I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t have an income while I’m at college. And, in the wise words of my professor, “This is the only time in your life you will be happy being broke.” I’m pretty okay with scraping by on $40 a month for groceries, taking public transit instead of ubering, and giving up all of the necessities I get to enjoy at home. I’m taking six classes this semester, so I don’t really have time to be working a full-time job while taking adequate care of myself anyway.
I’ve written about time management before on my blog, so if you’re interested in that, I’ll link it below.
Today’s article is going to be all about how I manage to survive on such a tight budget. To put it shortly, I am essentially living off of my savings. And don’t get me wrong- that was my goal! I spent the entire summer saving money, so that I could then in turn spend it on things I needed throughout the school year. This mostly constitutes food and essentials, but every once in a while, I let myself go out with my friends and have a fun night. Unfortunately, this sometimes means giving up another expense I had planned for that month. If I decide I want to see Creed Bratton at the Paradise Rock Club for $20 (which I do and probably will go through with), that means I probably can’t buy as many groceries this month. Oh well, it’s Creed Bratton.
One way I keep track of my expenses is by keeping a monthly budget, and then tracking my purchases in a planner. The one I am currently using is called Midnight Desert II, and I got it on Amazon! I love this planner because it was under $20, and it has a really awesome section for organizing finances at the back of the book. At the end of every month, I go through my bank statements and log everything that used my debit card to pay for. Obviously I’m going to show you a blank section, because y’all don’t need to see all the DoorDash I waste my money on.
As a visual person, this is a really great for me to literally see where my money is going. Most of the time, as I’ve said, it’s for food and groceries. I’m very careful about spending money on non-essentials, like new clothes or entertainment, so usually cap that at $20-$30 per month. Even things like face wash and pads are a careful expense for me that I have to really sit down and ponder about. Trust me, trying to stay within $100 a month can be pretty challenging if you just let yourself swipe your card whenever you feel like it!
When I go to purchase something online, for whatever reason, I always do a quick google search first to see if there are any coupon codes I can utilize. For example, when it did come time for me to order some new clothes, I decided to order from an online secondhand market that I knew would offer hefty discount. Not only did I save $400 from shopping secondhand, I also saved a boatload of money using a new member discount and even received a store credit for taking a survey. It’s literally free money, so utilize it if you have the chance.
I also check if businesses offer a student discount, which can be super helpful for saving money in the long run. With my student ID, I have a discount on Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Spotify. I can also get into specific local attractions for free, such as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. This is helpful for me when I’m making plans with my friends, because I can usually start by suggesting a place that I know I can get into for free. This saves a lot of money in the long run, so I highly suggest you look into your student benefits as well!
Those are my beginner’s tips for saving money in college, so I hope this was helpful for you. I’d love to do some more advice pieces in the future, so drop some ideas down below!
Coming up next: Animals & Anxiety Treatment for College Students