If you're leaving the days of being a broke b*tch in 2018, I'm with you. Some of my goals this year are to be more self-reliant. By this I mean I hope to financially support myself. I graduate this year and don't want my parents to still be paying for my cell phone bill (because hello, embarrassing) and want to get my financial life in order before I head to graduate school and become an actual adult.
College for me is "adulting with training wheels,"so yes, I held a job, went to school, and had extracurriculars. However, my parents were still paying for most of my major bills and gave me the car I drive. You would think this might encourage better habits of saving money and resisting impulse purchases, but you would be VERY wrong. No matter how hard I try to build up my savings, I still find myself online shopping before bed, in the Starbucks line way too much, and I just cannot seem to kick my addiction to subscription boxes (IT'S LIKE CHRISTMAS EVERY MONTH).
But this year FitFabFun will have to wait because it's time to start saving some cash monayyyyy. Here are a few tips to get you on the road to being a boss babe in the new year...
Buy Used Textbooks and School Materials
Buying used will save you so much each semester, and you can never tell the difference if the textbook is from a reputable site, like Chegg.com or Amazon. You can rent them from these sites too if you plan on not highlighting or marking textbooks. There's also the college Facebook page where you can ask who is selling textbooks each semester, and there is typically a Facebook page for each university that is solely for exchanging textbooks, iClickers, and other school materials.
Whatever you do, NEVER buy anything from the campus bookstore. You can, 95% of the time, find it cheaper somewhere else.
Put All Bills on Autopay
Late fees are the literal worst, and for payments that are recurring monthly like rent, utilities, and credit card bills, there is no need to pay them manually unless you split utilities with roommates. Make sure to link the automatic payments to your checking account to avoid overdraft fees if something goes wrong.
Take Advantage of Student Discounts
All you need is your student ID for these hot deals. For new clothes for that internship, places like Asos, Banana Republic, and Levi's offer student discounts. Amazon offers free Prime membership for college students for the first six months and a discount of 50% the Prime membership fee, which includes free 2-day shipping and their Prime streaming service.
Cut Down on Fast Food Trips
Fast food is so tempting when you're stressed and prepping for an all-nighter, but the preservatives and additives used in preparing the deep-fried items do more damage to your health, bank account, and overall productivity levels.
Drink More Water
Ahhhh water. It's free, better for your health, and great for the environment! Bring a reusable water bottle with you to work, class, and the gym so you're never tempted to buy soda, soft drinks, or coffee when you're out. You can also buy a Brita-filtered water pitcher to keep in your fridge so you never have to buy bottled water too. Cutting out by buying anything but water and maybe homemade coffee from the grocery store will save you a lot over the course of a month.
If you think you're up for the challenge, you could do a water-only month where you cut out all caffeine, soda, and alcohol just to see how much you spend on your favorite beverages!
Consider becoming an RA, TA, or Tutor
Student jobs like resident assistant, undergraduate teaching assistant, and tutoring are great ways to not only save money, but also make money in college. They all look great on resumes and show that you demonstrate enough leadership to hold these positions. Most universities hire tutors on campus, but you could also look into private tutoring if you know enough people in your college town. Resident assistants get a private dorm room (for free!) and becoming an RA is a great way to integrate into campus life more if freshman year didn't do the trick. A teaching assistant job will get you another recommendation letter for graduate school or your career after graduation.
Use All the Campus Amenities that your Tuition Already Pays For
Campus gyms, movies, events, tutoring services, and even printing are offered on campus (usually free of charge) with your student ID, so why pay for something twice? At Florida State, the Leach Recreation Center is 3 levels and only busy during usual rush times (afternoon to 6 pm weekdays). It's crazy to me that some students STILL pay for a Gold's Gym membership. Many student apartments offer free printing as an amenity, which is something to consider when apartment-hunting.
Skip the Salon and Spa
Luxuries like mani-pedis, blowouts, and facials and great for special occasions, but every day isn't your wedding day. Try to cut down these expenses to the bare minimum (yes, you should still get a haircut) while trying to learn how to give yourself a manicure and do DIY facials for #selfcaresundays.
Certain styles like ombre and balayage last longer between visits to the hair salon, so these are better options if you typically color your hair. This gives you some wiggle room to grow your hair out without having obvious outgrown roots!
Use the 24-Hour Rule
This is a great method to stop impulse buying: if you think you REALLY need something, wait 24 hours before you buy it and see if you feel the same way the next day. Impulses wear off relatively quickly, and chances are the next day you will have forgotten about it.
Walk and Bike as Much as Possible
Even if you didn't bring your car to campus, Uber and Lyft charges add up quickly. Sometimes with traffic, biking is faster than driving anyway. If you live close to campus (or on campus) then walking or biking everywhere is great to get your activity levels up and better for the environment. Filling up your gas tank drives up your monthly expenses, so try to see when you can leave your car at home and get some fresh air!