Money definitely does not grow on trees. With limited finances and textbooks that cost of hundred of dollars (not to mention the beast that is tuition), college students need to be smart about spending their pennies. Living in your own apartment or dorm, however, incurs expenses you might not have even thought about. From buying dish soap to that monthly Internet bill, there are many things you need to think about that you didn’t to when you lived at home. Consider some of these helpful tips and tricks to help you save money around your household and invest those dollars somewhere more beneficial.
1. Make coffee at home.
How many times have you bought coffee on the run? Spending a couple dollars a day on a cup doesn’t seem too bad, but it adds up quickly. Pick-up a cheap coffee machine and make a large pot of coffee in the morning that will keep you going throughout the day. Invest in a travel mug so you can keep your coffee with you on the go, too.
2. Air dry clothes.
Yes kids, laundry costs money. If you dry your clothes by air you can save on your electricity bill, or on the amount of tokens you have to buy. Plus it will prevent your favorite pair of jeans from accidentally shrinking (and simultaneously will be good for the environment).
3. Shop what’s in your fridge.
Running to the grocery store every time you don’t have that one certain ingredient is a waste of time and money. Try and stick to whatever ingredients you already have and make sure you’re shopping wisely. Did you know there’s actually an app that will tell you what to make with the food you already have? Check it out!
4. Mind your heating and cooling costs.
Heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer can quickly add up. Make sure you’re always aware of how cool or hot your place is, and thus how much you’ll be spending on it and if it’s worth it. Remember you can always put on a cozy sweater or drink something iced instead of fidgeting with the temperature.
5. Buy in bulk.
Costco can be your best friend. When you buy things in bulk or stock up when there’s a good sale, your getting things at a value better than you would buying them singularly. Consider getting a Costco membership with a couple friends and then splitting the cost of several bulk items. It will save you money in the long run and can make for some fun shopping memories.
6. Use Netflix instead of cable.
For only $8.00 a month, Netflix definitely beats the price of cable. Plus, with no pesky commercial breaks and entire show series, Netflix is easily the reason most college students haven’t gone insane yet. Jump on the bandwagon if you haven’t already.
7. Share a Netflix account with a friend.
Want to be even more financially savvy? Consider sharing a Netflix account with a friend. You’ll literally get unlimited T.V. privileges for only a couple dollars per month. Up to 3 people can watch Netflix at the same time on the same account, so text your friends about this idea right away.
8. Buy things that are in season.
If you have to buy your own food, then you know that fruits and veggies can really add up. When the fruit or vegetable in question is in season, it means there are more available and thus the price will be lower. Knowing when is the best time to buy types of fruits and veggies is essential to being a smart grocery shopper.
9. Turn off lights and unplug things when not in use.
Electricity bills can add up quickly and quietly. A great way to save is by getting in the habit of turning off the lights and unplugging electronics when you don’t need to use them. Your computer charger just burns electricity even when you’re not using it, so that’s money slowly bleeding out of your pocket.
10. Learn to sew.
It sucks when you have to pay someone to hem your pants or fix that hole in your new sweater. Learning the basics of sewing will save you the cost of paying someone to do it and the time it takes to find and go to a professional sewer.
11. Buy used textbooks.
So many students try to sell their textbooks once their class is over and a lot of professors just use the same edition as they did in the past. Take advantage of this by searching third-party websites (like Amazon or Craigslist) or your school’s online classifieds or Facebook groups for great deals. You can get books at half the price you’d be paying if they were new. Just be sure to double check that you do know what edition your class requires.
12. Use coupons.
It may seem counter-productive, but finding and using coupons can really save you money in the long run. Check online or in weekly flyers for great deals and take advantage of these marked down prices. Though you might feel like your mom when using them, coupons are going to mean you have more money in your bank account for Kegger-Fridays (and tuition, of course).
13. Buy generic brands.
Just because they don’t have the fancy name or bright colors doesn’t mean generic brands aren’t as good. Buying unknown brands can literally split your grocery bill in half when compared to buying only brand names. There’s no shame in buying cheap, especially when you are on a college budget.
14. Purchase monthly transit passes versus one-time uses.
If you use public transportation often (it’s way cheaper than owning your own car), it’s generally more cost-efficient to buy monthly passes than single uses. Make sure you do research into your city’s transit system and know what’s the most cost-friendly approach to using it.
15. Shop where the sales are.
Perhaps the most typical advice to saving money: make sure you always shop sale items. Know what grocery store has what on sale each week and don’t be hesitant to shop at more than one if that’s going to score you the best deals. Never pay full price for something if you don’t have to.
If you’re smart about your money from the start, it will pay off in the long run. Let me know in the comments if you have any of your own tips or tricks for saving money around the house in college! While it may seem daunting to think about all these miniscule things when you have midterms and papers, remember that they will eventually become habitual if you stick to it. Learn how to spend and save wisely so that you can enjoy your college years to the best of your ability!