth it because you're going to have a great time. Eat at restaurants during happy hour whenever possible; you'll enjoy great discounts on food and drinks.

2. Consider Lower-Cost Living Options

Depending on where you go to school, the dorms might not be the least expensive housing option available to you. Consider renting a group apartment with friends instead. Splitting the rent and utilities among several people can leave you with an extremely small monthly bill. The one potential issue with living in an apartment during college is that the apartments closest to campus may fill up quickly.

You might need to put yourself on a reservation list well before the school year starts. If you can't get an apartment within walking distance of your classes, you might need to commute – and that can add to your monthly expenses. If you decide to try living in an apartment, remember that with sound planning, cooking your own food is always cheaper than eating out.

3. Quit JUULing

We get it; there is nothing quite like a burst of nicotine from a sweet, sweet mango JUUL pod. Your JUUL habit, however, is costing you an incredible amount of money. If you really want to keep money in your bank account, your best bet is to stop using nicotine altogether. If you want to continue vaping, though, do yourself a huge favor and pick up a vape pen with a refillable tank.

Buying bottled e-liquid rather than pre-filled pods can save you hundreds of dollars per month. Marketing executive Alice Foster of UK online vape shop OK Vape says, "We love walking our customers through the process of switching from closed-system to open-system vaping devices. Filling your own tanks means that you can choose from hundreds of different e-liquids rather than the few flavors available for one vaping system."

4. Stop Buying Expensive Coffee

Are you in the habit of grabbing a drink from the local coffee shop every morning? The profit margin on coffee is incredibly high. A $3-a-day coffee habit – if you're buying the cheap stuff, which you probably aren't – works out to hundreds of dollars over the course of the school year.

A kettle and pour-over coffee carafe cost almost nothing in comparison, and you can get the same quality as a coffee shop simply by buying good beans, grinding the beans before brewing and using the right water temperature. Similarly, you're wasting your money if you drink bottled water; buy a water filter pitcher instead.

5. Capitalize On Student Discounts

Across the world, there are innumerable retailers who understand that college students are perpetually short on cash and want your business anyway. Take advantage of that by shopping at the places that offer the best student discounts. Some popular companies offering student discounts include:

  • Adobe
  • Amtrak
  • Apple
  • Banana Republic
  • Dockers
  • GEICO
  • Greyhound
  • J. Crew
  • Lenovo
  • Microsoft
  • Sam's Club

Many of the clothing stores, markets and restaurants – even businesses that are part of chains – near your college campus may offer student discounts. Sometimes, though, the discounts may not be advertised. Don't be nervous about asking.

6. Get Your Clothes From Thrift Shops

If you're on a tight budget and have a flair for style, don't limit your clothing options to what's available at the local malls. Every major college campus has at least one thrift shop or vintage clothing store. At such places, you can find like-new clothes for next to nothing. Macklemore wasn't joking when he wrote "Thrift Shop."

7. Consider A Different School

If you really want to be frugal about your education, you should think seriously about whether attending an expensive university is the right choice for you. If you're the one responsible for paying for your own education, do you really want to spend the next decade after college paying back your student loan – or would you rather finish college free of debt and with a degree in your hand?

Only you can decide which school is right for you. When you begin your career, though, you may find that prospective employers care more about your experience and personal narrative than where you earned your degree.

8. Don't Pay Top Dollar For Books

When you need to buy your books for the semester, the absolute worst thing that you can do is buy your books brand new from the campus bookstore. No matter how well you care for them, your investment will lose its value more quickly than a new BMW. For that matter, don't buy your books on campus at all.

Look for bargains on Amazon and eBay. Consider renting your books rather than buying them.

9. Consider Selling Your Car

When you're in college, owning a car isn't always the best financial decision. If you don't own the car outright, you're making monthly payments on it. If you don't have a car loan, you're still paying for insurance, gas and maintenance. Sure, having a car makes some aspects of your life more convenient. If walking or taking the bus can help you get your student loan paid off more quickly, though, isn't that the better choice?

10. Attend Every Class

College is rife with temptation, and one temptation every student encounters is that of skipping class. At any time of the day, you can find something on campus that seems more fun than attending class. Skipping class, though, is just about the worst thing that you can do with your money. You've already paid your tuition; skipping class is the same as flushing that money down the toilet. Put your education first; you'll still have plenty of time for fun.

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

https://secure.img1-ag.wfcdn.com/im/d5ea3c03/resize-h2000-p1-w2000%5Ecompr-r85/3021/30217778/Express+6+Volt+Cordless+Bagless+Handheld+Vacuum.jpg

One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.

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If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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