So you’re off to college. You’re no longer going to be under mom and dad’s roof. Well you might get some assistance now and then from mom and dad, but for the most part you will be making your own way, which means for the first time in your life you are liable for life’s necessities.
So how do you, fresh out of high school make ends meet on a college budget? You’ll need to make the most of what funds you do have since you’ll be spending most of your time studying and attending classes.
Here’s a few suggestions to help you on your way:
When grocery shopping: If you have a roommate why not share the expense of foods. Set a budget for groceries and stick with it. Clip coupons to lessen the load, and avoid impulse buying and never go to the store when hungry. A combined food budget means, you’ll eat a whole lot more and save that all important dollar in the process.
There is more to life than ramen noodle. Buy foods which can be stretched for more than one meal. A little bit of this and that can make a whole lot of something. Stews, soups, pastas, potatoes and veggies go a long way. If you have a stove in your dorm or sorority, take turn preparing meals. What’s left over eat the next day, don’t waste. You’ll save a lot of expense by preparing meals.
Utilities: If you live in a home with a group of people, split the cost of utilities. Even if you use less than others, you’ll be spending less and pocketing more by splitting up the bills.
If you live on your own, but not in a dorm, be frugal. Turn off lights when not in use and don’t forget to unplug them as well. Even though you turn them off, you’re still plugged into an electrical circuit which is moving, so you’re still using, in a sense electricity.
Try to room or live in a place that uses either electric or gas. By being fully electric or gas, you’re not trying to pay more than what needs to be paid towards another utility. If you can’t find a place like this, then make sure you make a habit of keeping things turned off when not being used. A smart and frugal person knows when to shut things off and when to turn them on.
Driving: Hey, carpooling is cool. You might not think so at the time, but the money you save, on not spending it on gas, will allow you to be able to get that extra textbook you needed, but couldn’t afford.
If you live close to your college, the “shoelace express” is free and it’s healthy. There’s nothing as invigorating as a nice walk. If you have the time, walk. Why spend money on gas when you can walk?
If it’s just you and a friend, take turns driving. You’ll still save by doing this. Remember, you’re on your own and responsible for your
needs. Be smart and save by sharing the cost of driving.
Clothing: Until you graduate and find that perfect job, there is nothing wrong with being frugal when it comes to clothes shopping. Gently used clothing is almost like purchasing new clothes, but at a fraction of the cost.
Where do you find such places to purchase used or slightly used clothes? Goodwill, thrift shops, garage sales, friends, family, salvation army and so on, offer clothes for mere cents, as opposed to many bucks. What money you save here can be channeled into spring break, or visiting your family during your college break.
These are just a few suggestions to help you on your way to being a smart and frugal grown up. It’s not easy when you become accountable for all your needs, personal or other. Cut out extra spending where you can and plan ahead. This way you’ll have everything you need for next to nothing and have money in your pocket too.