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Ways to Save Money In College

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Some of you might be wondering that saving over $5k-10k during college is almost impossible or amazing. Finding ways to save money doesn't need to be complicated. Let me tell you if you have the urge or the determination in getting something, it is EXTREMELY possible to do it. You just have to have faith in yourself.

Many of you might want to learn how I save or are in college and want to save that amount of money. I'll tell you how to save thousands of dollars during college. Just to let you know that this will be my experience during my college years.

Grab a drink, a cup of coffee, a snack, or whatever you want because I'm about to tell you what I did during my college years to save money.

1. Living at Home

This is a no-brainer since most college students live at home, but yes, I did live at home the entire time I was in college. My college was about 30 minutes away from my house so it wasn't too bad. I saved a lot by not getting a place to live. I don't need to pay for the bills and all that adult stuff that we hate. This was one of the best ways to save money when you are in college.

An average student's living expenses are over $6,000 for four years. You have to think about the money for rent, the bills, and furniture. That's a lot of money when you are just going to school and working part-time.

Some people told me to live on campus to have the experience of a college student and an “adult life”, but I rather save than go broke, you know.

Living at home was the best and most comfortable for me since I had my parents to “take care” of me, and I don't have to worry about a lot of things. Plus, I eat more healthily if I stay at home since my mom cooks all the time.

2. Packing Lunch

Did you know that during my college years, I barely bought lunch? Yes, I did because I didn't like how expensive the campus food was. The best saving tip for you is to meal prep or cook as much as you can!

I bought lunch maybe 30-40 times or less during my four years at college. You might be shocked but that really did happen. Not buying lunch cut a lot of my expenses, and it was how I save a lot during my four years in college. Now, it was tempting to buy something for lunch at times, but I had to control myself.

I didn't like how my lunch can be up to almost $10 just for a small sandwich. That was one of the reasons I brought my lunch all the time. Can you imagine buying lunch for $10 five days a week for a month? I would be spending up to $200 a month just on lunch. That's expensive when you ask me.

Now, I would buy a smoothie or something small once in a while, but barely lunch. Once in a while, my friends and I would crave something and of course, we would go buy lunch.

But most of the time, I was stuck in the studio to even have time to buy lunch. It was a 10-minute walk to buy the food that I want, so I always end up not going.

Bringing my own food allow me to stay healthy and save money so I have no regret there.

3. Budgeting for the Month

How do you spend your money each month? Do you limit yourself or set a monthly budget for yourself? Most people need to learn how to budget because you can find many ways to save money when you learn how to budget.

For me, I tried to spend around $100 a month on average since I was working part-time and only spend my money on the things I need. There were months I spend less than $100. I like to shop and save at the same time.

I tried to set a limit for myself each month so I don't overspend. I don't like to spend money on a splurge and have a lot of things piling up in my room.

If you set a limit for yourself or use an app to track your expenses each month, it can help you budget each month. By doing this, you can make a decision if you need to cut back or not. To me, I wasn't spending much and was keeping everything simple.

I know some people, who need an app to help with their monthly expenses. You just need to find a way that fits you.

4. Free Events or Festivals

Do you love free things? Because I SURE DO! At my university, there are many events throughout the year like in any other university. My favorite events to go to were the spring and fall festivals because there were lots of free things like t-shirts, food, and fun goodies. Like why not take this good opportunity and go?

I usually go with my friends and walk around to see what each booth offers. It's very cool to be honest because you get to see and meet a lot of different people.

I like the free food and fun little games they have because that's all I care about.

If you go to a university and there are fun events like this, you should go and have fun. You should have the best experience while you in college right? You don't want to waste your college years.

5. Party and Drinking in Moderation

During my college year, I like NEVER went to the club or the bar. Okay, I went like once but that was out of state, and I had a friend who kept persuading me. But overall, I was not a party girl. I'm a person that is socially awkward and doesn't like the crowd. It's just not me.

You can spend up to $10-30 on alcohol if you go to the club or the bar. Imagine going every weekend. I'll be spending $40 or more a month. A lot of my classmates went to the bar, club, or party almost every weekend.

My time was valuable to me so I spend most of my time hanging out with my friends, going to work, and doing schoolwork.

Instead of using my money on drinks and parties, I would either put it in my savings, invest in other things, or spend it with my friends. That's better than spending on alcohol and parties, right?

You guys might be thinking I'm a boring person and I wasted my time in college not having fun. I did other things besides drinking and partying. I don't think drinking and partying are the only ways to have fun.

6. Use Coupons

Whenever I get coupons in the mail for restaurants or any places, I would use them to my advantage. There are days I'm craving to eat out. We have those days, right? Sometimes we get tired of eating at home we need to change a bit. Whether I want to eat with my family or friends, there are so many cheap restaurants that give out coupons for you every month. 

I usually have coupons for McDonald's, Subway, Chick-fil-a, Wendy's, and Popeyes. I love to save an extra buck or two when I'm eating out. By doing this, I save so much money at the end of the year.

Now, I don't eat out all the time. It's like once or four times a month. I try to eat at home as much as possible to stay healthy. I also use free money apps to get me some money back too.

But whenever my siblings and I want something to eat besides home cooking, we would look at available coupons to try to use them because we are a family that loves to save our extra bucks. Not only do coupons save you, but it allows you to bond with your family by getting food. 

I probably save at least $100 or more every year by using coupons when I need to. It is one of the best ways how to save during college.

7. Need vs. Want

During my college years, I spend my money mostly on my needs like gas, textbooks, and food. I had some wants throughout the year, but I only buy them if I really really wanted them. You could say I was living frugally throughout my college days.

I had to learn how to use my money wisely and not splurge all my money on the things I want. That is not very smart. If you understand your needs and wants, you'll find that this is one of the best ways to save money.

I know that I had my parents to cover most of my expenses, and I was grateful for that. I know how hard they work, so I tried not to splurge my money so much. I know how hard it is to earn money. Money comes and goes, so I want to make the right decision.

If you change your mindset and focus on what's important to you like I did. Things can become a lot easier for you.

6. Focus on Yourself

I know like any other college student, people want to be like the cool kids and try to fit in. They want to be popular or go to fun parties. As for me, I didn't care about those things. I just did my own things and focus on how to save during college.

I worked hard, studied hard, invested in myself, and hang out with my family and closest friends. My life was as simple as that. I don't want to have a lot of drama in my life, you know. There were times when my classmates were having dramas, but that's their stories.

I also found college students like to be on top of fashion trends and buy expensive or trendy things. Some would even buy designer brands which always leave me flabbergasted. I had some classmates who came from rich families, so they had nice purses, shoes, and leggings. Yes, leggings! Those Lululemon or Alo Yoga leggings I'm talking about.

It was tempting to buy new things when I see my classmates shopping online, but I had to control myself. At the end of the day, I can only be me. I shouldn't try to dress to impress or be someone else when I'm not. I wanted to focus on myself and build great money habits.

I had to learn to ignore the distractions and keep moving forward with my goals in mind. 4 years later, I'm able to save thousands of dollars.

I suggest you be yourself and not try to impress anyone. You don't need to show the world who you are. At the end of the day, you just need to be comfortable with who you are.

7. Every Penny Counts

Just like any broke college student, every single penny or quarter I had still counted. Even though I wasn't that broke of a college student, I live like one. Whenever I find quarters or penny in my wallet or purse randomly, I would save them in a piggy bank or use them instead of breaking my dollar bill. When something comes up I would use my money. I would NEVER splurge my money unless it made me EXTREMELY happy or temptation get the better of me. 

Even though there were expensive things like shoes, clothes, technology, and more that I wanted, I had to think multiple times and create scenarios for them. Will I use it? When will I use it? How often will it be? By asking questions, it saves me from shopping on impulses. 

Final Words

Learning how to save doesn't need to be hard. You just need to find ways to save that fits your situation. I hope these tips and tricks were inspiring to you and help you become financially successful. There might be other ways to save money but these were mine. I hope this

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you in the next post!

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She started her blog, The Money Dreamer, when she realized the 9-5 job was not the lifestyle she wanted anymore. After designing for a while, she wanted a more meaningful life, which was freedom, so she decided to venture out. She took action so that she can live her dream life and decided to help people to live theirs by helping them how to save, budget, and invest.

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