Saving Money in College

You Don't Have To Be A Broke UIUC Freshman, Just Follow These 6 Tips

Spending too much and need help? This is for you.


Being a college student can be tough on the wallet. With books to buy and tuition to pay off, it's a little harder to have extra money on you, especially when you're a freshman with no job. Despite being new to UIUC and having little experience with the way of life here, saving up or trying to not use so much money can be done if you take the following steps.

1. Limit your card usage.

guy burning his card

It's easy to just keep on swiping your credit or debit card when paying for something in public. I know that at least for me, I think I'm able to keep track of the amount of money I've spent, but when I check my balance, I suddenly have spent more than I thought. Try to always check your account balance and even stop using your card as your main way of payment to discourage impulsive buying.

2. Keep a small amount of money on you.

guy holding out a bunch of one dollar bills

In addition to reducing card usage, keeping only a small amount of cash on you can help reduce compulsive shopping. If it isn't there, you can't spend it.

3. Maybe don’t buy coffee every day.

guy holding out an empty pot of coffee

Coffee may be relatively low-cost, depending on the type of drink you buy, but these small payments add up, especially when you get it often. Making my own coffee instead of heading out to Starbucks or Espresso Royale daily can save me ten or more dollars weekly.

4. Use your Cafe Credits.

woman putting chips in her cart in one go

Depending on the meal plan you're on, you're given a set amount of meals and " Cafe Credits" for food weekly. These "credits" can be used at grocery store-like places, like 57 North or Penn Station, to buy snacks or can be used to swipe into the dining halls. Although credits can roll over up to twice the amount your payment plan gives you, still use the credits instead of heading outside to buy everyday snacks.

5. Use your meals. 

harry potter dining hall

Another thing the meal plans provide is a set number of meals. Instead of eating out at Chipotle or getting Wendy's in between classes, use these meals at the various dining halls all over campus. This can save you tons of money, especially if you eat out very often.

6. Give yourself a budget. 

Marge talking to Homer

Shopping at UIUC may be more difficult than shopping in a city or with a car, but it isn't impossible. Because online shopping, Amazon, and the MTD exist, there will always be an opportunity to overspend at the stores in Champaign-Urbana or online. When shopping, set a budget for yourself and make a list of what you need to avoid buying unnecessary items that you want to impulsively buy.

With these steps, you can hopefully save up a lot more money and limit your spending, while still being able to treat yourself from time-to-time.

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.


To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.


A third-year nursing student who knows

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Why Fordham Should Have a Safe Space Policy

On a campus committed to it's student's safety, why is emotional safety left out?


Last year college Republicans were asked to leave Rodrigue's coffee house for provoking members by wearing pro-Trump attire within the shop. The reason they were asked to leave was because Rodrigue's upholds a "safe space" policy, which can be boiled down to the simple phrase: "No racism. No sexism. No homophobia." In the eyes of the members and patrons of Rod's, Trump embodied all of these things. Regardless of the politics of this specific incident, the phrase and policy seems redundant because this rhetoric can't possibly be allowed anywhere else on campus. Right?

As this incident made campus as well as national news Father McShane addressed the events in an e-mail to all students in which he made it clear he did not condone the approach of the College Republicans, as well as stated that Fordham has no official Safe Space policy and insinuated if it did this would silence voices on campus.

Let's examine what a safe space policy means and why it's important to so many members of the Fordham community. It simply means homophobic, sexist, and racist imagery and speech are not allowed. On a campus with racial minority, female, and queer students who chose to be members of the Fordham community as well as study here, live here, and pay obscene amounts of money to be a student, it does not make sense for these individuals to be subjected to abuses related to their identity. How can you focus in class when your professor misgenders you, a student makes a disparaging comment about your religion, or you fear for your physical safety due to the way you present yourself? Bigoted rhetoric is oppositional to academia.

Fordham is a private university, not a public one, and could easily legislate a basic safe space guideline on campus. I understand many of us that a safe space policy would protect do not experience outward aggression often, if at all, as the University does take steps to ensure our safety. So why no official policy? The answer is simple to me: money. Fordham receives hefty donations from conservative alumni whose own political ideology is contrary to the safe space policy. The choice to not outwardly support minority students is a decidedly economic and political one, despite Father McShane's plea for political peace on campus.

And what is wrong with silencing hateful voices? Tolerance is an incredibly important value, but should tolerance really extend to the intolerant? I found the logic behind not installing the policy as it would politically oppress individuals, incredibly interesting and telling. This means your politics are fatally bigoted and I would take a critical look at that. It's intrinsic to our perception of our school to remember that colleges are businesses and it is sometimes their prerogative to meet economic needs above the needs of their student body. However, this is hopeful. As patrons of this business, we can demand more of them and the most effective way to do this is economical. Invest money in places such as Rodrigue's to expand their voice, have your parents write letters to the school, tell at-risk individuals to not apply, and encourage alumni to earmark their money for minority student initiatives or withhold it unless the school legislates a safe space policy.

We as a student body should care for one another and above all respect the personhood of everyone on and off campus. Consider honoring the policy in your own lives and social circles, and demand Fordham to officially do the same.

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